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Matthieu Lakes

Central Oregon, Oregon

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Matthieu Lakes

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  • Sign at the Lava Camp and Pacfic Crest Trail junction.- Matthieu Lakes
  • A small meadow abutting the lava flow on the way up to North Matthieu Lake.- Matthieu Lakes
  • Small, tranquil pond along the trail toward North Matthieu Lake.- Matthieu Lakes
  • North Matthieu Lake.- Matthieu Lakes
  • North Matthieu Lake with North Sister (10,085') in the distance.- Matthieu Lakes
  • Please abide by the posted signage and use areas around the rehibilitaion areas.- Matthieu Lakes
  • South Matthieu Lake.- Matthieu Lakes
  • The shores of South Mathieu Lake. North Sister(10,085') in the distance.- Matthieu Lakes
  • Backcountry campsite above South Matthieu Lake.- Matthieu Lakes
  • Dusk on the Central Oregon Cascades from the PCT. From left to right: Mount Washington (7,795'), Three Fingered Jack (7,844'), and Mount Jefferson (10,495').- Matthieu Lakes
  • Night on the Central Oregon Cascades from the PCT. From left to right: Mount Washington (7,795'), Three Fingered Jack (7,844'), and Mount Jefferson (10,495').- Matthieu Lakes
  • North Sister (10,085') and Middle Sister (10,047') from South Matthieu Lake.- Matthieu Lakes
  • Milky Way over the North Sister (10,085') and Middle Sister (10,047') from South Matthieu Lake area.- Matthieu Lakes
  • North Sister (10,085') from South Matthieu Lake campsite.- Matthieu Lakes
  • Early morning clouds over North Sister (10,085') and Middle Sister (10,047').- Matthieu Lakes
  • Volunteers from the Friends of the Central Cascades Wilderness and the Forest Service replace designated campsite signage.- Matthieu Lakes
  • View north along the PCT after exiting South Matthieu Lake.- Matthieu Lakes
  • View north along the PCT. Peaks from left to right: Belknap Crater (6,877'), Mount Washington (7,795'), Three Fingered Jack (7,844'), Mount Jefferson (10,495'), and Mount Hood (11,249').- Matthieu Lakes
  • North Matthieu Lake as seen from the PCT.- Matthieu Lakes
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Short trail loop with lots of geographic variation and amazing mountain views.
Cons: 
Trail is very popular in the summer months.
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Region:
Central Oregon, OR
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
720.00 ft (219.46 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
5.20 mi (8.37 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,269.00 ft (1,605.99 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The Matthieu Lakes Loop offers a wonderful variety of terrain and scenery in a short distance. From green alpine forest and black lava flows to clear blue lakes and big mountain vistas, this 7-mile loop is a great way to tour this dynamic area. The route includes the option of camping at North or South Matthieu Lake. If you are looking for a shorter day trip, consider visiting one lake for a quick there-and-back hike.

Starting at the Lava Camp Lake Trailhead, the trail weaves through a fir and hemlock forest that flirts with the edge of a lava flow. A bright green carpet of huckleberry bushes flanks the trail, and small, tranquil ponds hold the winter runoff.

Once you reach North Matthieu Lake, look for a a small island that stands to one side of the lake against a backdrop of the black lava flow, a great destination if you are looking for a swim. If you'd like to hike on, continue on the trail around the lake and wind your way up to the South Mattieu Lake. While South Matthieu Lake is considerably smaller, the high alpine character of the lake and the amazing view of North Sister and Middle Sister makes this the apex of the hike. The waters are frigid, but this can be a welcome relief on a hot summer day in the exposed high alpine. Camping is permitted at both lakes. Due to the high volume of visitors, camping is only allowed in designated backcountry sites. There are seven campsites around North Matthieu Lake and three around South Matthieu Lake. Campfires are prohibited at both lakes.

When heading back to the trailhead, stay on the Pacific Crest Trail to enjoy big views north to Mount Hood and even a view down to the Lower Matthieu Lake.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(55 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(145 within a 30 mile radius)

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