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Summit Lake + Windy Lakes Loop

Southern Oregon Cascades, Oregon

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Summit Lake + Windy Lakes Loop

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  • The only view of nearby Diamond Peak (8,743') is this brief glimpse on the road climb.- Summit Lake + Windy Lakes Loop
  • Summit Lake Trail crosses this seasonal inlet shortly after leaving the trailhead at Summit Lake.- Summit Lake + Windy Lakes Loop
  • Vibrant moss near Summit Lake.- Summit Lake + Windy Lakes Loop
  • Passing yet another alpine lake on Summit Lake Trail.- Summit Lake + Windy Lakes Loop
  • The Windy Lakes are significantly larger than the succesion of small lakes on Summit Lake Trail.- Summit Lake + Windy Lakes Loop
  • South Windy Lake.- Summit Lake + Windy Lakes Loop
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Fun technical descent. Charming alpine lakes. Not too much elevation gain.
Cons: 
No good views. Long climb.
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Region:
Southern Oregon Cascades, OR
Congestion: 
Low
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
Not Required
Total Distance: 
17.15 mi (27.60 km)
Terrain Difficulty: 
BLUE
Trailhead Elev.: 
4,930 ft (1,503 m)
Net Elev. Gain: 
1,400 ft (427 m)
Trail Uses:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Trail type: 
Loop
Dogs allowed?: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Clear throughout the day.
67°F
40°

Wed

Clear throughout the day.
74°F
47°

Thu

Partly cloudy overnight.
74°F
48°

Fri

Light rain in the afternoon and evening.
58°F
45°

Sat

Light rain until afternoon, starting again in the evening.
44°F
36°

Sun

Light snow (< 1 in.) in the morning and evening.
44°F
35°

Mon

Light snow (< 1 in.) in the morning.
42°F
32°
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

This alpine loop ride meanders through pine forest past a never-ending procession of high mountain lakes. The trailhead is on Crescent Lake near Spring Campground. The high lakes on this ride are infested with mosquitos until late summer. The cool weather and lack of crowds make fall the best time to enjoy this area.

From Crescent Lake, the route ascends a four-wheel drive road to Summit Lake, which also has a campground  and is a popular starting point for a hike up Diamond Peak. The dirt climb is a welcome change from the typical gravel grind that accompanies so many cascade mountain bike rides.

Summit Lake Trail marks the beginning of 11 miles of singletrack that will bring you back to the car. This trail climbs gently past many small lakes to a junction with Windy Lake Trail. Turn south here for a 2-mile out and back jaunt to South Windy Lake. The Windy Lakes are much larger than the small lakes on Summit Lake Trail. They sit just east of the divide between the Middle Fork of the Willamette River and Deschutes River drainages. Windy Pass is a much more demanding and scenic ride on the west side of this divide for those who are spending a few days in the area.

Windy Pass Trail makes a beeline back down to the trailhead, and is much more technical than Summit Lake Trail. Long twisty root drops and some erosion channels make for a challenging technical downhill, although the grade never gets too steep.

In spite of the lack of mountain views, the numerous charming alpine lakes, fun singletrack, and stimulating downhill make this high cascade loop a great ride.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(41 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(55 within a 30 mile radius)

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