Explore the most popular camping trails in Mount Hood National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Beautiful, and scenic.
Love taking my dog here.

Best time of year to visit is in the winter! Hike in on the snow and get great views of Mount Hood.

New parking and trailhead now open. New route shows on the map. The new trail section looks like a new trail. But the bridges over Camp Creek and other stream are nice and within a couple years it should look great. Really nice to have more adequate parking and not having people walk along 26 to get to the trailhead.

on Riverside Trail

hiking
9 days ago

Steep but up and down. Beautiful foliage.

The best ever! We went early in the morning and were there by ourself for a few hours. It was blissful. Make sure to leave your glitter at home as the stupid hippies have left enough along the trail and trees.

Completed August 12-13 2018
Camped

Easy hike.

hiking
20 days ago

The trail is open but there are warning signs to be extra cautious due to the Sept fatal cougar attack. Mules carrying the search party made a mess of the once smooth trail with hoof sized holes.

hiking
20 days ago

Great easy hike to take guests. Easy trail to go in chacos or tennis shoes. This October has been more forgiving than most so it was a great day to go early.

This is a beautiful trail, very easy. I would only call it moderate due to length. We ended up hiking from Little Crater Lake to Timothy Lake and kept going, turning back once we got maybe 1/2 way around the Timothy Lake Loop. In all, once we got back to Little Crater Lake, we’d hiked ~14 miles. We encountered campers and a fair amount of people walking and running on the trail. It was fairly cold (and that was in early September).

backpacking
21 days ago

Great to backpack, but it's a little extreme to call this one "moderate" in difficulty.

People talk about a rough road and 4x4s only, when there's no real reason to take the 4x4 road. Start from Shellrock Lake, and it's a dead-easy 6mi of friendly, even trail with minimal (mayyybe 1500 ft) gain. As of fall 2018, there are very few sections with roots/tough footing/blow-downs. Unless you're (mentally) unstable or have a new 4Runner you want to try out, there's no reason whatsoever to shave-off 1.9 dead-easy miles by attempting a Gresham "truck nuts" approach. I drove to Shellrock in a 40 year-old German convertible and it was fine. Your 1999 Honda Civic with the huge muffler, ground effects, and the 4ft fin on the back? It fine. Trust me. I mean, no one likes it and--contrary to popular belief--that bass *will not* get you women, but your sick whip?? It'll do just fine, bra.

So let's rate the difficulty, as these reviews make this wonderfully peaceful, friendly, and mellow trail sound like trying to do Dog, Defiance, and Devil's Rest in the same day with a 60lb pack (and yup, that's called the TripleD: only really bored Mazamas, tweekers, and--for whatever reason--mechanical engineers like doing that.)

So if the PCT from Mexico to Canada is an 11 on the 1-10 scale of backpacking difficulty, and you were bored/silly enough to want backpack Defiance (9), then this is maybe a 3.5. Maybe. Mind you, on this scale walking to PSU from the Pearl with your Jansport full of books is a 1, and Mirror Lake with a tent, a bag, a sixer, and Cheetos (no Tom/Dick/Harry) is a 2.

The Serene Lake backpack is great, easy to drive to, and most any first-time backpacker could make it. If you stopped every 30 mins for rest, you'd be fine if you started before noon: it's only 6mi to the lake. Also, so many little baby lakes and mellow camp spots are peppered throughout this hike. Even if the 8 or so decent lake spots were taken, there are a ton more cool flat spots within a mile of the lake that'd be great if you just ported h20 in your Camelback.

Oh, and take the wonderful "long way out" heading west out of Serene Lake on the return and use the Grouse Point trail to then head back east. It adds another mile or two and maybe an additional 6-700ft of overall gain, but is equally mellow given enough time.

Anyway, loved this backpack. It'd be a go-to for taking first-time backpackers who wanted to do something that was quiet and friendly, but gave you that (priceless) feeling of being more than 10 miles away from a Plaid Pantry.

For a challenge, might be cool as a snowshoe.

5 stars. And I'll include a complete trail map from the Shellrock Lake start point in my profile photos with a title if that's of use to anyone.

Hiked this trail yesterday (Sunday). It was a beautiful hike! Lots of fall colors, saw a couple salmon, some amazing views.

Just be sure to have solid hiking shoes as it’s a pretty rocky trail in some parts. I could be hyper sensitive since I rolled my ankle earlier in the year, but if you went with just tennis shoes, you could really hurt yourself.

We started around 9:30 in the morning and saw only a couple people on the way up, lots more people on the way back.

Nice, well maintained and marked path. On the way in, the first 1.5 miles is up hill, and the next .5 mile is down hill. Great lake spot, with places to camp. Nice wide trail; two people and a dog can easily walk abreast. We went mid-October and it was excellent.
Also, October is the only month a pass isn't required by the forest service or ODOT.

This scenic trail is easily accessible (once you find parking!) and provides a very scenic hike. Fairly busy, keep dogs on leash, use proper trail etiquette.

Beautiful but busy. Trail is has some good spots, but more of a stroll for family.

