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Lost Lake Loop Hike

From Portland Hikers Field Guide

Evening reflection of Mount Hood at Lost Lake (Tom Kloster)
Footbridge near the lodge and general store (Tom Kloster)
The trailhead about 1000 feet West of the footbridge (Jeff Statt)
The sign says 3 miles, but it's a bit closer to 3 1/2
A boardwalk crosses cedar bog wetlands on the north shore of Lost Lake (Martell)
LostLakeTrail.jpg
  • Start point: Lost Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Lost Lake Trailhead
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 3.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 0 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Late Spring through Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Crowded: On weekends and in mid-summer

Contents

Hike Description

The scenic loop around Lost Lake is perhaps the best family hike for young children in this guide. The route is nearly level, there are numerous places to stop and poke feet or fingers into the lake and parents will enjoy the classic views of Mount Hood during the final mile. Better yet, there are excellent campsites at the lake, though in high demand during peak summer months.

From the parking area near the lodge, walk toward the lake to find the trail, and turn left on the trail in order to begin a clockwise loop. The route weaves among picnic sites and camp spots, and soon follows an extensive boardwalk system along the east shore of the lake, with periodic fishing piers that are accessible for disabled visitors. Throughout this section, the trail is flanked by massive old growth western red cedar, Douglas fir and hemlock.

At 1.2 miles, reach a junction with Huckleberry Mountain Trail #617, which climbs steeply for 2.5 miles to the Pacific Crest Trail as part of the Buck Peak Hike. There are several primitive campsites shortly up this trail which may be available when the regular campsites are full and are convenient to backpackers coming down from the Pacific Crest Trail. Continue along the main route (right), crossing a cedar bog on a boardwalk, and once again traveling along the lake shore, crossing a small scree slope, and then passing through deep forest. At 2.5 miles, reach a spectacular cedar bog, and cross Inlet Creek on another set of sturdy boardwalks.

PHOTO TIPS

You can take your own calendar worthy photo of Lost Lake by following one of the informal paths that drop down to the shore from this final section of the main trail. There, you will find the mountain framed in cedar boughs. The best light is in early morning and early evening, with sunrise and sunset as the most photogenic times to capture the scene. The best seasons are in early July and late October, when the mountain is partly covered with snow, and foliage is at its brightest. Read more about mountain photography.

Next, the trail reenters a dense forest of western red cedar, and soon the branches of these graceful conifers frame one of the most famous mountain views in the world, as Mount Hood emerges across the lake. For generations, scores of landscape photographers, including Oregon’s late Ray Atkeson, and have patiently staked out the shoreline here, in search of the perfect image.

After a brief walk through deep, oldgrowth forest, the trail forks, with the upper route climbing to a parking area, restrooms and fine viewpoint, and the lower route traversing along the lake past several lakeside viewpoints. Both routes meet where a pedestrian bridge crosses the outlet stream and camp store at 3.5 miles, completing the hike.

The best part of a hike with the family is finishing it with a reward of ice cream at the camp store. Here you can also rent a canoe or row boat for an hour or a day. You can tie your visit in with tent camping in the campground, or alternatively rent a cabin for the weekend. Campsites are first come, first serve and tend to fill up completely on summer weekends.

During the winter months the road to the resort is not cleared of snow. Expect to not be able to reach the lake from early November through late Spring.

Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

The lodge and cabins are run privately, but accept a Northwest Forest Pass in lieu of the $6 entrance fee.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Portland, by Paul Gerald

More Links

Page Contributors

Portland Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.