Backpack to the Matthieu Lakes

Lava Camp Lake Trailhead

One night backpack with warm swimming holes and views of the Three Sisters, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, and Tree Fingered Jack.

Begin your hike at the Lava Camp Lake Trailhead. The trail winds through a forest flush with hemlock and fir while opening up into black lava flows. Continue for a little over two miles until you reach North Matthieu Lake. This is your first stop. Go for a swim out to the little island and have a snack. Once you have gotten your fill, hike on until you reach the South Matthieu Lake. South Matthieu Lake is smaller, however it feels more open and North and Middle Sister loom in the distance. There are campsites located around the lake. Pick one and set up camp and go for another swim because this lake is much warmer. Prepare yourself some food and hike out on the PCT to get an amazing sunset view and watch the sun melt away behind Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, and Three Fingered Jack.

Pack List

  • 10 Essential "Systems"
  • Tent
  • Hammock
  • Camera
  • Camp Stove
  • Swimsuit... or not
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RT Distance 6 Miles
Elevation Gain 800 Feet
Activities Camping, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Summer
Trail Type Loop
Features
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Not The Best Directions

After turning off the 242 the sign to the trailhead says PCT trailheads to the right. After on the trail there is a left or right turn on the PCT 2000. Turn left!!! We turned right into the lava flow (following the vague directions of outbound). Probably should have looked up more detailed directions. We never found the lakes... maybe next time!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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