Pamelia Lake to PCT Loop
ElevationAscent: 3,350' 1,021 m
Descent: -3,344' -1,019 m
High: 6,008' 1,831 m
Low: 3,106' 947 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 38% (21°)
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“A loop run with great views of Mt. Jefferson, lakes, forest and alpine areas.”— Steve Jackson
Features Birding · Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Fishing · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Continue on the Hunts Creek Trail #3440. You'll cross the creek and start an ascent. You'll come to an intersection of the Hunts Cove Trail which you'll turn left on. At this intersection you'll see a rocky area and jagged peaks. Day # 2 you'll backtrack to here and start an ascent up and around the back of that peak. In the meantime, continue on Hunts Cove Trail to Hanks Lake, and you'll have to cross the creek. On our trip there were a couple of downed trees that we used to make the crossing. During rainy conditions those trees will be slippery so be careful. There are plenty of spaces to camp at Hanks Lake, which we did. Running on to Hunts Lake there are fewer spaces and less pressure on the lake from backpackers. I think that Hunts Lake is more picturesque with the backdrop of the steep cliffs on the opposite side of the lake. We ended up spending the night at Hanks Lake.
On the next day, you set off and backtrack to the intersection of Hunts Cove Trail and Hunts Creek Trail #3440 and continue on Hunts Creek Trail #3440 where you'll switchback up and around the back of the ridge. Once you get behind that ridge you'll follow it towards the intersection of the Pacific Crest Trail. There is a trail and downed sign just before the actual intersection of the PCT. This appears to be a trail that goes down to Hunts Lake. I'm not sure if it is still an official trail. Some maps show it others do not. Just a few yards beyond this trail junction is the PCT. Run along a relatively flat section with some spectacular views of Hunts and Hanks lakes. You'll come to Shale Lakes. Check your maps because the first lake is labeled Shale Lake and on other maps its a little confusing. We ended up camping at the bigger, second lake that is to the right of the PCT. We had a beautiful view of Mt. Jefferson from our site.
On the third day, we continued on a forested downhill section of the PCT with a few switchbacks. At one point ,you cross the path of an old avalanche that took out a wide swath of the forest down towards Pamelia Lake. You'll come to an intersection of the PCT and Hunts Creek Trail #3440. Turn left and follow this trail to the intersection you passed on day one. This section of the run had some pretty big old growth trees. At the Intersection, take the Pamelia Lake Trail #3439 back to the trailhead.
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