PCT: Santiam Pass to Timberline Lodge

After our unplanned zero in my namesake town Sisters, we proceeded on to the iconic Timberline Lodge and its famous breakfast buffet. The smoke got pretty bad, which definitely didn’t make us feel great, but sights were still awesome and adventures were still had.

Day 112: Santiam Pass to Lake/pond, 14.69 miles

We climbed out of Santiam Pass and had great views of Three Fingered Jack.

We also had tons of berries to pick along the way!

We climbed through a large burn area. Towards the top I had a bad, sudden low blood sugar and we had to sit for a break earlier than planned since my legs were wobbly. I was incredibly frustrated and feeling down about it but minutes after we continued we were treated to something amazing…

…a mountain goat herd crossed trail in front of us! It was pure magic and exactly what I needed to stop feeling down in the dumps.

We camped at what FarOut called a “pond”. It cracked me up how many times the app would call something a pond when it was really a small lake. Harsh critic!

I was beginning to see how insulin sensitive I’ve become on trail. This has continued to be a challenge, since I hesitate to bolus for anything now. Just another thing to figure out for Diabetes!

Day 113: Lake/pond to Mill Creek, 17.48 miles

We climbed up through a burn area in the morning.

We continued to have beautiful views of Mt Jefferson, which was close enough that we could see it through the smoke.

We had a couple of creek crossings. This first one was shallow enough and we hit it early enough that we could rock hop.

Colorful flowers in burn areas always seem so vivid!

This creek crossing was much deeper and it was late in the evening, so it was flowing strongly. It ended up being a difficult ford upstream and then a very loose rock field to get back to trail. We were dislodging large rocks and it was quite sketchy.

Because that creek and rock field crossing took longer than expected and were both mentally and physically challenging, we called it a day a little earlier than expected but shortly before dark. We camped next to a rushing glacial creek with views of the mountain.

Day 114: Mill Creek to Jude Lake, 18.33 miles

We spent the morning climbing with changing views of the mountain.

Once we created the saddle, we got views of Mt Hood way in the diatance.


After a very hot afternoon in the heatwave in a severe burn area, we crawled into Olallie Lake where we relaxed for a long time with cold drinks. We eventually bought resupply in the little store and convinced ourselves to hike out.

These signs greeted us as we entered the warm springs reservation.

Day 115: Jude Lake to Abandoned dirt road, 18.41+ miles

We awoke to a very smoky and overcast day.

It started raining pretty heavily in the middle of the day so we set up Nik’s fly and had a tent lunch.

It’s interesting to see the cleared areas around power lines. Imagine the work that went into building all of these!

We had seen a lot of comments at various campsites within this reservation reporting all sorts of supernatural experiences. The next morning, as I took down my tent, I found a tent stake in the ground next to one of mine (odd because I would have noticed that when setting up my tent the night before) that Nik had lost a day or two prior…

Day 116: Abandoned dirt road to Creek, 25+ miles, 25.1+ miles

We are taught to not take candy from strangers. But what about homemade cupcakes in an Olive Garden to-go box behind a Trail Magic sign on a highway?

We hiked along the shores of Lake Timothy and enjoyed the sounds of the water hitting the shore.

We saw Mt Hood getting closer, which meant the Timberline Lodge buffet was getting closer too.

I’ve gotten into a pretty solid foot care routine that has avoided blisters but finally one popped up. You’re welcome!

Day 117: Creek to Timberline Lodge, 2+ miles

We hiked a couple of miles in loose, steel sand towards Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mt Hood.

Of course with a quarter mile to go my blood sugar started diving. Guess I’m pre-partying for the buffet with a bunch of gummies!

Timberline Lodge is so incredibly gorgeous inside and the breakfast buffet is 100% worth it. We stayed the night and hit the buffet one more time the next morning!

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 1

  • Amanda : Sep 1st

    So amazed by the way you power through even with the lows, the blisters and rocky terrain. Can’t believe how much you’ve accomplished!!!


What Do You Think?