Hike | Santiam Lake

Trail: Santiam Lake

Dates: 6/23 to 6/24 (out & back, one night trip)

This was a really nice/approachable/easy one night backpacking trip. We drove down from Portland, leaving the city around 8A and arriving at the trailhead at 10:30A. We hiked in and set up camp by 2:30/3P. The start of the hike is through an old burn (see bear grass photo below) and with elevation, it transitions to open forest and sub-alpine meadows. The snow pack is almost completely melted out. There were only a handful of snow patches ‘obstructing’ the path, as we reached Santiam Lake. The lake is most likely a shallow one, as the water was warm by Oregonian standards (those of us use swimming in what feels like recent snow melt or the Pacific Ocean). I loved swimming in this lake. The only downside was the hordes of mosquitoes that follow you once you get out of the lake/set up camp/try to sit in camp and enjoy the view of Three Fingered Jack. So bring a swim suit, towel, and a bug net (seriously, or a bee keeper suit). Also, open to recommendations on how other hikers, dog owners, herbalists, anyone deals with the ever increasing presence of mosquitos on their camp trips.

The hike is dog friendly and we saw a lot of happy dogs hiking and enjoying the swimming, too. Once Tepals is ready for an overnight trip, this will be one of the first we get her acclimated on.


Featured photo credit: Reed Lehto


Xerophyllum tenax | Myself + Reed (photo credit: Margo)
A whole, glorious meadow of Dodecatheon alpium or what I call rocket ship flower | I think this is a baby Pediucularis groenlandica, but id help appreciated 😀


++ Plant List ++

  • Alpine shooting star | Dodecatheon alpium (Primulaceae)
  • Pedicularis spp. – most likely Pedicularis groenlandica + racemosa
  • Beargrass in bloom | Xerophyllum tenax (Melanthiaceae)
  • Pink mountain-heather | Phyllodoce empetriformis (Ericaceae)
    • Genus is named for a sea nymph, custom started by Carl Linnaeus, father of the binary naming system for plants
  • Hellebore | Veratrum viride (Liliaceae)
    • So many ethnobotanical uses but one to be very aware of as it is extremely poisonous. Ingesting a small amount of this plant can result in loosing conciousness followed by death – eek!
  • Sitka valerian | Valeriana sitchensis (Caprifoliaceae)
  • Lyall’s anemone | Anemone lyallii (Ranunuculaceae)
    • Not a 100% on this id, but seems likely based on visual id & sub-alpine ecology
  • not pictured & not in berry yet – Littleleaf huckleberry | Vaccinium scoparium (Ericaceae)


Also, not sure on this one, but I think it’s Anemone lyallii | Valeriana sitchensis
Veratrum viride | Phyllodoce empetriformis


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