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Windy Pass + Sawtooth Mountain Loop

Southern Oregon Cascades, Oregon

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Windy Pass + Sawtooth Mountain Loop

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  • Windy Pass Trail climbs relentlessly through alpine forest.- Windy Pass + Sawtooth Mountain Loop
  • Wild rock formations overlook the ridgetop portions of the trail.- Windy Pass + Sawtooth Mountain Loop
  • - Windy Pass + Sawtooth Mountain Loop
  • There are numerous small, wet clearings in the flatter sections of the ride.- Windy Pass + Sawtooth Mountain Loop
  • This dry creekbed near the end of the ride drains Indigo Lake of snowmelt during the spring runoff.- Windy Pass + Sawtooth Mountain Loop
  • Little Timpanagos Lake is just feet from the trailhead parking lot.- Windy Pass + Sawtooth Mountain Loop
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Fun singletrack. Stunning ridgeline traverse.
Cons: 
Elusive views. Unrideable sections.
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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: 
15.10 mi (24.30 km)
Terrain Difficulty: 
BLACK DIAMOND
Trailhead Elev.: 
5,386 ft (1,642 m)
Net Elev. Gain: 
2,400 ft (732 m)
Trail Uses:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Trail type: 
Loop
Dogs allowed?: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Clear throughout the day.
64°F
39°

Wed

Clear throughout the day.
71°F
48°

Thu

Partly cloudy overnight.
70°F
48°

Fri

Light rain in the afternoon and evening.
55°F
40°

Sat

Mixed precipitation throughout the day.
40°F
34°

Sun

Mixed precipitation in the morning and evening.
40°F
33°

Mon

Light snow (< 1 in.) in the morning and evening.
39°F
31°
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

This high alpine loop traverses a spectacular ridge on the pacific crest that divides three of Oregon's major watersheds: the Willamette, the Deschutes, and the Umpqua. There are views of Diamond Peak, Mount Thielsen, Sawtooth Mountain, Cowhorn Mountain, and The Three Sisters, although they are always glimpsed briefly through trees. A better view is undoubtedly available to those who are willing to leave the trail and scramble to the top of the ridge at various points.

The ride starts at the trailhead parking at Little Timpanogas Lake. There is a nice campground a quarter-mile away at Timpanogas Lake, and the area offers some easier trails as well. After a few miles of climbing on gravel roads, the remainder of the route is on singletrack through open pine forest. Once the trail gains the ridge, there are some rocky sections and steep switchbacks.

Eventually, Windy Pass Trail connects to Sawtooth Mountain Trail and the bottom drops out. The first mile of the descent is extremely steep, rocky and technical. Once you cross over the knife-edge ridge on the western flank of Sawtooth Mountain, the trail becomes smoother and slightly less steep, providing a high speed thrill ride the last few miles down to the parking lot.

This is a wilderness ride, with no easy egress should anything go wrong. Take a map, tools, and plenty of food and water as you enjoy the magnificent solitude and rugged beauty of Windy Pass.

 

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(35 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(58 within a 30 mile radius)

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