Trillium Lake in early autumn is gorgeous, soothing, and incredibly peaceful. I was met with crisp air, clear blue skies, a calm lake and one of the most stunning views of Mt. Hood yet. The entire area was populated with just a few friendly fishermen (who were very eager and kind to take my photo), a couple out on the lake in a rowboat, and a family of three who were up there for a photo op. That was it. On the trail itself, I ran into absolutely no one. It my most peaceful Mt. Hood area hike yet.
After pulling into the Day Use area at the lake (and paying the requisite fee, which was $5 at my visit), you’ll immediately be hit with the grand view of Mt. Hood. As I was visiting in early autumn, the snow on Mt. Hood was rather sparse, so if you’re seeking a more fully snow-capped view of Mt. Hood, I imagine late winter/early spring is ideal. After snapping your fill of photos, you can begin the trail in either direction, and I chose to begin my hike by taking the trail to the left.
The trail terrain varies from packed dirt to gravel to boardwalk. While the trail itself goes around the lake fully, a large portion of the trail fully immerses itself in the forest, allowing you to enjoy plenty of pine trees and old growth. The boardwalk itself, as mentioned by many trail reviewers, has definitely seen better days. There are portions where boards have been broken or creak underneath you rather treacherously, but I definitely wasn’t worried or scared that at any point it wasn’t going to remain intact while I walked over it. It could definitely use a little repair and reinforcing.
Overall the Trillium Lake loop is just two miles over very even ground. It’s not an intense work out by any means, but if you’re looking for fresh air, a stunning view of Mt. Hood, and a peaceful place to go on a lakeside walk, this is for sure the spot.
In both my trailbooks and various websites there are no clear directions on how to arrive at Trillium Lake except for the road to take, so to get there, take US 26 from Portland, all the way to mile-marker 55.5. The turn-off for the trail will be on your right just past mile-marker 55.5.
Treks Down: 29, Treks to Go: 23