||July 27, 2003
||6.4 mile out-and-back
|| N: 45° 17' 50"
W: 121° 47' 31"
Mirror Lake Photos
To Reach (From
Take I-84 eastbound
to the 238th/Wood Village Exit. Turn right off the exit and head
south until reaching the intersection with State Highway 26. Turn
left onto the highway, and head all the way up to Mt. Hood. Just
shy of Government Camp, between mileposts 51 and 52, you'll see a turnout
on the right, probably packed with lots of cars and a few portable toilets.
Make sure you have a
Northwest Forest Pass to park at the trailhead.
This is an extremely
popular hike during the summer, and for good reason. The short,
3.2-mile round-trip to Mirror Lake offers swimming, camping, and great
views of Mt. Hood. The short, easy approach is suitable for children
and dogs. Mirror Lake isn't named for the clarity of the water,
that's for sure, but rather the reflection of towering Mt. Hood in the
water. The lake is used for swimming and camping, and is often inundated
by mosquitoes and biting flies, so bring your repellent!
The real treat
of the hike is what's in store for you if you climb an additional 700
feet in about 1.5 miles, up to the top of Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain,
just west of Ski Bowl Ski Area. The views are spectacular, with
your panoramic 360° view obstructed only by looming Mt. Hood. Mt.
Adams, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Jefferson are clearly visible
from the top, which is rocky and contains one campsite.
Start the hike
by exiting the highway, and crossing over Yocum Falls on a narrow footbridge,
and heading uphill into the forest. The trail is lined by wildflowers
in summer, making a beautiful setting. After 0.4 miles, you'll emerge
from the forest to get your first glimpse of Mt. Hood since the trailhead,
and get a good vista below as you traverse an open hillside. Upon
reaching a fork in the trail, stay to the right unless you want to hike
around Mirror Lake.
There are six
campsites around Mirror Lake, and you'd better make early dibs if you're
going to get one. You'll pass a couple of swimming beaches, and
get to another fork in the road, where you'll keep right to continue up
the trail, and head left to hike around the lake. You'll traverse
another open hillside, covered in wildflowers and huckleberries in late
summer, which offers nice views of the valley below. Follow the
trail up the rockpile to the summit at 4920'.
This is where
most people eat lunch, surrounded by cascading views of the mountains
and the Salmon-Huckleberry wilderness. Mirror Lake looks tiny below
you, as you pick out the Bergschrund Crevasse and Palmer Ski Lift on Mt.
Hood. This is as far as the trail goes, as the other two peaks are
closed off for peregrine falcon habitat. When you're done gasping
in awe, head back down the way you came for a dip in the lake and your
We went up to
Mt. Hood this day with our friends, Jeannie and Brian, and their Border
Collie, Pablo. We picked this hike because we liked the moderate
6.4-mile length, and Brian wanted somewhere he could take a dip on this
85° day. Pablo was full of energy, and raced up and down the
trail all afternoon, and did plenty of swimming in the lake.
The trail up
to Mirror Lake was pleasant, crossing a couple of creeks, and passing
lush foliage and wildflowers, giving a few glimpses of Mt. Hood.
We were surprised by the absence of poison oak on this trail, despite
its presence above and below us on the open hillsides. We were not
surprised by the abundance of biting flies, a given for alpine areas in
the summer months. Luckily, we had brought plenty of repellant.
We headed past
the lake, and up to the viewpoint, which surpassed anything we had expected.
The day was crystal clear, and the unobstructed view of five snowpeaks
and tiny Mirror Lake overshadowed by mammoth Mt. Hood was quite a sight.
We spent a fair amount of time at the top, gazing, and taking photos.
The trail was
pleasant, not too steep, but still decent exercise, and the gentle slope
was welcomed on the descent. On the return, Brian and Pablo went
for a swim, while the three of us looked on. Brian remarked that
the lake wasn't very clear, due to the muddy bottom, but that it was sure
We would highly
recommend this hike for anyone who enjoys moderate slope, moderate length
hikes, and panoramic views. We wouldn't advise doing this hike on
a bad-weather day, as it is very exposed, and can probably get hit pretty
hard on nasty days. Click on the link below to view our slide show!
Sights of the Mirror Lake Trail
|Camp Creek at the Trailhead
||Camping at Mirror Lake
|Mt. Hood From the Trail
||Mirror Lake From Tom, Dick, and Harry
||Chipmunks are Plentiful at the Top
of Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain
|Great Views of Mt. Jefferson
||A Great View of Mt. Hood over Mirror
SEE SLIDE SHOW NOW!!