Sky Lakes Wilderness Traverse
ElevationAscent: 3,462' 1,055 m
Descent: -3,165' -965 m
High: 7,237' 2,206 m
Low: 5,469' 1,667 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 25% (14°)
Popular runs nearby
Sky Lakes Basin Loop
16.9 mi 27.1 km • Loop • 2,238 ft Ascent 682.12 m Ascent
Rogue Wolf Loop
28.7 mi 46.1 km • Loop • 4,123 ft Ascent 1256.59 m Ascent
Mountain Lakes Loop
15.5 mi 25.0 km • Loop • 2,901 ft Ascent 884.26 m Ascent
13.3 mi 21.4 km • Out and Back • 2,638 ft Ascent 803.98 m Ascent
Viewpoint Mike Trail
5.0 mi 8.0 km • Out and Back • 1,008 ft Ascent 307.32 m Ascent
Grizzly Peak Loop Trail
5.1 mi 8.3 km • Out and Back • 839 ft Ascent 255.58 m Ascent
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“An amazing journey through all of the major lake basins in the Sky Lakes Wilderness.”— Bruce Hope
The route can be done in either direction (with a shuttle) but is described here from north to south, starting from the Sevenmile Marsh Trailhead in the north and ending at the Fourmile Lake Trailhead in the south. Both water and campsites are plentiful along this route. You have options of a short side trip to the views from Devils Peak or for side trips to the many small lakes not directly accessed by this route or a quick stop at the Judge J. B. Waldo Tree. Most of the lakes offer great opportunities for fishing or swimming or both. The biggest downside is the mosquitoes, which are fiercely plentiful between June and early September (or first frost).
Follow the #981 as it climbs past a junction with the Alta Lake Trail #979 (a short side trip to a beautiful lake and good campsites), to a junction with the Devils Peak Trail #984. Turn left (east) on the #984 (goods views of the Crater Lake Rim) to a junction with the PCT. You have the option here of a side trip to the top of Devils Peak.
Go south on the PCT for about 1.5 miles to a junction with the Snow Lakes Trail #3739 and follow it down, past a junction with the Nannie Creek Trail #3707, to a junction with the Sky Lakes Trail #3762. Follow the #3762 south, past Trapper and Margurette Lakes (excellent swimming, good campsites) and a junction with the Cherry Creek Trail #3708, for about 4.0 miles to a junction with the Isherwood Trail #3729 near Heavenly Twin Lakes. Note that this trail junction is not where it is shown on many maps.
Turn right (west) on to the #3729 and follow it, past Isherwood Lake, back to the Sky Lakes Trail #3762 near Lake Notasha. Continue southwest on the #3762 to its end at the PCT. Continue south on the PCT to a junction with the Red Lake Trail #987, and follow that south past Red and Island Lakes to a junction with the Blue Canyon Trail #982. Turn right (west) here, visit the Judge J.B. Waldo Tree, and continue west on the #982, past Pear and Horseshoe Lakes, to its junction with the Meadow Lake Trail #976 near Blue Lake (great swimming and camping).
The Meadow Lake Trail #976 is probably the hardest segment of trail on this route, mainly because it's short, steep, and a little eroded. It's a 1.8 mile, 800-foot climb up the #976 to the Cat Hill Way Trail #992 on top of the ridge. Turn south here and follow the #992 south along the ridge (there will be a brief view of Mount McLoughlin's north face) and down to the PCT north of Fourmile Lake. Go south on the PCT, past Squaw Lake, to the traverse's end at the Fourmile Lake Trailhead.
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Land Manager: USFS - Rogue River & Siskiyou Nat. Forest Office