Rainy Lake Trail to Wahtum Lake. | Waucoma Lake Loop, Oregon.
This backpacking trip was a whole new experience for me. I allowed Trail Buddy to pick our destination and the outcome was a 16 mile hike on the Waucoma Lakes loop trail. This blog is part one of the difficult but amazing hike I did in the forests of Northern Oregon. I would not suggest the entire hike to beginners but I can defiantly recommend easier and more intermediate trails from this since the trails intermingle.
I began at the Rainy Lake Trail Head and hiked about 2 miles on the Rainy-Wahtum trail to the abandoned World War II signal shed. This path was simple and would be a lovely family hike on the ridge of Green Point Mountain and exploration of the abandoned hut. The hut is at the junction of Rainy-Wahtum Trail and Herman Creek Cutoff Trail. You would follow down the Herman Creek Cutoff Trail (N/W) passing the WWII Signal Hut on your left hand side. - If you want a easier and scenic hike, continue going Straight on Rainy-Wahtum Trail.
Following Herman Creek Cutoff Trail, you would follow an almost non-existent trail that switch backs down Green-Point Mountain. You can see Tom-like Mountain through the branches of trees while you climb down. (This was the more difficult portion of the hike until I got to Wahtum Lake.) Herman Creek Cutoff takes you down creeks that run down into Swamp land and tall cedar trees. At the bottom of both mountains, you are greeted by a campsite called Cedar Swamp Camp. Cedar Swamp Camp is a very secluded location but very quiet, very very quiet, found at the bottom of two very big hills.
You will arrive at the junction of Herman Creek Trail which is where you want to take a left (S) and continue past creek beds, bottom lands, swamp land, and what I might call… Oregon’s Jungle Beds due to the overgrown giant Skunk plants and giant raspberry bushes. This will take about 3 miles before you reach Mudd Lake, where you may go down to the single campsite with access to a secluded Lake. Mudd Lake is beautiful, buzzing with dragon flies, swimming with salamanders, and growing white lilies. There is no outlet from this campsite so if you want to continue up Herman Creek Trail after you visit Mudd Lake, you must turn back around to the junction. I particularly liked this portion of the hike because I learned what Bear Grass looks like and the hill was covered in it.
Continuing on Herman Creek Trail up a few more switchbacks for about 2 miles, you’ll come up to a few clearings that will allow you to see Green-Point Mountain, the hill you just climbed down. The first junction you arrive at, you want to continue going left up Anthill Trail. (There is a hidden trail to the right (N) it will take you to the top of Tom-like Mountain which is a beautiful aerial view of Mt Defiance, Mt Hood, and all three lakes but it’s a 30 minute hike.)
Continuing left on Anthill Trail will then take you to a second junction, this is where Rainy-Wahtum Trail meets you. (If you wanted a easier hike, I had suggested to go down Rainy-Wahtum Trail which is only four miles and hikes along a ridge to this point.) At this junction you have two options, Go up Anthill Trail (S) or go to the left down Rainy-Wahtum Trail. I chose Anthill and was rewarded with a beautiful view of Wahtum’s Blue Water and Mt. Hood overlooking me.
Climb down this ridge for another 2 miles and you’ll find the Wahtum Camp Site. Wahtum is a beautiful lake and a wonderful place to backpack to. Trail Buddy and I swam in the crystal clear water, we even drank the water after using our Iodine pills. The campsites were not easily accessible because you had to hike to them, so the lake was quiet. The only vehicles were the ones parked at the Lake’s main but small campsite. I really enjoyed camping here!
I will follow up this blog with the hike and trails it took to return to Rainy Lake Trail Head. Follow along to see how!