Jefferson Park Trail
When you find a cluster of high alpine lakes together with a towering mountain above, you'll find a very popular destination. Jefferson Park meets this requirement and is one of the premier locations in Oregon for backpacking. You'll also find the Pacific Crest Trail passing right through Jefferson Park. If you want even more scenery but don't feel like exploring the steep slopes of Mount Jefferson, you can hike the PCT above Jefferson Park to Park Ridge, just feet away from Park Benchmark summit, a very high and prominent point that will give views for a hundred miles in all directions, including a direct look over to Mount Jefferson. Camping sites around the lakes are very abundant, with many, many more around the meadows in secluded locations everywhere.
WillhiteWeb.com - Oregon Hiking
From Highway 22, several miles east of Detroit, take USFS Road 2243 (likely unsigned) to the Whitewater Trailhead.
Distance: 4.5 miles
Park Elevation: 5,800 feet
Elevation Gain: 1,700 feet
Access: Good gravel road
Follow the Whitewater Trail on a mostly forested path for 1.5 miles to an intersection with the Jefferson Park Trail. Follow the Jefferson Park Trail east 2.5 miles to a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. Take the PCT uphill around a half mile into Jefferson Park. Shortly after arriving into the park, trails start shooting left to Scout Lake, which is partly visible from the trail. Bays Lake is a bit further but likely has the least amount of people. Further along the PCT is Russell Lake, a short distance from the trail and just within eyesight in a few spots. If the trail starts climbing up, you are leaving Jefferson Park climbing toward the ridge.
Jefferson from tarn just west of Russell Lake
Rock Lake and Park Butte in Jefferson Park
Scout Lake and Park Butte
Scout Lake and Mount Jefferson
West side of Mount Jefferson from the Jefferson Park trail
Nice forest hike to Jefferson Park