hikes

September 23, 2017

Burnt Lake backpacking trip

Two night backpacking trip at Burnt Lake, with a day hike to East Zigzag Mountain

Day 1

hike in 3.6 miles with 1,400 ft gain

Last weekend, I did a day hike to Burnt Lake and partway up East Zigzag Mountain and scouted for campsites for a return trip. After a week of heavy rain (and snow on Mount Hood), the conditions were quite different just one week later. Five friends and I hiked in on Saturday via the South Burnt Lake trailhead. The first two miles of trail go through a dense forest, with hollowed-out cedar snags left from a wildfire in 1906. After a sharp turn in the trail, take the side trail on the left to a viewpoint of a waterfall on Lost Creek.

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

dense forest with lush green understory

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

old cedar snag shaped like a spire

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

hollowed-out cedar

The trail crosses several tributary creeks before ascending along a ridge with openings and occasional views of Mount Hood.

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

Burnt Lake Creek crossing

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

gentle ascent section

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

fresh snow on Mount Hood – quite a contrast from last week when there was no snow on the mountain

At Burnt Lake, there are seven designated campsites tucked into the trees  (none have views of the lake), with day use areas spread alongside the lake shore. Note: campfires are not allowed within half a mile of the lake.

We set up camp at site #7 on the east side of the lake. We heard from hikers that a bear was sighted on the trail up to the lake, and we had heard the same thing last weekend. I brought my bear canister for food storage, and we hung the rest of our food and all toiletries in the trees about 100 feet from our camp… just in case. We never did see the bear, but there were plenty of opportunistic chipmunks zipping around our campsite all weekend. They are not afraid of people at all, and would pester us while we ate, even running across our feet, with one attempt to run up my leg. Obviously, they are used to getting fed. Please don’t feed wildlife, no matter how cute they are or how much they seem to be begging for a bite. They really become a nuisance, and our food isn’t good for them.

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

Burnt Lake

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

our campsite

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

small tarn behind our campsite

Day 2

day hike to East Zigzag Mountain: 2.8 miles 800 ft gain

In the morning, two of us got up early to see the sunrise over Burnt Lake. After breakfast, we did a day hike to the top of East Zigzag Mountain, with views of five volcanoes: Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount Jefferson. Nice fall color was seen in the huckleberry shrubs on East Zigzag Mountain.

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

Mount Hood at sunrise

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

East Zigzag Mountain, our hiking destination for the day

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

on the way up to East Zigzag Mountain

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

view of Mount Hood and Burnt Lake from an opening on the ridge

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

fall color on huckleberry shrubs, with bear grass and rhododendrons

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

ridge up to East Zigzag Mountain

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

continuing up to the summit

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

rocky summit of East Zigzag Mountain

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

Mount Hood

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

on the summit of East Zigzag Mountain

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

hiking back down the ridge

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

continuing on the ridge to go back to camp

Day 3

hike out: 3.6 miles with 1,400 ft loss

We woke up on the second morning to a light rain that started and stopped a couple of times, just enough to get our tents wet. We packed up our gear and hiked out.

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag Mountain backpacking trip

some of the snow on Mount Hood melted in the rain overnight

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