“An easy/intermediate hike up to gorgeous Mirror Lake with incredible views of Mt. Hood.”
— Kathleen Walker
Fall Colors · Lake · Views
The trail to the lake is 4.6 miles round-trip which is doable for most older children.
Need to Know
The relocated trailhead on the west end of Mt. Hood Skibowl's Ski Area and Summer Adventure Park means that in the summertime, when the trailhead parking fills, parking may overflow into Skibowl's lot which means the trail and lake could be way overcrowded. Find another trail if this is the case. If you are visiting in winter, intending to snowshoe at Mirror Lake, the opposite can happen. Skibowl users arrive early for downhill skiing, and stay all day. So the new parking lot intended for these snowshoe users, will be out of full of downhill skiers from Skibowl. So early birds on snowshoes get the worm and the parking spot!
A trail park pass is required in summer (May 15-Oct. 1). A sno-park permit is required in winter (Nov 1-April 30). Mirror Lake can be snowed in till after Memorial Day, so call Zigzag Ranger District 503/622-3191 for snow levels.
Mirror Lake Trail and Trailhead were relocated in 2018. The trailhead is now at the west end of the Mt. Hood Skibowl Ski Area. The trails is about 1.4 miles longer round-trip than it was before. The hike around the lake is 4.6 miles round-trip. Hiking to Tom, Dick & Harry, makes it 8.3 miles round-trip. The new plaza has a restroom and interpretive signs. The first 1000 feet of the trail is paved and barrier free as it switchbacks down to a platform along Camp Creek.
From that point, the trail narrows and is dirt. Ten bridges were added to the new trail. After crossing Camp Creek, there are a series of six more bridges as the trail heads west, through thick forests of western red cedar, Douglas fir, and hemlock, before crossing a powerline corridor. At that point, the trail drops slightly to the northwest, switchbacks, and ties into the old Mirror Lake Trail.
The trail heads south, crossing the powerline again, before climbing two switchbacks and arriving at the lake. The most scenic loop around the lake is to stay to the right at the first intersection. Hike the west side of the lake, accessing the shoreline on the stairs and rock access points. The best views are at the southwest corner of the lake, but these are also the wettest sections, so please stay on trail and boardwalk. On clear, still days, you can get the namesake picture of Mt. Hood to the northeast. Skirt the spirea shrubs on the east side of the lake, before crossing the bridge over the lake's outlet creek and completing the loop.
Most hikers then return to their car, but for those wanting longer and steeper, retrace the west shoreline and stay to the right at the next intersection climbing up to Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain. The trail heads west, gradually, but steadily climbing, as it wraps around the northwest side of the mountain. The trail crosses a talus opening and the head of a drainage, before ducking back into the smaller true fir and mountain hemlock forest. The trail climbs up to the saddle that drops into Wind Creek basin. At this point, the trail heads east and really starts climbing along the ridgeline, before breaking out in the open, rocky outcroppings near the top.
The official trail ends at the first peak offering 360-degree views of the Portland-metro area, Mt. Hood, and Salmon-Huckleberry Wildernesses and majestic Mt. Hood. Some users scramble east to the next peak at the 5,000' level overlooking the upper parts of Mt. Hood Skibowl Ski Area.