Took three days off last week to do a back country / roads route from Sisters to Waldo Lake (OR). We began by hiking to Proxy Falls on our way up old McKenzie Hwy. The hike is about a 1.5 mile loop hitting 226’ Proxy Falls first, and then Upper Proxy Falls.
After the falls we headed over McKenzie Pass, then into Sisters for topping off gas. In Sisters we took Elm Street that turns into Road 16 to Three Creeks Lake where we camped for the night. The lake sits in the shadow of the Tam McArthur Rim at 6550’
After a leisurely morning we packed up and took FSR 370 around Three Sisters wilderness between Three Creeks Lake and the Cascade Lakes Hwy. This is a beautiful dirt route that for the most part is bumpy, easy going. With a trailer 4 Low was needed on a few rougher climbing sections. A highlight is being able to drive up to the Broken Top wilderness boundary at around 7000’
We followed the Cascades Lakes Hwy a few minutes to Sparks Lake for lunch. From here you have great views of South Sister and Broken Top. You could easily spend a few days exploring the many lakes and hiking into the Three Sisters wilderness.
After lunch we did approximately 15 miles of pavement on the Cascade Lakes hwy to FSR 4630 which is the beginning of the next back country route leg. This goes by Little Cultus Lake, then Irish / Taylor Lake, through a portion of the Taylor burn and dumps out on the north end of Waldo Lake. This leg had many rougher sections requiring 4-Low and one short, chewed up hill climb with a few “steps” making traction a challenge.
Waldo Lake is one of Oregon’s largest natural lakes and a beautiful one to boot. With no internal combustion engines allowed; it is a great lake for kayaking. Waldo sits at 5414’ and is also one of the purest bodies of water in the world. We feel fortunate to live only three hours away. There were only had a handful of campers and we got a great lake side campsite and had a nice sunset.
After another leisurely morning, we headed south to Crescent Lake. The goal was finding FSR 6010 which will be the starting point for a future adventure.
Last stop on the way home down Hwy 58 was Salt Creek Falls, Oregon’s second tallest waterfall at 286’
We’ve begun back country sections along the Oregon Cascades that have scenic beautiful waterfalls and history. Taking those paths less / more difficult to travel that most people never see. A route that connects nicely with this one is Lost Lake to the old Santiam Wagon trail and around the Mt. Washington wilderness to the old McKenzie hwy. It is described “backwards” to the trip report [url=http://tventuring.com/trailerforum/thread-587.html]Willys and Oregon History[/url]. The next planned leg, takes you along the Diamond Peak wilderness, pass Summit Lake and into the Umpqua river drainage, an area know for its Thundering Waters.