PCT from Cook & Green Pass to Lilly Pad Lake 9-12-22

Photos by Jerry, Patricia and Randy

Track download from Jerry: Cook & Green Pass to Lilly Pad Lake.gpx

Ashland Hiking Home

We set out at 8:00 AM for our drive out to the end of Applegate Lake and up the gravel roads (9.8 miles) to the TH at Cook & Green pass(4,770').

This hike up the PCT is a steady ascent up to 5,900'+ for lunch through the gate at Horse Camp and views of Kangaroo Mtountain, down at Lily Pad Lake and the white back of one of the Red Buttes.

We had excellent hiking weather as it was 62o for our 9:30 start up the trail and never went past the mid 70s with an occasional cooling breeze on our way back down.

The area is a bit of a rock star in the botanical world with lots of diversity of plant life attracting enthusiasts from far and wide. But on Monday we had the trail mostly to ourselves. Late summer growing conditions offer nothing like spring, but we did see some color along the way, including pink Fireweed, bright yellow Sulfur Buckwheat, white anemone, orange paintbrush and lush green ferns in the shady forests.

Distant views were covered in haze probably coming from the Mountain fire in California, but our views on and off trial were spectacular! We had overhead views of both Echo Lake and Lily Pad Lake (covered with the floating aforementioned flowers). And, of course, the majestic Red Buttes were a breathtaking sight to see as we turned north up the trail. The PCT winds around the base of the Buttes, then looks down on Lily Pad and finally a short uphill delivers us onto the old forest service road and a left turn towards the gate and lunch!

We had a couple of surprises on our way to lunch. First, we nearly stumbled over a guitar in case, straddling our path; then a while later we came across a guy waving and asking if we saw a guitar. We told him where we saw it so hopefully he found it! Then at lunch a hiker from France came by asking us about the names of the mountains around us. When we identified the Red Buttes he said he had climbed the Alps and would climb the Buttes!

After our group shot we started to head back. When we got to where the service road crossed the PCT our small group split up. Jerry and Randy took the old Forest Service road back to the TH. They are planning a new hike which includes driving up the FS Road, then hiking the PCT about 5 miles to Azalea Lake (Good Hiking, Guys)!

Bob, Patricia and I took the PCT back the way we came and enjoyed the scenery and the shade. Jerry and Randy arrived back at the TH first having gone 8.1 miles with about 1,400' of gain. The final three arrived about 10-15 minutes later having done about 9 miles and 1,500'+ of gain.
We finished our long day of road and trail with a visit to Boomtown in Jacksonville.

Happy Trails!