Gorgeous hike around an amazing "clear" lake! We clocked it at 7.2 (easy) miles, not 5. We had 5 kids with us, ages 3 1/2, to 10 years old and they all did great.

We only hiked from the beginning trailhead over to Clear Lake and had a snack at the resort and then back... a total of 4.5 miles but the hike was wonderful! Large old growth trees, a few wildflowers here and there, and of course Clear Lake is breathtaking. The McKenzie River Trail hit s a "T" and we took the Clear Lake trail over to the resort area. Definitely friendly for kids & dogs (on leash of course). We hiked with a 7 & 13 year old, and our little 7 y.o. was a bit tired by the end. The trail is an easy hike, clearly marked and well maintained. We will definitely be back to hike around the lake on the McKenzie River Trail portion. We encountered several people but it was a Sunday so to be expected. Would recommend going on a weekday?

beautiful! my favorite lake

hiking
29 days ago

I must have made a mistake somewhere, because my phone tracked me at over 7 miles doing this hike! Started at the resort and went down to where the bridge goes left and then on the side with the lava rocks and all the way around. It was a sunny day until we got caught in a hailstorm for about 5 minutes. So cool! You see forest, a BLUE BEYOND BLUE cove, lava rocks, and more. The variation in scenery was incredible. But I wasn't prepared to go that long...did I make a wrong turn?

This isn't a hike for those in search of amazing views along the trail. You will be in the forest for the duration of the hike until reaching the lakes. The lakes are awesome and well worth the hike. This hike does allow for the option of adding 2.6 miles to summit Scott Mountain. This will give you amazing views of the Cascades. I did this hike in mid June and didn't run into any other hikers. There is still a bit of snow, but its melting pretty quick.

on Clear Lake Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Super pretty scenery! A little under 5 mile trail loop - completed in 2 hours at a steady pace with plenty of water and picture breaks. Part of the trail goes through lava beds (some crushed lava) so walking with small kids or a dog might be tough, although we saw lots of dogs. The trail is well maintained. No motorized boats on the lake. Entertaining to watch people fishing, canoeing, and kayaking from the trail. Very peaceful.

hiking
1 month ago

Easy and peaceful hike.

hiking
3 months ago

The snow was almost knee deep in some places, but our waterproof boots kept us dry. We started at the store and headed West through the picnic area. The views are gorgeous, we saw all kinds of birds. There’s a point several hours in where you could almost throw a pebble and hit the store, so you might think your hike is winding down. The trail continues way past the East end of the Lake with an incredible river bridge and a blue pool. Take plenty of snacks and water. We can’t wait to come back in the summer for a whole new experience.

5 months ago

Nice walk around the lake. Mellow enough to take it as a stroll. Friend and I went in mid-January on a clear blue sky day. Though we started the hike at 1pm we could still admire the crystal clear water, finished around 4:30. Can't wait to go back again and admire it on a bright summer day!

I went back in July and it’s a good hike! Not shaded though for half of it. By the end of it we had gotten a little tired of almost the same view. Can get busy when there’s good weather.

hiking
9 months ago

The fall colors are here, along with tiny bits of snow. Very pretty walk around the lake - we took the whole family, and we haven't hiked for quite awhile. Taking our sweet time and stopping for lots of pictures, it took about 3.5 hours to finish the loop. The lava fields are a little more difficult to maneuver - there's some bits with paved path, mostly it's rocks you're walking on) but there isn't much of the trail with the lava fields. Mostly nice forest trails throughout. Would have loved to take a boat on the lake, get a closer look at the underwater forest - but the hike was gorgeous.

hiking
11 months ago

Lovely easier trail with views of lake and over lava beds as well as through forested trails.

trail running
11 months ago

Gorgeous, but challenging for a run in the summer. I went on a 90 degree afternoon and found the asphalt lava rock portions to be sheer drudgery. Not too crowded on a Monday morning. Couldn't find where the map said the trail forks off into the McKenzie trail, but that's probably on me.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The lake is beautiful but the trail is not for mountain bikes. The portion that is the Clear lake trail is gentle and easy but the middle is the McKenzie trail and found ourselves caring our bikes

hiking
Saturday, June 24, 2017

varied type of trail - from paved to volcanic to a peaceful forest hike. I enjoyed it . The scenery is beautiful and it didn't seem heavily traveled.

hiking
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Once again right after you park the fall is right there!

hiking
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Great hike. Pretty easy, some rocky areas but nothing bad. Very pretty hike.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Kid and dog friendly trail. Beautiful blue water.

hiking
Sunday, May 28, 2017

Great trail. Very well maintained. loved the underwater forest.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Easy hike that is great for the dogs and family. We went May 13th and there was some snow on the trail. Beautiful mix of blue water, the "Great Spring", lava rock, and wildlife.

