This hike is in the Sky Lakes Wilderness and is composed of three trails. The trail head is on forest road 3770. You can either go left or right at the trail head to start the loop. I went left starting the hike on Cat Hill Way trail. I went this direction to save the lakes for the end of the loop. Cat Hill Way trail had lots of fallen trees and was difficult to follow in some locations. The highlight of the trail is a nice view of Mount McLoughlin.
The Cat Hill Way trail intersects with the PCT. I went left on the PCT to continue the loop. Then left on Blue Canyon trail 982. There’s not a hole lot to see after Mount McLoughlin. The PCT and Blue Canyon trails mostly just travel trough dense forest. There wasn’t much for water sources in this area either. There’s a spring on the PCT called Christis Spring but I didn’t stop there and see if it had water.
The Blue Canyon trail goes by Island Lake and Dee Lake but there wasn’t any easy access to those lakes that I could see. I think you would need to use the Red Lake trail if you wanted to see those lakes. The next lakes on Blue Canyon trial are Carey, Pear and Horseshoe. Pear and Carey weren’t accessible directly from Blue Canyon trail but I’m sure there are spur trails to them. Horseshoe lake is accessible from the trail though and this is where I stopped for lunch.
The next lake is Meadow lake. Its more of a meadow then a lake though. I really liked the colors in it though. I just wish I got there early so the light in the picture I took was better. If we had moose in Oregon I’m guessing they would hang out here.
After this is Blue lake. This lake is probably the highlight of this cluster of lakes. Its deep and blue for sure. It is a lot like cliff lake if you ask me. If you just wanted to hit a mountain lake for some swimming and fishing without having to hike a long ways Blue lake is a great choice. The only downside is its unlikely that you have the lake to yourself because its such an easy lake to access. There where a couple small groups of people there when I went by. There’s plenty of room around the shore though so finding a place of your own shouldn’t be a problem.
You do pass by two more small lakes before returning to the trail head but they aren’t very big. Round lake and an unnamed lake. This was a nice loop hike but I’m not sure I’d do it again. I think I’d just hike directly to Blue lake or cut the loop short and use Meadow lake trail instead of following Cat Hill to the PCT. Any hike is better than no hike though for sure. My main goal for this hike other than just hiking was to explore more of the southern area of Sky Lakes Wilderness. There’s so much to see in this area, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to see it all. I can’t wait to spend more time in the area.
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