Scenic USA - Oregon

Jefferson Park

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Jefferson Park - Linn County, Oregon

Photos by Denny Barnes
Denny Barnes Photography

     Tucked into the extreme northeast corner of Linn County is Oregon's second highest peak, Mount Jefferson. Jefferson-Whitewater Trail 6369 Topping the 10,000 foot mark, the immense stratovolcano looms over the mile high terrain and creates the centerpiece for the 111,000 acre Mount Jefferson Wilderness.
     One of the most remote peaks of the Cascade Range, Jefferson's sharp ridges and craggy peaks attract some of the hardiest photographers and backcountry hikers. A web of wilderness trails is woven throughout the dense forests of fir, pine and hemlocks leading upward toward mountain meadows, alpine lakes and steep talus slopes.
     Once hikers break out of the lower forests into Jefferson Park, Mount Jefferson's enormity bursts into view. The only peak named by the famous Lewis and Clark duo, Jefferson's dark slopes are highlighted with five named glaciers. Its last major eruption, thousands of years ago, covered the original cinder Milky Way from Jefferson Park cone with a thick layer of lava. Estimated at heights of 12,000 feet, the volcano has been whittled away by glacial activity, losing nearly a third of its original size. High glacial lakes have breached their ice and sand dams, bringing tons of material down the mountainside. The peaceful Jefferson Park below is the result of these large sand deposits that once made up a large part of Mount Jefferson. Far enough from the I-5 corridor, this section of Oregon wilderness has enough dark sky to see our own part of the Milky Way Galaxy plane from the inside out. Remote, extreme, remarkable ... Jefferson Park just begs for a visit.

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