Beautiful, easy walk with fall colors and blue skies. We took our time and just enjoyed the wildlife and friendly doggies and of course, great pictures too.

hiking
23 days ago

Harder side of easy. It’s 80% hills, though none are too steep or too far up or too far down. If you’re looking for a ‘flat’ kind of easy, (I was thinking for my mom with arthritis) this ain’t it. The trail is really well maintained, no dangerous areas. The trailhead sign is hard to see but easier to see coming from the south (campground).

We enjoyed our hike on a beautiful 65 degree, sunny day! On the way to Mirror Lake, the trail weaves through pine forest on a consistent incline, but the ground is a bit forgiving. There are tree roots and rocks to work around, but it is easily navigable. Don’t skip the hike around Mirror Lake, this is where you’ll get iconic views of Mount Hood. The hike down is relaxing. Enjoy the tranquility and the friendly hikers you’ll meet along the way!

The view of Mt. Hood over the lake is amazing. We parked near the boat ramp so we were able to get the view and pictures right away. Then we were able to hop on the trail loop there and went around the whole lake. Mostly shaded and surrounded by woods with the lake always close by except when we came across a closure and went around a mostly unmarked trail. Was a little confusing but by keeping the lake in sight and listening for other hikers it was easy to find our way back onto the main trail. About 1.5hrs at a leisurely pace.

Gorgeous hike that’s still accessible even in the snow! Lots of great pics and tons of tiger trout catches

Just completed yesterday. Started Monday from TL Lodge and went clockwise, as suggested. If I had do overs I would do CCW and end on easy, cruising trail rather than the sandpit climb back up to the lodge.
Water crossing were all easily done with dry feet except for the last one, White River, when done CW. I easily forded that one. Rock hopping possible, I'm sure, if you are willing to scout up and down the river a ways. I determined the ford the safest and fastest way and it felt refreshing on my worn feet.
Trail conditions are great. Water sources plentiful even with many dried out for the season. Completed in 2.5 days. 40's at night. Cool in the mornings but hot in the afternoons. Pack appropriately for 3 seasons and get out there and do it while the window is still open. From what I hear, this is atypical for this time of year. Glad I was able to sneak it in!

I've done this hike several times. Easy enough for everyone, but still a fun accomplishment. Beautiful view, woods, lake, and wildflowers. That view of Mother Hood is to die for

easy hike, gorgeous views at the lake. our dogs loved it too.

hiking
27 days ago

So calm,so cozy

backpacking
29 days ago

Hiked this trail over this gorgeous weekend in October. Quite a few day hikers up to the viewpoint. No one after that. We stayed at Goat Creek with one other group. Took a day hike the next day well past the Kinzel Lake trail connection. Found MANY piles of semi-fresh cat scat on the trail. Also found evidence of bear activity and a paw print. Definitely had "that feeling" of being watched/followed for much of this part of the trial (from about mile 5.5-8 or so). We made lots of noise. On the way back to camp found a very fresh cat print in the trail. Made more noise :). Stay in groups (please) if you hike past Goat Creek. There definitely is wildlife in abundance past that point.

hiking
29 days ago

Fantastic fall hike! It was a huffer and puffer, but all the views are worth it. Viewed not only Mt. Hood, but Mt Adams, Mt Rainer and Mt Saint Helens. This is a very diverse hike with fields of psentemon seeding in the breeze, burns from who knows when, tallis slides, huckleberries, frosted meadows and more. Like the former review says, McNiel point would be worth the few extra miles. My legs and bum are feeling the burn today. A top notch hike.

So beautiful, definitely worth it to go on to the Tom Dick & Harry trail once you loop the lake!

Honestly, it's neat if you're nearby already but I found it pretty underwhelming. Beautiful colors but the trail is very short and it's hard to get a good view of the lake. Maybe it was just too crowded for me, but I wouldn't do it again. Go to Tamolitch Blue Pool instead!

PS - it was also a big bummer you can't get in the lake. I understand it would stir up the mud and be a drag for others, but it's still a body of water you cant get in and thats a bummer.

Really nice view of Mt Hood over the lake but a large portion of the trail is closed. People have created a bit of another route off trail but it's not very clear.

This trail is beautiful especially in the fall. I did the hike alone but i don’t recommend that. A few dangers to keep in mind: the fog can roll in quickly and you can lose visibility. I hiked it September 28- October 2 2018. I was 1 mile from the lodge and the fog rolled in and i lost the trail. Pretty much where the hiker that just died was found a week later. It was scary but i had a beacon in case of emergency. I ended up by palmer lift up on the glacier. It was very scary. I got lucky and the fog cleared for a second and i saw the palmer lift and then it disappeared again. I started to head that direction and back down hill when i got a brief glimpse of the lodge and then it also disappeared again. I was lucky i was in a ravine that went straight to the lodge. I was stuck up there for 6 hrs before i found my way back. I almost used my beacon but grateful i didn’t have to. I totally recommend the hike you just need to be prepared for anything. I plan to go back and see where i went wrong. I also am advocating for a sign to be added where that turn off is. Multiple hikers have gotten lost there. Good luck it was absolutely breathtaking and i feel like a badass fir completing the hike solo. Yeah me!!

Load More