Blue Lake Basin Loop
ElevationAscent: 1,365' 416 m
Descent: -1,370' -417 m
High: 6,511' 1,984 m
Low: 5,646' 1,721 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 17% (10°)
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“A loop past many wonderful lakes in the Blue Lakes Group, plus a visit to the Judge J. B. Waldo Tree.”— Bruce Hope
There are no amenities or water at the trailhead. There are no reliable water sources along this loop after you leave Island Lake (Christis Spring may or may not be flowing), so fill up if need be before starting the return part of the loop.
Shortly before reaching the Red Lake Trail #987, look for the use trail that will take you to the Judge J. B. Waldo Tree. After visiting the tree, continue on a short distance to a junction with the PCT, 5.8 miles from the trailhead.
Once you reach the PCT, follow it south as it climbs gently, past Christis Spring, over the low divide between the Blue Lake and Fourmile Lake drainages. Continue south on the PCT to a junction with the Cat Hill Way Trail #992, 3.8 miles from the PCT / Red Lake Trail #987 junction. Turn north on this trail and climb easily to the ridge above the South Blue Lake Group. Continue north, looking back once you reach the crest of the ridge for a good view of the north side of Mount McLoughlin. The best viewpoint is from the trail on the southeast side of Cat Hill.
Continue north on the Cat Hill Way Trail #992, past its junction with the Meadow Lake Trail #976, back to the trailhead.
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Land Manager: USFS - Rogue River & Siskiyou Nat. Forest Office