Central Oregon Mountains

with links to the Pacific Crest Trail, Oregon classic fire lookouts, the Oregon Skyline Trail, and historic wilderness shelters

"Sisters Cloudland." Seas of soft cloud drift over the black, jagged lavas of McKenzie Pass in this scene from a winter climb of Mt. Washington. The Pacific Crest Trail runs through the middle of the picture beneath the clouds. North and Middle Sisters rise somberly to 10,000 ft. in the distance. Behind us, a few miles NW and 3,000 ft. lower, is Hoodoo Ski area, and then Highway 22 and Santiam Pass with its bustle of traffic. Click here to communicate via email (jupiterman47@gmail.com) if interested in purchasing a print of "Sisters Cloudland."


Oregon's two long distance trails along the Cascade Crest: the PCT, and its predecessor, The Oregon Skyline Trail

Many years before the modern Pacific Crest Trail came into existence, Oregon developed a visionary trail along the crest of the Cascade Mountains. It ran north to south all the way from Mt. Hood to Crater Lake. It was named The Oregon Skyline Trail. Below are several pages concerned with the Skyline Trail and some other related historic trails near it... Notes: Click here to find remarks on vanished Wilderness Shelters.... Click here to skip to my Pacific Crest Trail pages.

My main Skyline Trail page leads to several other pages, please click the picture

Historic 1931 Map of Santiam Section of the Skyline Trail (note: I also recently acquired a mint 1921 official Skyline Trail map, two-sided, size 24x17.5 inches-- Click here!)

Phantom Trails of the Santiam Region by J.D. Adams

Trails in Santiam region lost to the B&B Complex Fire

The Brush Creek Trail and record-setting Doug Fir

email me for much info from a contributor who recently thoroughly explored the Old Skyline Trail from Crater Lake southward!

The Summit Trail, No. 65, a re-named segment of the original Skyline Trail?

Oregon's section of the Pacific Crest Trail System

Above, left: on the PCT near South Sister in October

Highest Points of the PCT System in Oregon---a must-see!

PCT near Timberline Lodge: images and music: "Dazed and Confused"



My first recommendation is "Pilgrimage to the Edge." It's for PCT lovers, and for those interested in the history and evolution of the intricate and often conflictful interface between the official public land managers and the environmentalist movement. This 2010 book is also just a fine trail read with chapters of first-person accounts of all the trail sections from Canada to Mexico. Softbound, 491 pages, published 2010, ISBN 978-1-4535-9998-3. Author: Jonathan Stewart, a graduate of Medford High School in Southern Oregon, and a journalism major in college, Jon is a unique individual whose personality combines hardcore trail hiker with a long and varied background as a Forest Service insider and journalist. He is also lifetime friend of mine who was with me on my very first backpacking and climbing trips. Publisher of "Pilgrimage" is Xlibris. ISBN: 978-1-4535-9998-3. It's available on Amazon.

Note to readers: if you have trouble finding any of Jon's books, please email me at oldgear@Oregonphotos.com -- I have a direct line to Jon, who usually has all his books in stock for a price of about $20 plus shipping.

My second recommendation is Jon's recently-completed third trail book, "The Plateau of Doubt." This time the locale is the tortured desert terrain of the Colorado Plateau. Jon is one of only a couple dozen hardy souls to have completed the rough and dangerous 850 mile Hayduke Trail. His new book about the adventure is subtitled "Hiking the Hayduke Trail across the Colorado Plateau." Its 329 pages describe a true adventure of spirit and grit. ISBN 978-1-4834-8088-6, Lulu Publishing Services. Amazon has "Plateau" as an $8.99 Kindle book.

My third recommendation is Jon's 2014 "Walking Away from the Land, Change at the Crest of a Continent," 528 pages, It's based upon four years of walking the high trails of the Western U.S. from the Rockies to the Pacific. Available in hardback, paperback, e-book. Paperback ISBN is 978-1-4931-8092-9. It's available from Amazon as either a print book or a Kindle book, or contact me at oldgear@Oregonphotos.com-- Jon describes the thick book this way: "It focuses on the 3200 mile hike of the Continental Divide Trail I took a few years ago. It also speaks to the rapid climatic and cultural changes affecting our nation's forests and grasslands I saw along the way. It also includes a few memorable lifelong adventures I shared with many of you over the past half century."