hiking
Saturday, October 22, 2016

Great workout and beautiful views after beautiful views.

trail running
Tuesday, October 18, 2016

went on a very rainy day so the lake didn't have the same awesomeness as on a nice one.

hiking
Sunday, October 16, 2016

Love this hike. Great for distance and scenery. Do it on a week day lot less people. I personally would recommend it for dogs because one end is lava rock. Trails easy to follow the road is on a small
Part of it but it's wooded enough to not ruin the lake view.

on Clear Lake Trail

Monday, September 19, 2016

I hiked the eastern portion of this trail while hiking down to Tamolitch pool, making this part of a 2 day backpacking trip. We camped near Tamolitch pool and the Clear Lake trail was at the very beginning and end of our hike, which was great! The paved path through the volcanic flows is wild to look at.

hiking
Saturday, August 20, 2016

We like to start at Clear Lake Resort and hike North around the lake. Easy hike most of the way. You will hike thru an old lave flow on the East side of the lake. Some loose lava rock and can get very hot in the summer. Bring your water bottle. Beautiful views of the Three Sister's. And the lake's color is amazing. A nice bridge takes you over the start of the McKenzie river on the south end. Plan about 2.15 hours for this hike.

This being a point-to-point hike, I negotiated with my wife to drop me off at the South point (just West of the Dee Wright observatory) at 7:30 AM and pick me up at the other end mid-afternoon (ended up being shortly before 5PM). Of course, this is only if you want to do this as a day-hike.

I wish I had made this hike before the fires burned most of the forested area around Mt Washington. I may have given the trail 5 stars. As it stands, the trail goes through large swaths of burned forest looking like a sea of blanched tree trunks and charred limbs; some will find this scenery very off putting.

The first 2.5 miles go throw a thick and wide lava flow, climbing up to a saddle with LIttle Belknap just a short .2 miles to the East (I find taking that short side trip a definite must). The "summit" of Little Belknap is reached very quickly, uncovering sweeping views to the North, East and South. Nice spot for a quick snack and first rest stop.

The two miles, after an easy and mostly flat section of alpine meadows, descends gradually to the foot of Mt Washington to go around the Eastern tip of another solid lava flow. I find that descent to be the most taking portion of the trail; it is a jumbled mix of lava rocks, roots very uneven terrain and burned forest landscape. Constant attention to footing and ankle-busting terrain made me very happy to reach the left turn signaling the tip of the lava flow and the beginning of the uphill around the West side of Mt Washington. With the trickiness of the descent, it is easy to forget looking around and especially North; it's worth stopping a few seconds and enjoying some of the best views of Washington. The rebirth of the burned out area also offers some extremely vivid/colorful vegetation and flowers.

The ascent on the Sourthwest side of the mountain makes it all but impossible to see the volcano at all. There are, however, beautiful views back toward Belknap Crater and LIttle Belknap as well at to the West towards the South Willamette Valley. That portion of the trail is move "traditional" (no lava!) and provides much relief to ankles and knees.

A bit before the mid-point (about 7miles), the trail finally reaches a shaded area that is perfect for a lunch break and the administration of much needed TLC to sore feet. No water though during this hot Aug day. The trail continues to circle Mt Washington, with beautiful views up the mountain from a couple meadows on the West side. When walking Northbound as I did, it is worth stopping to turn around one is a while as views of the top will be at your back.

The last five miles do not present much challenge (other than the fact that the boots odometer marks already 12 miles at the onset). The trail first descends to the East of Big Lake (no easy/short access to the lake for the PCT itself) before reaching the plateau to the East of the Hoodoo Ski area where it crosses several dirt roads and other trails servicing the many lakes around. At various points in this last stretch, the trail offers views of Three Fingers Jack to the North.

Shortly after crossing NF 860 (around the 15.5 miles mark), the trail does go right by a smaller lake (rest, refresh, filter water...). Finally, the trail ascends lightly toward the Santiam Hwy (OR 126, US 20). Better watch out carefully left and right as you cross the lanes! From there, it is short .25 miles to the PCT parking lot.

hiking
Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Just did the Blue Pool section which is a 2 mile hike in from the blue pool trail head.

mountain biking
Monday, April 14, 2014

totally love this trail. got back just in time to pack up the bikes! lots of climbs and pretty techy.. must start early! blue pool chilled the brewskis pretty darn fast!

mountain biking
Monday, January 20, 2014

Such a great mountain biking experience. I went during Memorial Weekend and it was pretty busy, duh. It was challenging but worth it. The best part was coming across crystal clear Tamolitch Blue Pool. One of these days I'm going to jump in.

I did see a rider go down pretty hard and cut their leg on some rock. Bring a first aid kit and tire repair kit.

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