Moderate (to Park Meadow)
10 miles round trip
800 feet elevation gain
Open mid-July to early November
Use: hikers, horses
Difficult (to Golden Lake)
13.4 miles round trip
1300 feet elevation gain
Open late July through October
Left: Golden Lake
Below: Broken Top from a tarn above Golden Lake
Long-time outdoorsmen often have a “secret spot” in the wilderness—an alpine lakelet or a hidden wildflower meadow whose beauty they will gladly describe to you in glowing terms. But ask them just where this paradise is and they only smile.
Many of these secret spots are hidden on the north flank of Broken Top. And the real reason tenderfeet aren’t here is not the oath of silence but rather the difficulty of the hike. Park Meadow, the gateway to this wonderland, is 5 miles along a tedious, dusty trail. Golden Lake, with a backdrop of four glacier-clad mountains, is another 1.7 miles—partly with no official trail at all.
This chapter is an excerpt from 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades.