Trip Report: Timothy Lake Trail, Mt. Hood National Forest
Location: Timothy Lake
Mostly sunny with no clouds in sight, around 70 degrees. The shade provided by the tall trees prevented too much direct sun on the path.
13-mile hike around the entire lake. There is a very short 1/4-mile trail to Little Crater Lake in the area and the Pacific Crest Trail also runs through the Timothy Lake area.
Kid Friendly: Yes
Pet Friendly: Yes
Usefull links: www.fs.usda.gov
The Full Report:
Since many of the popular hikes in the Columbia River Gorge have been closed due to the devastating Eagle Creek Fire, I have made it my mission to go and explore many of the other beautiful hikes that Oregon has to offer. The lakes near Mt. Hood offer spectacular views and beautiful water. Timothy Lake is near Mt. Hood in Clackamas County, and the drive took about two hours from Southeast Portland — make sure to stop by Joe's Donut Shop and Mountain Mocha on the way to or from your trip!
We started our trip on the north end of the trail, near Little Crater Lake. There is a small gravel parking lot and parking is free. It's absolutely worth the short 1/4-mile trek to Little Crater Lake and taking a look (and it's a lot closer to Portland than the actual Crater Lake)! You can't swim in it, though, and you probably don't want to — the water is a chilly 34 degrees year-round.
After passing Little Crater Lake, there are a few hiking options in the area. You can hike the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs all the way from Canada to Mexico. You can also opt for a 13-mile loop around Timothy Lake, which is what we did.
The loop around Timothy Lake isn't too difficult itself; it's just a long hike. The elevation gain is only about 200 feet throughout the hike and the trail is relatively even. 13 miles can be tedious though, especially with children or pets, and you can still get the full beauty of the lake if you decide to go a few miles into the loop and head back.
Timothy Lake can get very busy during the summer, but when we went none of the schools were out and it was a Wednesday. We only ran into a few other hikers and when we swam in the lake, it seemed like there was no one else besides one boat on the water.
Who said that hikes with summits are the only ones with beautiful and rewarding views? The Timothy Lake hike is stunning and serene, with glistening water and towering trees constantly by your side. It was a great way to get outside and experience nature, and I definitely recommend taking a dip in the lake if you do this hike — the water is a bit chilly at first, but nothing beats a refreshing break from a hot day like a lake swim.