“A short backpacking loop trip or long day hike to Serene Lake in the Roaring River Wilderness.”
— Steve Jackson
Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife · Commonly Backpacked
Enjoy views of Mt. Hood, huckleberries, fishing, and a relatively quiet and less-crowded loop, especially during midweek.
This hike is a loop trip that starts and finishes at the Shellrock Lake Trail #700
trailhead. The trip starts with a short hike to Shellrock Lake, a lake just inside the Roaring River Wilderness. This would be a good beginning backpack trip for kids since the hike is short and the lake is beautiful.
Continue on past the lake and uphill to the Frazier Turnaround Trailhead. Follow the Serene Lake Trail #512
down to the Rock Lakes. There is a trail off to the left to the Upper and Middle Rock Lakes. Make sure you take this and see this nice little lake. It too would make a short beginning backpack trip for kids or beginners if you started at Frazier Turnaround.
Maps show this as the headwaters of the South Fork of the Roaring River, which we crossed. It was dry in early September, and, in fact, on this entire trip we did not encounter a single running stream or creek. There are lots of huckleberries/blueberries on this route and especially this part. We were able to pick a quart bag full for dessert.
Continue on uphill to Serene Lake. There are campsites on both sides of the lake. We opted for a very secluded off-trail site, not the ones that are right by the trail. This lake is pretty and, when we were there, quiet. We had the lake to ourselves for two nights, but judging by the number of large campfires and built up campsites, I imagine this could get busy on a summer weekend.
While there we saw osprey, heard owls, and tried fishing with no luck although I understand the lake does support Brook Trout. There are lots of crayfish, and we saw evidence of otter droppings on the rocks. The water is very clear and wasn't overly cold. We took a cross country route and climbed to a high rocky knob overlooking the lake on the south side. You'll need to scramble over boulders before climbing to the top. We got a nice overview of the lake from this vantage point.
When leaving Serene Lake, follow the trail to the south side and ascend up and around the ridge, continuing a moderate ascent through the forest. You'll switchback up to the intersection of the Grouse Point Trail #517
. Turn left and continue up top a plateau. There are a few trails to the left that will give you a view of the lake and Mt. Hood. It was the only place we got cell phone reception in case you want to check in. After the forested plateau, descend to Cache Meadow which was dry.
After the meadow, you begin uphill again, no switchbacks, for about a mile. The trail becomes part of an old forest service road and follows the ridge below Frazier Mountain. During this part of the hike, there are huckleberry bushes as far as you can see. You'll come to the Shellrock Lake Trail #700
intersection. Continue down to the trailhead.
Flora & Fauna
Huckleberry, alder, bear grass, evidence of bobcat and river otter, spotted owl, brook trout.