Tag Archives: Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake- Snowshoe (Winter 2019)

Directions: Take Highway 26 to Skibowl West where you will take an immediate right into the parking area once off the highway.

We hadn’t been to Mirror Lake in almost 5 years, mostly due to how crowded and crazy this hike gets, and we had definitely never snowshoed it. This hike recently got a much needed new trailhead with a larger parking area. It’s off to the right of Skibowl and has parking for roughly 50 vehicles. A couple weeks ago we decided to wake up early to beat the crowds to experience Mirror Lake in the snow!

From the parking area head past the bathroom and get on the trail. You will head down a few switchbacks and then come to the first of ten new bridges. After crossing all of the bridges you will start to gain more elevation. We’ve heard that there are new poles in place in certain areas to keep people from trail cutting. Everything was covered in feet of snow so we don’t know where this is but we hope it’s true- this poor trail was quite abused.

      

You will continue snowshoeing uphill and cross a small rock slide area, past this you will reach the long switchbacks that take you up to a trail junction. Go right on a narrow trail that heads down the the edge of the lake. You can go all the way around the lake and it will take you back to the junction where you head back out the way you came in. Obviously you don’t get the mirror effect with a frozen and snow covered lake but it was still pretty. Clouds had moved in and it was snowing for most of the trip, making views of the mountain pretty nonexistent.

      

Even getting here early didn’t really make much of a difference crowd wise. Just know that this place is very popular year round no matter what day of the week it is- pack your patience!

      

Distance: 4.5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 650 feet (moderate)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: Most- some may find the elevation to be a bit much.

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: SnoPark Pass required

Seasons: Depends on how the snow season is going. Check with the nearest ranger station for snow pack levels.

Popular: Very

Warnings: None

Summer Hikes

Looking for a nice summer hike? Here’s a list of some of our favorites 🙂

If you’re looking to stay in Portland and the surrounding cities check out Oak Island, Mt. Talbert, or Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. They are all easy hikes that have decent shade and lots of birds.

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We love hitting up all the great trails that the Mt. Hood area has to offer during the summer months. Tamanawas Falls and Umbrella Falls are great options if you are looking for a waterfall hike. For a lake hike check out Mirror Lake (and Tom, Dick, and Harry Ridge!), and Lower Twin Lake. Zigzag Canyon is also a really fun hike, go in mid to late June while the lupine is blooming!

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Some great summer Gorge hikes are Upper and Lower Latourell Falls, Gillette Lake, and Strawberry Island.

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Summer time is full of Kayaking as well, be sure to check out Scappoose Bay and Lost Lake!

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–Happy Hiking!

 

Mirror Lake (Winter)

Directions: The Mirror Lake Trailhead is located on the shoulder of Highway 26, two miles from Government Camp.

Starting up the trail you’ll soon come to a bridge crossing Mirror Creek, this hike was the fullest we’ve ever seen the creek. After the bridge you start the steady incline until you reach the lake. You’ll be gaining about 700 feet. The few views you get on the trail are a little better in the winter due to the trees without leaves.

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Once you reach the lake there is a short trail that loops around it giving you a good view of Mt. Hood and different areas to hangout and relax. However, it was pretty cloudy and we could only see the very tip of Mt. Hood. So that’s something to think about if you’re hiking in the winter. It was also pretty cold. The temperature when we left Portland was about 46 but when we reached the Lake it was a chilly 35 and it’s pretty exposed so it was breezy. This is an out and back hike, so head back the way you came.

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We’ve done this hike multiple times in the spring and summer and it’s ALWAYS packed full of people. That didn’t really change even though it’s mid-February. Everyone loves this hike, and for good reason, it’s beautiful year-round!

Distance: 3 miles

Elevation: 700 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: Most ages- The elevation may not be best for older folks and younger kids.

Bathrooms: Not during the winter months.

Parking Fee: Yes a $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: All. Check for snow during winter months.

Popular: Yes

Overall: Great hike and a lovely view of Mt. Hood (when it’s not cloudy).

Mirror Lake (Summer)

The Mirror Lake Trailhead is located on the shoulder of Highway 26, just two miles before Government Camp.

At the trailhead cross the footbridge over Camp Creek and immediately head into the woods. You will be gaining roughly 700 feet of elevation, it’s not terribly steep, just a moderate but steady climb to the lake. You will soon be crossing another footbridge that takes you over Mirror Creek. We’ve done this hike 3 or 4 times and this was the only time we have seen Mirror Creek completely dry.

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Keep hiking through the woods and you will eventually come to a rocky shale area. A short while later you will come to the first of 4 long switchbacks that take you up to the lake. After the switchbacks (at the one mile mark) you will come to a split in the trail. Going either way will take you to the lake. There are many places along the shore to sit, eat lunch, and enjoy the lake. To get back to your car, continue on another half mile around the lake and head back out the way you came. Make sure you stop at the South end of the lake where the boardwalk is, and take in the great view of Mt. Hood. Mirror Lake got it’s name from this very spot. The lake mirrors the mountain beautifully, making it a great picture taking opportunity. We did this hike on a particularly windy day, so we didn’t get the mirror effect, but every other time we have been able to see it.

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If you’re feeling up for a longer hike there is a side trail along the lake that takes you to Tom Dick and Harry Mountain. The view at the top is one of our favorite in Oregon. Check out our post about it here.

Distance: 3 miles

Elevation: 700 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes a portable toilet

Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: Spring through fall

Popular: Very

Overall: A nice hike to a pretty lake with a great view of Mt. Hood.