There is nothing better than 70-degree weather with a cooling breeze for a hike on the High Lakes Trail.
Our hike started at 5,000’ at the Summit Sno-Park on Highway 140. Eight of us took the 1/4 mile trail to the intersection with the PCT and turned left (south) towards the Brown Mountain trail. Shortly down the PCT our group climbed over a downed log (just before the wooden bridge). Suddenly, 3 hikers were stung by yellow jackets swarming about the log. Other hikers helped remove the yellow jackets from clothing and hair. Once the yellow jackets were chased off, the intrepid hikers said that they were alright and were ready to continue.
We crossed Highway 140 on the PCT for 1/2 mile to the intersection with the High Lakes trail. At the High Lakes trail sign (# 6200) we hiked towards Lake of the Woods. This trail, built for bikers and hikers, is wide and in perfect condition. We gradually climbed by the lava rocks through forested areas to great views of Mt. McLoughlin. Thimbleberries and puffy golden chinquapin appeared along the trail.
Three polite bikers slowly rode past us – the only people we met on the trail. At a wooded area we enjoyed an early lunch and checked that those with yellow jacket bites were still fine. Returning the same way, we paused to appreciate the pearly everlasting. Hiking back we noted that the final trail sign (#3732) and right turn to the Summit sno-park can be easy to miss. Distance: 5.5 miles; 400’ elevation gain