My fourth recommendation has got to be Cheryl Strayed's powerful, psychologically deep book about her PCT trials and triumph. "Wild, from Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail." Cheryl Strayed, a Borzoi book published by Alfred A. Knopf copyright 2012, 315 pages. Ms. Strayed lives in Portland, Oregon. She also has a website and on there you can find a list of her upcoming appearances and writing workshops. Strayed's book is widely available. My own ten books can be seen described at this link below:

Bruce Johnson's ten books about the history of outdoor gear and adventure stories


The Future of the High Trails in Oregon if Global Warming Comes True

Recent Oregon PCT news that has reached me

The Continental Divide Trail (CDT)- hike the Rockies from Canada to Mexico

The Lookout Cabin on top of Washington's Mt. Adams was probably the highest that people ever lived in the entire Northwest-- click to read more

The History of Modern Outdoor Gear 1935 to the Present (45+ pages)

A Page about the delights of winter snow camping!

Ever-popular Green Lake and South Sister Mountain. This lake is often snow-choked until late July due to its elevation of close to 6500 feet. The PCT passes to the west of this location, on the opposite flank of South Sister, where Geologists have mounted a full-scale, highly-instrumented Volcanic Alert--- the area in questions is about 3 miles west of South Sister, and its surface has bulged upward over 10 inches since late 1997. Over 50 million cubic yards of magma has risen into the rocks far below the surface! And the uplift continues.....This area was last active very recently, at about the time of the birth of Jesus Christ, in the Rock Mesa area, and also near Green Lake, seen in this image.


Lookout Towers

Click this to be awed by.. Mt. Pisgah Lookout ..whirling under the night sky! You'll also get acquainted with some.. other Oregon lookouts ..--and hopefully you'll decide that Oregon's remaining lookouts are a heritage worth preserving.

Three Sisters Wilderness History: Sunshine Shelter, aka simply "Sunshine" among climbers

elevation 6,400'

The long uphill trudge through dense forests from Frog Camp formerly had a fine reward at its end. Sunshine Shelter was a haven for soaked, tired climbers and Skyline Trail backpackers for many, many years. I have reports that in 1944, "Sunshine" was even hooked up to the outside world via a US Forest Service phone line strung among the trees from McKenzie Bridge Ranger Station.

But the sad fate of Sunshine is that it was demolished and burned by the Forest Service; my best report believes this occurred about 1973 (thanks, Paul B.)

Its destruction* was a piece of the movement that saw most of our National Forests and Wildernesses loose their historic old lookout towers and shelters. To me, Sunshine Shelter had a delightful ambiance, possessing a sort of European Alps climbing hut feel.....On historic Oregon Skyline Trail maps from the 1920's, a location marked "Camp Riley" shows up at or near the site of Sunshine Shelter. This was decades before the present Three Sisters Wilderness Area had been created---back in the 20's and 30's, this was the "Three Sisters Game Refuge," and horsemen and hunters ruled....The area was designated as one of Oregon's first "Primitive" Areas in 1937, and formally designated as a "Wild Area" on 2/06/1957. At a size of 199,902 acres, it is second only to the Eagle Cap Wilderness in size.

Below please find a cozy image of a still-existing shelter, one of the few shelters missed in the campaign of destruction. Unfortunately, hikers themselves were sometimes the problem, such as at "Jack Shelter," which was located just a couple miles hike north along the PCT from Santiam Pass-- here hikers repeatedly burned campfires inside the shelter, ultimately damaging it and leading to its destruction because FS rules said such historic structures couldn't be altered with modern materials for repairs- Jack Shelter was taken down in 1972-- it was one of my personal favorites. (click here to see image of Jack Shelter and a 1964 Map)....... Below, this image by Monte Dodge brings back to my mind pleasant memories of the rustic security during bad weather that these shelters offered to any and all at no cost. This shelter is located in the Southern Cascades of Washington State. Image credit: Monte Dodge.

Contact* Please e-mail me (jupiterman47@gmail.com) if you can supply an exact date, or other details, regarding Sunshine Shelter's end, and I'll be happy to include them on this webpage. I'm also interested in other shelters you may know of---- By the way, I am Bruce Johnson, not Bend-area photographer Bruce Jackson (many seem to confuse us).

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Page last revised 02/20/2024