Reminder – clicking on pic will open 90% quality resolution – it’s worth it!
For possibly the last Central Cascades wilderness (Friends of Central Cascades) hike of the 2022 season, Broken Top surfaced as the preferred destination. After visiting No Name Lake in July this year with it 2/3 covered in ice (review), a return in Fall without all the ice seemed like a good idea. While a good idea for the hike, the trip to the trailhead was an adventure as roads were unpredictably closed due to the Cedar Creek fire – a much longer travel time was required.
The hike plan went from the Green Lakes / Soda Creek trail head to Broken Top trail up to No Name Lake and up above, back down, then up the west user trail toward Cook Glacier, and then back to the car. Looking like this:
The travel detour pushed back hiking start by 30 minutes, but sunrise just hit Bachelor and Broken Top peaks and a wonderful meadow on Soda Creek.
Once up on the meadows close to the junction of Broken Top trail, the vista opens up to the south over Swampy Lakes, to South Sister and Broken Top and to the southwest the Cedar Creek fire impact.
Getting to No Name Lake was so much easier without the snow and ice. When I first got there – only 3 of us. We all headed around the lake and up toward Broken Hand. From the lake the trail up looks like this
Once up above No Name Lake, the views in all directions were amazing, even with the less than clear skies.The gallery was not found!
The large glacier is Bend Glacier with its melt pond below. The ice was similar to Elliot on Mt Hood, but still not the same (this glacier also faces mostly north).
Originally, i was going to hang out at No Name, but … too many people. On the way down, between the lake and Broken Top trail junction >30 other people and 5 dogs and a newborn baby in a sling. A small bunch of flowers held fast as well!
To find a quiet spot, up the user trail toward Cook Glacier; the topology is mirror of No Name but on the other side of the ridge. Looking up, there was the glacier’s lake and its outflow. The trail basically followed the stream up, and i took the trail as far as i thought safe – stopped, rested and then headed down.
Back to Broken Top trail and swinging around westerly the last summit views.
I was back to the car around 4pm but then took the long way around (Bend and Sisters) to avoid the fire activity on Hwy 58.
Summary: Getting a permit for Green Lakes / Soda Creek trailhead is probably the hardest in the Central Cascades (permits), but so worth it! Soda Creek trail up to Broken top is roughly 5 miles and worth it both on the way and once to the trail junction in the meadows. Swinging around and up to No Name Lake is fabulously beautiful (Broken Top just does not get enough praise imho), BUT that trail is REALLY crowded – pick your day and time carefully if you want solitude. The trail up toward Cook Glacier is solitude, but also a difficult trail to follow and it kind of just fades away. Highly recommended and if one can swing an overnight up around No Name Lake – paradise.
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