Find solitude in a winter wonderland at this small lake in the central Oregon Cascades.

The trip to Midnight Lake is a great way to spend a winter day and explore an otherwise overlooked lake in the central Oregon Cascades. Although the lake does see winter visitors, it is often  empty and very few people bother to hike to the far end of the lake. The route to the lake is through beautiful fir forest and is often well-tracked. 

Start out at the Gold Lake Sno-Park, just west of the Willamette Pass ski resort (you'll need an Oregon Sno-Park permit, $25 annually). At the gate at the bottom of the road, put on your skis or snowshoes and follow the tracks and signs towards the Bechtel Shelter. After 1.1 miles, turn left following the signs towards Midnight Lake. The PCT is just ahead - turn right (south) and enter the Diamond Peak Wilderness. 

Continue on the PCT after passing a small lake on your right in about one mile. Midnight Lake will be on the left just up the hill, about 0.25 miles. The lake is not easily visible from the trail, so look for signs of past tracks leading down and to the left - the lake is only a few hundred feet away.

Although the lake itself lacks views of Diamond Peak, it is possible to get glimpses of the mountain through the trees on the PCT just beyond the lake. When you're done lounging at the lake (or ice fishing!), head back to the sno-park the same way you came. For those looking for an overnight trip, camping around the lake is possible or you can double back to the Bechtel or Westview shelters (first-come first-serve).

Pack List

  • Oregon Sno-Park Permit
  • Cross-country skis or snowshoes and waterproof/insulated boots
  • Poles
  • Extra layers
  • Day hiking essentials
  • Food
  • Water
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera
Show More
RT Distance 6.2 Miles
Elevation Gain 600 Feet
Activities Skiing, Snowshoeing
Skill Level Beginner
Season Winter
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Scenic

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