Puck Lakes 7-24-23

Photos by Jerry and Kay

Ashland Hiking Home

Smoke hung over the Rogue Valley as 9 Monday hikers gathered at Rite Aid parking for our 8 am departure up to the Puck Lakes. The Flat Fire was still burning in Curry county in the coastal range and moving towards Josephine county. Our hope was that gaining elevation  driving into the High Cascades would escape the smoke and valley heat.

We fit snugly into 2 SUVs and off we went towards our high mountain hiking adventure.

Arriving at the Nannie Creek TH (6,000') ninety minutes later at 9:30 we noticed the sky overhead was clear with temps in the 60s; promising a good day on the trail.

A rocky trail heads up from parking and it seemed we were hiking in a dried creek bed, but our Geologist friend Bob called it a rocky Moraine. 

The first 1.5 miles of the hike is a steady uphill mostly in shady forest up to a plateau where the Puck Lakes reside another 1+ mile in.

The weather of the past Winter had knocked down many trees with perhaps 2 dozen deadfall on the trail, which our group managed to negotiate.

Some mosquitos were present but not too bad in the cool and sometimes breezy weather. And bug spray was shared around.

After 90 minutes on the trail we arrived at the Cairn (rock pile) marking the side trail to the first Puck Lake (6,565') . A short way on the trail opens to a breathtaking view of a pristine mountain lake.

We followed a primitive trail around the westside of the big lake past new Huckleberry shrubs coming in and through woods until we reached an isthmus about 100 yards wide with views of the 2 Puck Lakes on either side. This would be an ideal lunch spot for soaking bare feet or venturing out into the refreshing water.

After a relaxing lunch, we started making our way back the way we came. We totaled about 6.5 miles and just under 700' of elevation gain.

Five in our group were experiencing this rewarding hike for the first time, but even for grizzled veterans the view of the Puck Lakes is an inspiration.

Note: There are other hikes to mountain lakes in the High Cascades which we may be doing later in the year. Next week we'll be hiking in California to Mt Eddy.

Happy Trails,