Trillium Lake Loop Trail, a place for quick reflection

Trillium Lake Loop Trail, a place for quick reflection

Location: Near Government Camp, ~40 miles southeast of Portland southeast via Highway 26

Distance: ~ 2 miles

Difficulty: Easy

History

This lovely little lake is a man-made gem formed by a dam at the headwaters of Mud Creek, tributary to the Salmon River in 1960. Local lore has it that the lake was created for President Roosevelt because he was so fond of lakes and would be able to see it when he visited Timberline Lodge. Nice story, but President Roosevelt dedicated the Timberline Lodge in 1937 and died in 1945. Anyway it’s a great spot for a reflection photo and  Timberline Lodge is a my top pick for a great spot a getaway.

The Trillium Lake Trail

The loop circles the lake via a series of pine needle paths that meander through a plentiful variety of trees with boardwalks that cross boggy marshland and a meadow via the boardwalks. Yes, you get all that and more  in under 2 easy miles.

As you can tell from my feature photo, this is a great spot to get that quintessential Mt. Hood postcard reflection shot.

Tip: In the summer, you’ll want to go early to avoid the crowds, or you may find yourself among SUP paddlers, canoers, boaters, inner tubers, kayakers, and people swimming and fishing – your reflection and solitude could be marred by the minions – but the beauty should provide some solace.

Looking for an idyllic hike that will take you away from the maddening crowds? Try Paradise Loop at Mount Hood.

Notes:

$ From May 15th – October 1st there’s a $5 day-use fee (Northwest Forest Passes don’t count. )

Winter fun: Apparently the roads around the lake are groomed for cross-country skiers.

There’s family-friendly camping adjacent to the lake too. (Hence the crowds.)

Dry Creek Falls hike, Cascade Locks, OR

Another trail misnomer as Dry Creek Falls are quite wet indeed and a quick, convenient and refreshing excursion.

The trailhead is near the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks, a city in Hood River County, Oregon. Cross the road and head for the signed Pacific Crest Winter Trailhead. When you reach Moody Street (~.1 mi), go under the freeway and veer right then straight onto the gravel road and left at the trail junction. (A bit anticlimatic to start, but you’ll be disappearing into the trees before long.) The PCT Dry Creek on a wooden bridge. Instead of crossing that bridge take a right and head up toward the falls, which is only .2 miles away. Head back on the trail the same way you came.

Take a leisurely stroll on the friendly trail or get your blood pumping with a quick, out and back trail run. Enjoy the woods, ferns and streams along the way. (Fall colors and wildflowers depending on the season.) If you work up a sweat, look forward to dousing yourself in the 75-foot waterfall that cascades over the colossal wall of columnar basalt. You may want to bring water shoes, the bottom is rocky and difficult to navigate in bare feet.

Below the falls you’ll notice remnants of an old water control structure that once provided water for the city. Dry Creek remains a municipal water source here. If you’re up for something longer, you can also explore the PCT where it crosses Dry Creek on that wooden bridge and then just head back  the same way you came.

 

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Distance round trip : 4.4 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Rating: Nice!

From Paradise Loop to a Slice of Heaven: Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, Oregon

I can be all about roughing it, but I do like to mix in a bit of luxury too (especially as a grand finale). After the hiking the Paradise Loop trail, I found a slice of  heaven at the historic Timberline Lodge.  Constructed of native timber and stone, the exquisitely crafted lodge was built during the depression era as part of the Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) program between 1936 and 1938. Read more

Mt. Hood, Oregon: Timberline / PCT Trail & Paradise Found

Got a late afternoon start so we set out for a quick, couple mile out and back on the Pacific Crest Trail (2000) also known as Timberline trail (600) behind the historic and grand Timberline Lodge. However, the Paradise Loop trail (757) marker about 4 miles in was too tempting to resist with its wildflower-sprinkled meadow and snow-crowned Mt. Hood in the distance.

Round trip distance : ~12 miles                 Elevation gain: ~2,300 feet            Scenery: Oh, my!

Rating: Difficult (Length  & areas of incline)     Terrain: Easy (Running shoe-friendly.)

Not that the first 4 miles wasn’t scenic too. Views of Mount Jefferson and the Three Sisters to the south accompany you along the way. And you pass several streams (waterfalls in other seasons), and impressive Zig Zag Canyon too.

 

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This was an all-around stunning hike and a great workout too. Exhilarating and breathtaking in every sense of the word. I’ve always wanted to take the Timberline Trail around the circumference of Mt. Hood. (It’s a 38.4 mile hike with 8k  elevation gain.) There are some ultra-runners who do it in a day. Most make a 3-5 day trip of it. There may be a return trip in my future. Will I be able to resist Paradise Loop next time? Probably not.

And now for a refreshing cocktail followed by a delectable feast and a luxurious night at my top pick Timberline Lodge.