Timothy Lake Hike
From Portland Hikers Field Guide
- Start point: Timothy Lake Dam
- End point: Timothy Lake Dam
- Trail log: Timothy Lake/Log
- Hike Type: Loop
- Distance: 11.6 miles
- Elevation gain: 200 feet
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Seasons: May through November
- Family Friendly: Yes
- Backpackable: Yes
- Crowded: Busy during summer and weekends
The Timothy Lake Hike is a moderate length, relatively level hike around Timothy Lake, a reservoir for providing water during the summer for PGE dams on the Cackamas River and drinking water for the Portland area.
On the South side of the lake are several campgrounds that fill up on summer weekends so this is definitely not a wilderness hike. On the North side it is more wild. There are a lot of boats on the lake, but speeds are limited to 10 MPH. The lake is formed by a dam on the Southwest corner of the lake.
Horses are allowed on this trail. There are horse bypass trails around the campgrounds to keep horses out of the campgrounds. Bicycles are allowed on everything but the PCT section, but there is some way to bypass this. The PCT section is fairly short, and there aren't too many people, so some people ride their bicycles on it anyway.
This hike is arbitrarily defined as starting at the dam and going counter-clockwise but you could start at many points.
A good option is to camp at one of the campgrounds and do the hike as a day hike. The campgrounds are Pine Point, Hood View, Gone Creek, and Oak Fork. Nearby are Clackamas Lake, Joe Graham (horse camp), and Little Crater Lake. There is another primitive campground on the North side. These campgrounds usually fill up on summer weekends. The nearby campgrounds are less likely to fill up. You can make reservations at recreation.gov.
The entire hike is within 100 feet of 3300 feet elevation. There is only about 200 feet of total elevation gain on the hike. At 3300 feet in the Cascades, there is a lot of snow here in the winter. Maybe the snow will melt off by Memorial Day at the end of May. The snows will return, usually, in November.
The hike starts at the dam and goes East along the lake. On the South side, there are places where the trail is difficult to find and it's easier to just walk through campgrounds. At mile 0.2 is Pine Point Campground. At mile 0.6 is Hood View Campground. At mile 2.2 is Gone Creek Campground. At mile 2.5 is Oak Fork Campground.
At Oak Fork Campground, a trail goes Southwest from the lake to Clackamas Lake Campground, a historic cabin, and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). You have to go a short ways away from the lake on the entrance road to the campground to get to this trail.
At mile 3.3 the hike crosses the Oak Fork of the Clackamas River on a small bridge, and joins the PCT. On the East side of the lake, the hike is on the PCT. The PCT also goes South, away from the lake, to Joe Graham Camground and Clackamas Lake Campground.
As you walk along the PCT, there are a number of good camping spots if you want to do a backpack. This is a long section of the hike away from any roads.
At mile 6.8 the hike leaves the PCT which goes away from the lake North towards Mount Hood. There is also a short side trail (0.1 mile) to Little Crater Lake and Little Crater Lake Campground. This is a nice side trip through a scenic meadow, but watch out for mosquitoes.
Staying on the trail next to the lake, at mile 8.5 is North Arm, a primitive campground on a gravel road. From here, is a long section away from any roads.
At mile 10.3 is the junction with the trail on Meditation Point. There are a number of popular boating campsites in this area. You could also hike in and camp in this area.
At mile 11.6 you're back where you started at the dam.
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Guidebooks that cover this hike
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