Ashland/Callahan’s Resort (Mile 1716)
Beardoh went into Ashland his first hike(2012) and then we just went to Callahan’s Resort when we hiked together in 2016. Beardoh liked Ashland, but it is pretty spread out and you will likely have to do a lot of walking to get everywhere you want to go. There are multiple gear shops, lots of restaurants, and several motels. Sadly the Motel 6 is on the outskirts of town, so the most affordable lodging is also the furtherest away from everything. The hitch back to the trail in 2012 took quite a while (it is an on ramp), while getting into town was pretty easy – we yogi’d a ride from someone leaving Callahan’s. When we went to Callahan’s we ended up staying in a suite which held three of us (this helped to keep the costs down). The all-you-can-eat spaghetti meal is well worth the money, but the regular menu is quite pricey. For those who just want to camp at Callahan’s, you can still get the shower and laundry, so it ends up being a pretty decent deal.
- Going fast: Just send a box to Callahan’s and purchase the camping plan, which (when we went through) included the spaghetti dinner, laundry, shower and place to camp.
- Moderate pace: Stay the night either at Callahan’s or in Ashland.
Fish Lake Resort (Mile 1770)
If feels a bit like you are going back in time at this resort. The center of the resort doesn’t feel like it has been updated in awhile, but for most hikers, that doesn’t really matter. The resort has cabins for rent, but from what we’ve heard, they aren’t very nice and since they allow hikers to camp for free, that definitely seems like the best choice. There is a cafe at the resort and a very small convenience store. We found it to be a really good place for a zero day, since there was nothing to do, we were “forced” to seriously relax for our day off.
- Going fast: Skip it – It is just over 100 miles from Callahan’s to Crater Lake and the miles aren’t tough.
- Moderate Pace: Head in for a shower and hot meal. Camp long the lake in their “free camping” area which is quite picturesque right along the lake.
Crater Lake (Mile 1818)
Crater Lake is definitely one of the highlights on the PCT…truly one of the country’s gems. There is a short spur trail which takes you right to the general store and restaurant. This seems to be the place where hikers hang out, although there is also a hiker camping area not to far from the store. The folks running the store seemed pretty overwhelmed with hiker packages when we came through last, and you may need to wait for them to find your package, or have them look several times if your package alludes them the first time. Up on the rim there is a good restaurant at the hotel, the best french toast we have ever had. The common area and deck are a nice place to chill out as well.
- Going Fast / Moderate Pace: Pick up your package, get a meal at the restaurant and camp in the designated hiker area for the night.
Shelter Cove Resort (Mile 1904)
After a day of walking through dust that was easily an inch deep, we were happy to get to Shelter Cove Resort. Unfortunately, the guide book we were using had the incorrect closing time for the resort store listed. The folks at the resort were kind enough to get our resupply boxes and let us buy a soda, but our dreams of a hot dog or nachos were dashed. The resort has WiFi in theory, but in practice, you shouldn’t count on it…most likely the large amount of hikers trying to use the WiFi basically cripple the network. There are showers and a hiker area for camping…and the resort store has amazing coffee to enjoy in the morning.
- Going fast: Pick up a box and a snack and then keep going.
- Moderate pace: Pick up resupply, enjoy some store snacks/hot food, a shower and camp at the resort overnight.
Elk Lake Resort (Mile 1950)
Chances are that you will be walking through miles of trail covered in a thick layer a dust as you get close to Elk Lake Resort. For some hikers, they don’t bother to walk the mile off trail for the resort, since they had just recently been at the Shelter Cove Resort (it is less than 100 miles between Shelter Cove and Big Lake Youth Camp). However, it is certainly as option, as they accept hiker packages (the store is probably too small to plan on for resupply), have a restaurant, showers and laundry.
- Going fast / Moderate pace: Skip it unless you are really hungry for some town food.
Sisters/Bend (Mile 1981 or 1998)
Both of these towns are a bit off trail and hitching could be tough. In 2012, Beardoh and friends had the luxury of Trail Angel friends bring them into town from the 1998 mile marker (Santiam Pass Trailhead)…but they ended up outside of Bend where lodging was available (No rooms left in Sisters, which is closer to the trail). Bend has a lot to offer and if you need to hit an outfitter, it may be worth the effort.
- Going fast / Moderate pace: Unless you really need to get into Bend, we’d recommend resupplying at Big Lake Youth Camp.
Big Lake Youth Camp (Mile 1992)
When we arrived here at the end of a long day, we were very sad to see that the camp was closed and that our dreams of a big meal were not going to come to fruition. Instead, we just cooked up dinner packets we found in the hiker box. But, we were able to shower and do laundry, which was great. It is great that this camp is so close to trail and offers services to hikers.
- Going fast / Moderate pace: This is a great place to send a package, since it is right on trail and there are at least some amenities. If you’re lucky and going through early enough, you can enjoy a meal, but at the minimum, you should be able to do laundry and take a shower. For those “Going Fast”, the BLYC is a much more efficient resupply than going into Sisters or Bend.
Timberline Lodge (Mile 2094)
The closer you get to the Timberline Lodge, the more you hear about the brunch buffet. And it pretty much lives up to the hype. While you may feel a bit out of place in your smelly hiker clothes among all the fancy folks coming up for a luxury lodge experience, we have experienced nothing but friendly and welcoming folks at the lodge. Although the price of the buffet may be more than what you are used to paying on the trail, it is well worth it, since you are able to fully appreciate all the amazing food with your hiker appetite. Most hikers will find the prices at the lodge a bit out of budget, but it is a good place to hang out for a good part of the day and then head back out to the trail to camp for the night.
- Going fast / Moderate pace: Pick up a resupply box, take advantage of the buffet, hang out, play a game of ping pong and then head on up the trail.
Cascade Locks (Mile 2144)
With Washington just over the river, this town stop feels like a milestone…just one state left to go (if you’re hiking NOBO)! There isn’t a a lot of services in Cascade Locks, but there is an RV park where hikers can camp, and there is the Colombia Gorge Inn (large, nice and affordable rooms) just off the main street. For those hikers really wanting to celebrate a state line, you can’t beat a footlong soft serve ice cream cone at the Eastwind Drive In!
- Going fast: Grab a meal and do a quick resupply at the small grocery store in town (or send a box to the RV park) then head on over the bridge.
- Moderate pace: This is a good place for a night in town. You can enjoy a good meal, lots of ice cream and then camp at the RV park.