Explore the most popular lake trails near Estacada with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Ultra short but gorgeous deep blue spring fed pond. Once in a lifetime view. Took the Timothy lake/PCT section trail further to some heavily wooded hiking arriving at the large Timothy lake. Short, easy, flat hike.

backpacking
1 month ago

This hike is about 13-15 miles around the lake, no significant elevation worth noting and very easy terrain! We hiked around the lake from Little Crater Lake and set up camp at Meditation Point. It was really beautiful and a nice view of the lake! Next time we will definitely take a fishing pole. The next morning we hiked the rest of the way around the lake. Note: Park rangers do come by tent sites (even hike-in sites) to check everyone is following the rules. Trails are maintained well, tent sites were clean and hike-in camp sites are first come first serve but during this weekend we had plenty to choose from!

We passed Little Crater Lake on our way to hike around Timothy Lake. The rating is correct in that the trail is easy - anyone should be able to walk it! The lake is "little" yet deep & beautiful. If you are in the area take a minute to check it out but I wouldn't make a drive out to the Mt. Hood Forest Area just to visit it.

We spent a weekend at the Northern portion of Timothy lake, and hiked there to Little Crater Lake. The hike was wonderful. My grandma in her 70s (I believe) was able to manage the hike (though she's spunky) as well as my 5 year old. We had a good size group and everyone was able to enjoy the hike. Little Crater Lake is a pretty cool phenomenon to see.

I hiked this today after cycling all the way up from estacada- great workout if crowds bum you out this place is for you not another person anywhere!

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike! super beautiful with all the fallen trees!

hiking
5 months ago

Spent a long weekend camping here, fantastic views and great small trail for kids and dogs. Connects to PCT for longer distances

great trail easy to moderate for mtb, just watch out for stupid hikers without paying attention to themselves or to their dogs

hiking
10 months ago

Went on a Monday in late July. Only one there. Lake was very serene.

Would not consider this a hike. Short walk back to the lake from the Campground. Beautiful color. Sign for no swimming but saw a guy jump in when we were there. Near Timothy lake and part of pacific crest trail

Beautiful little mountain lake. We just did the 12-mile loop from the trailhead below Shellrock Lake. There are some tough climbs but the Friday night we spent there was great. Looked like it was getting crowded when we left Saturday afternoon.

camping
10 months ago

Beautiful lake. very easy hike, but they're adamant about keeping your dog on a leash.

Road is closed at Hwy 224 on Estacada side. Closed at bridge due to the fire we had in September 2014. You can park at the bridge and hike up the paved Road, but it would be a long way to the trail head.

hiking
11 months ago

This is a super easy walk to an incredible sight. Little Crater Lake is a 45' deep lake fed by an underground spring. The water is crystal clear, all the way to the bottom. It's a bit eery to stare all the way down to the bottom of this deep little lake and see fallen trees sitting on the lake floor. The water is very cold! My kids and I had a great picnic here and dipping our toes in the water on a hot July day. Beautiful wildflowers and not too many people.

hiking
11 months ago

Great for a day outing. Easy water along the trail. Wasn't busy when I went. Gorgeous views of the lake and plenty of opportunities to put your feet in.

backpacking
11 months ago

Did this trail as part of a trip this weekend. Road in was in excellent condition. Trail was in good shape - some overgrowth and trees down but easily passable. Lots of wildflowers in bloom. Mosquitos are definitely a consideration! Spend the time to hike up for the stunning view from the fire lookout. Strong LTE cell signal if you're in the mood.

We stayed 2 lovely nights at Pansy Lake. Trail 549 down to Pansy Lake from 550 was rough but fine. Trails 558 and 551 between the lookout and Pansy Basin were in great shape.

Off trail 554, trail 555 Dickey Creek Trail toward Big Slide Lake was totally snowed over - though that was by far the most snow we encountered. Where trail 557 cuts off from 554 and goes down to Welcome Lakes seemed to be abandoned subsequent to what looked like a forest fire from a few years back?

backpacking
Monday, May 29, 2017

Crowded, but beautiful.

backpacking
Monday, May 29, 2017

Very short but beautiful. Good connector trail to PCT and Timothy Lake loop

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Quiet with spectacular views. Not much traffic during the week. One of my favorite.

backpacking
Sunday, August 14, 2016

Went on a Friday in mid August and there were 5 parties at the lake. Left on Saturday and passed 10 parties coming in. If you want quiet, avoid the weekends.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

short and sweet for the beautiful Lake♡
Much more beyond that and all flat for those who want a easy day♡

trail running
Friday, May 27, 2016

Great mellow trail run. Mostly single track with little elevation.

