To the Devil (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 06-Oct-2021

Devils Peak (7,582 ft / 2,311 m) sits on the divide between the Seven Lakes and Sky Lakes Basins in the Sky Lakes Wilderness. It’s not the highest point in the wilderness but from its summit you have an expansive 360° view, plus a unique view north toward the Crater Lake Rim. Four years had passed since our last visit and it was certainly time for another. An attempt this August was foiled by choking clouds of wildfire smoke. 😥 But it’s rained a few times since, the fires are out, and the air is now clear. Another wet cold front went through last night, further clearing the air and dropping temperatures (and a tiny bit of snow); it was time for another go at Devils. 🙂

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Hiking Southern Oregon: 25 Hikes (February 2020)

To celebrate our 600th post on WordPress, we’re highlighting a select few of the many hikes we’ve enjoyed here in Southwest Oregon.

As we’ve perused lists of Oregon’s greatest hikes, we’ve come to notice that these lists are heavily skewed, with a few exceptions, toward hikes near Portland.  That metro area’s greater population helps if a list is based on some kind of vote.  And proximity to its major airport helps get votes from those who drop in for a brief Western adventure.  Even some of the classics, like the Wallowas in Eastern Oregon or the Three Sisters in Central Oregon, often don’t make these lists because they are too far away.  So a lot of “great” hikes get done near Portland – the state’s most populated town. And then the complaints roll in about how there’s no parking, the trails are too crowded, you need a permit or must pay a fee, it’s raining, etc.

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Devils Peak (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 17-Oct-2017

Devils Peak Sky Lakes Wilderness Oregon

Humans plan; the gods laugh.  I had several new hikes planned in Southern Oregon’s Sky Lakes Wilderness to enjoy it during the usually glorious (and bug-free) Fall weather.  But lightning strikes (thank you, Zeus!) ignited the Spruce Lake, Blanket Creek, and North Pelican fires, and these closed this wilderness (and parts of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)) until a week ago.  Then we got our first snow (thank Chione for that!), with more coming soon.  So, with my Sky Lakes hiking needs unmet, and the weather window about to snap shut, I consulted the auguries and soon visualized Devils Peak.  Devils isn’t the highest peak in this wilderness (that would be Mount McLoughlin), but it is the presiding monarch of the Seven Lakes Basin and a summit which, based on previous trips, I knew had one heck (metaphorically speaking) of a great view.

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Red Lake Loop (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 12-Jun-2016

Sky Lakes Wilderness Oregon

The 113,849 acre Sky Lakes Wilderness stretches south along the crest of the Cascades from the southern boundary of Crater Lake National Park to State Highway 140 (details, USFS).  The numerous lakes in this wilderness divide somewhat in to three basins – the Seven Lakes Basin north of Devils Peak (accessible via the Seven Lakes trailhead), the Sky Lakes Area (accessible from the east via the Nannie Creek trailhead and from the south via the Cold Springs trailhead), and the Blue Lake Basin just north of Fourmile Lake (accessible from the south via the Fourmile Lake trailhead and from the west via the Blue Lakes trailhead). Basically, if you like lakes, good trails, easy backpacking, the option of day hikes, overnight or longer trips, and a choice of campsites, along with ready access to water, then this is the wilderness for you.

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Devils Peak Loop (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 10-Jun-2015

Devils Peak Sky Lakes Wilderness Oregon

Three weeks ago, I attempted to hike to Devils Peak in the northern Sky Lakes Wilderness. This is the wilderness immediately south of Crater Lake National Park and not to be confused with the Mountain Lakes Wilderness further south. At that time, conditions were less than optimal as the trail going out to Devils Peak was still covered in snow. I had to settle for a snowy scramble up nearby Lucifer. Family visiting from the East gave me the chance to reprise this hike under ideal conditions – cool, clear, sunny weather, with no bugs to speak of once we were away from the trailhead. Surprisingly, all the snow clogging the trails had melted completely away in just three weeks!

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Lucifer (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 23-May-2015

Lucifer Sky Lakes Wilderness Oregon


It’s been a somewhat below normal snow year in Oregon, particularly down here in Southern Oregon. “Low” snow does not mean, however, no snow – particularly along the Cascade crest on north- and east-facing slopes at about 6,500 feet or above. Plus, a persistent low centered over Nevada has been sending waves of clouds (and some rain) at us for the past two weeks. So, as the saying goes, maybe summer doesn’t actually start in Oregon until the 4th of July? That said, I nonetheless felt impelled to venture up into the Sky Lakes Wilderness to see conditions for myself.

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