This 2.1 mile out-and-back hike with 700 foot elevation gain offers amazing views and reflections of Mt. Hood. There are also great opportunities for lake camping and easy access to the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness.

I was out doing the Ramona Falls hike, and I decided that I needed to find a lake that provided me with a great view of Mt Hood. My first stop was Trillium Lake, but with that being a “drive up” lake, there were tons of people. Tons of people only means one thing…turbulent waters! As I was driving to Trillium, I remember passing the Mirror Lake trailhead, and decided that I’d head back there to see what it was all about. As I was getting ready to head up, I saw a couple exiting the trailhead, and I asked them how it was. They said that the waters were very calm, and the view was amazing…they even gave me some good spots for pics. I love friendly people.

This Hike is is only about a 2 mile round trip, but you gain about 700’ elevation in that one mile of uphill…so it can be a bugger if your legs aren’t quite up to it. The first part of the hike is quite mild, just a gradual uphill. Almost the entire trail has dense tree cover, so it’s pretty dark with a lot of spotty light popping through the trees. About half way up, it’s switchback after switchback. At one point in the switchbacks, the trees clear out, and you get a really good valley view…Great for sunsets! Alright…soon after the switchbacks, you’ll see a sign that says “campgrounds —> Loop <—“ The campground direction will get you to the good viewpoints, sooner, but they will both end up in the same place. I highly recommend you do the loop. One of my favorite things, other than the amazing view of Mt Hood, is the little boardwalk. To me, it just looks really cool sitting in nature, and…it will lead you to the good photo spots.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera and gear
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Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Family Friendly
Lake
Scenic
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Swift Switchback Seem Speedy

It's definitely a nice hike. The earlier you go out, the better (int he summer anyhow). I hit the trailhead around 630a and had an amazing leisurely hike. Plenty of places to stop and rest if the switchbacks make you winded. Once you hit the top hang a right towards the campsites and you'll almost immediately be rewarded with a view of the lake. Definitely follow that train around and you'll find a little walkout that will blow your mind if you aren't expecting a giant mountain to come into view!

Lovely lake but very crowded

I went on a sunny Sunday and the lake was super crowded. While it's a short hike and lovely lake, I'd opt for a lesser visited lake to give the area a bit of a rest -- and for a bit more peace.

Worth the quick hike

We were lucky to hit this on a weekday early in the morning on our drive from Portland to Bend. Arrived at the trail head about 6:45 am, only a few spaces are available along the highway. There were a few cars but we pretty much had the trail to ourselves. Definitely follow the instructions above and take the loop around the lake, there are plenty of places to get glimpses of the mountain so keep your camera out. We ran into a lot of bugs, may want to pack the bug spray. The lake was calm and the reflections were great. By the time we arrived back at the trailhead at 8:30 the parking lot was full and many more people on the trail.


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