Separation Creek Loop Backpacking

Elk Lake, Oregon

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The Three Sisters Wilderness is the most visited wilderness area in Oregon, so it’s not surprising that hikers sometimes have a hard time finding uncrowded trails. But solitude-loving pedestrians need not fear because such trails do exist. The key to finding them is to realize that the vast majority of the visitors to this huge wilderness concentrate around a handful of very popular destinations. If you avoid these areas, there is a good chance you will have the trail all to yourself. This loop takes you through some of the quietest parts of the preserve as it makes a long, woodsy approach to the more crowded high country. In addition to solitude, this warm-up period helps build anticipation for the great scenery to come and, if you start your trip on a Saturday, as most people do, it won’t be until the quieter days of midweek that you reach the popular meadows and lakes around timberline.
Backpacking Oregon: From Rugged Coastline to Mountain Meadow

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Backpacking Oregon: From Rugged Coastline to Mountain Meadow

by Douglas Lorain (Wilderness Press)

The Three Sisters Wilderness is the most visited wilderness area in Oregon, so it’s not surprising that hikers sometimes have a hard time finding uncrowded trails. But solitude-loving pedestrians need not fear because such trails do exist. The key to finding them is to realize that the vast majority of the visitors to this huge wilderness concentrate around a handful of very popular destinations. If you avoid these areas, there is a good chance you will have the trail all to yourself. This loop takes you through some of the quietest parts of the preserve as it makes a long, woodsy approach to the more crowded high country. In addition to solitude, this warm-up period helps build anticipation for the great scenery to come and, if you start your trip on a Saturday, as most people do, it won’t be until the quieter days of midweek that you reach the popular meadows and lakes around timberline.

© 2007 Douglas Lorain/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Elk Lake
Length: 42
Elevation Gain: 4,700 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 4-6 days
Season: Usually open mid-July to October
Local Contacts: McKenzie River Ranger District
Local Maps: Geographics -- Three Sisters Wilderness
Topo Map: Separation Creek Loop (Backpacking) Topographic Map
Guide Book: Backpacking Oregon: From Rugged Coastline to Mountain Meadow Guide Book
Driving Directions: View Directions
Trail Directions: View Guide

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