Any day in the woods is good and the lake is awesome with cool views, but the trail is difficult to get to (long drive on logging road) and not sure it's worth the effort for the short hike

hiking
Thursday, December 03, 2015

Short hike, nice lake view- old growth forest. Parking area leave a bit to be desire with loads of bullet shells, garbage and old party spots.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Very long trek on a straight path down to the lake, then quite a few switchbacks DOWN to the lake , so prepare yourself for some huffing and puffing back up. Pretty place.

hiking
Sunday, October 18, 2015

The trail itself is pretty easy, and quite enjoyable. It's really short but there's lots of stuff to look at on the way depending on the time of year; I went mid fall and there were tons of different mushrooms and Oregon newts all over the place. I can't wait to go back in the spring to see all the rhododendron blooming. The little lake was very secluded and peaceful and had a nice time. If you don't feel like you're in Skyrim, you're not paying attention! (No dragons though.) Everything was misty as it was raining lightly so visibility was poor but it was nice to get out! The real trick here is the road up: make sure to bring some sort of map with all the little trails otherwise it's really easy to get lost and you likely won't get service.

hiking
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

I love this place! We usually start out at Little Crater Lake and hike the PCT over to Timothy Lake. Really a great hike, beautiful trail and the scenery is awesome.

on Serene Lake Trail

camping
Sunday, August 30, 2015

The only reason I give two stars is because of the beautiful lake. All the sites and books I checked out before this trip said it is not a crowded hike. True enough we only passed two people on the trails but the lakes were so packed I don't think everyone who hiked up found a campsite and their were lots around the lake. When I go backpacking I prefer it not be as busy as the local strip mall. Very disappointed! The books and websites need updating.

camping
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The most mixed review imaginable. I've been here a few times now and feel I know the area well. Serene Lake really lives up to it's name... when you have it to yourself. But Sadly the word got out and that's never the case now. I went up this past weekend and had the same experience I have had the last three times there.

It starts with a TERRIBLE drive down a road that is barely passable by anything but jeeps and lifted vehicles. To put it in perspective despite cautious driving that took over an hour to go 3 miles I still bottomed out my Traiblazer twice, and put a partial rip in one tire (thankfully it held until we got out, no idea how you would get help if you needed it). When we finally arrived at Frazier Turnaround at about 11:30 it was literally already full! If you haven't been here before this is a special problem as the road in is barely wide enough to fit one vehicle so there's no real place to park on the side somewhere or turn around and drive out for fear of running in to someone driving in, in which case one vehicle may have to drive backwards up the trail up to a mile just to get to a pulloff! Luckily a group getting ready to hike noticed and offered to give us there parking spot and have them park us in since they weren't camping.

The hike itself is good, steep at times but manageable by anybody in decent shape. Definitely hit each of the lakes as they are all beautiful, signage is surprisingly pretty good so you won't have to worry about getting lost much. There's a few campsites but the best are all at Serene Lake anyway so just stop for lunch and then continue on your way.

When we got close to Serene Lake finally we could already hear music blaring and instantly made me rethink the entire trip. When we finally got to the lake we found where all the people from the cars were. Literally every campsite was taken and most already had people doubling up to try and accommodate everyone. On the bright side most people are willing to share if you ask nicely. Of course then there are the two groups at the far end of the lake with speakers BLASTING club music so lopud you could hear it everywhere in the area. Keep in mind I'm 27, live in downtown Portland and am by no means an old cranky fart, but Serene Lakes charm comes from it being hidden in the woods, all it takes is one camp of (I kid you not) 13 18-24 year olds with no respect for the rest of the people to ruin what would otherwise be a surreal experience.

The lake itself is the most pristine body of water you can imagine. The bluest water, huge underwater trees and boulders you can easily see and lined with boulders and Firs. It's also home to a group of beautiful Brook trout. If you are planning on fishing however I should note that the largest fish in the lake is probably about 8 inches. They also tend to hole in the middle of the lake so fishing from shore will likely land you 2 or 3 fish in an entire day. There's rumors and old locals who say it used to be home to larger Brooks but those days are long past.

All in all it is a lake that should be seen and in years past a backing must. But now my suggestion if you want to Serene lake do the following:

Park at Shellrock Lake Trailhead and take the longer hike in. Frazier Turnaround is by far the sketchiest thing I have ever done in a car and with limited parking there's a chance you may get in and be stuck turning around and driving back up the trail an hour without even getting to get out! If you want to camp get there EARLY, grab the first site you see and then take a bag with you and circle the lake to see if there's a different site you want. I have watched multiple people pass on the first few sites to circle the lake and have everything be taken by the time they came full circle. Also, even if it's 900 degrees it gets COOOLLLDDD at night well in to the 40s even on the warmest days, be prepared. If you are comfortable with a long hike though, make a day of it and just take the hike in and back out to avoid fighting for campsites and dealing with boomboxes blasting at 2 am.

The road to the trail is currently closed due to fire damage. I found another way around coming from the other side (all you need is a map to find it). The road coming from the other way is very long and full of potholes so be prepared! it's a beautiful hike with giant trees and tons of birds.. I even saw roosters! The lake wasn't as nice as if hoped. It's brownish green and kinda gross. I also didn't see any salamanders :( but the view at the top of south fork is gorgeous!!! Through the trees you can see many mountain tops and it's just breathtaking! The hike is a little strenuous, especially the second part up to south fork but it's totally worth it! I also didn't run into a single person on the entire hike.

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