Eagle Crest, OR
Adventurer | 432 pts
Maybe it's unfair, but I really thought with a trail that has "Lakes" in the title that I would be seeing a bit more water than is present on this trail--but that's only one of the reasons I found this trail somewhat disappointing. It is quite a drive (10 minutes off the highway at the top of Santiam Pass) from wherever you are, unless you're camping at Big Lake, but despite the altitude and "lakes" is not much for views, but sticks to being a forest wilderness trail for most of the length. The actual Patjens Lakes are small, unremarkable, and mostly not even visible from the trail. Big Lake, which borders the last leg, is beautiful and an awesome spot to relax, but that just means you'd be better off coming there for recreation than a hike. Also early-season hikers be warned--there was all kinds of snow on the trail in mid-June still; best to save this one for August or later with the high altitudes. Every guidebook has this one so it's important for completists--but Suttle Lake and Echo Basin are both within 15 minutes and are vastly superior hikes.