Jefferson Park From Triangulation Peak

Jefferson Park is an alpine lake basin with plenty to explore on Mt. Jefferson's Northwest slope. Get lost as you take in the glacier views, visit the lakes, and camp near beautiful meadows. Sadly, Jefferson Park is indefinitely close due to the 2020 Lionshead Fire - we hope someday soon the Forest Service will reopen this area and visitors can hike and camp here again. Until then, enjoy Jefferson Park and its surrounding area from afar.
View of Mt. Jefferson from Jefferson Park, Oregon.

In 2019, we hiked from Triangulation Peak trailhead to Jefferson Park, camping one night near Russell Lake. Triangulation Peak is a short, but steep side trail up to a viewpoint of Mt. Jefferson's western face. It's worth the extra distance to Triangulation Peak, and many people used to visit as a day hike. Beware the fat, hungry chipmunks who live at the peak!

Just below of Triangulation Peak's summit is a scramble down an unassuming slope that leads to a small cave. I would have easily missed this trail without prior knowledge, as it is not well marked. The cave is maybe 30 feet deep, and beautifully frames Mt. Jefferson when you stand inside its entrance. On the return trek from Jefferson Park, the cave is visible to the careful observer from the trail below.

Mt. Jefferson from Triangulation Cave, Oregon.

After visiting the cave and lunching atop Triangulation Peak, we headed back down to the Triangulation Trail, following along as it merges with the Whitewater Trail, and eventually joining the PCT - it's about 10 miles one way by this route. There are shorter trails to Jefferson Park, but we had wanted to extend our trip and visit Triangulation Peak.

From Triangulation Peak, the trail traverses through a burned area, doubly burned now from the 2020 fires. Sprouting wildflowers grow among the charred pine, showing the slow recovery of the burn. The trail is hot and dusty, greening up as it draws closer to the PCT and crosses a fordable stream.

Russell Lake at Jefferson Park, Oregon.

As you head north along the PCT towards Jefferson Park, the trail becomes very beautiful and pleasant - a small creek bubbles along the trail as you climb up through rolling meadows. After a short trek on the PCT, the trail levels out onto Jefferson Park - once you reach the lake basin, you'll be amazed by the views of Mt. Jefferson. Several hours can be spent exploring the different lakes, meadows, and taking in the views. There are 20+ campsites around Jefferson Park, and the area never required permits. A couple days can easily be spent here, making day hikes or just relaxing.

Please respect ongoing fire closures until the Forest Service fully reopens Jefferson Park. Trespassing is dangerous due to fire hazards, and may result in a hefty fine. For information regarding the status of Jefferson Park, contact the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness USFS office.

Mt. Jefferson from Jefferson Park, Oregon.

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Thanks for visiting our travel blog, Trails And Trekking! We're Lauren and Anders - an adventure loving couple currently stationed in the Pacific Northwest. We're avid hikers, backpackers, and travelers. We're both originally from Oregon, but we've spent the last two years traveling the Pacific Northwest and beyond. We created this blog to share our passion for exploring the outdoors, and to inspire you to get outside.