Hyatt Lake

No matter how you played Ashland, the odds are that you don't need to think of this modest boating and fishing destination, a 1.5 mile roadwalk from the trail. Hyatt Lake (7900 Hyatt Prairie Rd., 541 482-3331) began as an irrigation reservoir in 1923. This has never been a favored PCT stop. It was correctly referred to as a dump for decades. But about a dozen years ago the whole structure of the operation changed pretty dramatically.

In 2006, Bob McNeely, the operator of a successful resort on the Oregon coast, bought the down-at-the-heels fishing camp with the intention of repeating his unique business model well away from the ocean. Hyatt Lake's factory-fabbed "cabins" are apparently, technically, in a legal sense, defined as trailers. Absolutely the most elaborate recreational vehicles you will ever see near the trail. This is the I-Can't-Believe-It's-A-Trailer trailer park. Poke around on the Web a little bit and you'll see that some of the neighbors weren't exactly charmed by this singular maneuver that allowed "cabins" in a space zoned for a campground. Is it a cabin or a trailer? That seems to have been adjudicated around 2012 and McNeely's "cabins" prevailed in court.

If you have two or three hikers the "cabins" represent a fine value, much better than any lodging deal you'd find in Ashland. One of these "cabins" split among four people would be extremely cheap. I never planned on staying there, but after two days of drenching non-stop rain Hyatt Lake was a welcome sight. In the remote chance that you find yourself at Hyatt Lake, by all means try the pizza. Highest recommendation.

For everything that's happened to Hyatt Lake in the last decade, one thing hasn't changed: The Hyatt Lake "store" is just convenience items for day trippers and fishermen. Do not do the roadwalk if you are expecting an actual store. You'll probably never need a stop at Hyatt Lake, but if it's day two of a three-day deluge and you have a tarptent, it's good to know it's there.

2000-2018 David Plotnikoff. All rights reserved.