Nestled in the mesmerizing wilderness of Oregon, Trillium Lake stands as a captivating destination that beckons outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. This picturesque lake, located approximately 7.5 miles (12.1 km) south-southwest of the majestic Mount Hood, one of the most beautiful mountains in Washington and Oregon, offers a serene retreat amidst stunning natural beauty.
Trillium Lake's significance extends beyond its scenic allure, as it holds historical ties to the Barlow Road, an integral part of the historic Oregon Trail. With its abundance of recreational activities and its awe-inspiring surroundings, Trillium Lake is a destination that holds endless possibilities for adventure and tranquility.
Trillium Lake: At a Glance
Location: Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon
Address: Trillium Lake, Oregon 97028
Nearest City: Government Camp, Oregon
Why Visit: Swimming, fishing, camping, and views of Mt. Hood
Permit/Parking Pass: Northwest Forest Pass
Trillium Lake Facts
Here are a few facts about Trillium Lake:
Mean depth: 7'
Surface elevation: 3,601'
Location and Accessibility
Situated within easy reach of major cities, Trillium Lake offers a convenient escape into nature for both locals and visitors. Located in the captivating state of Oregon, Trillium Lake lies in close proximity to Portland, making it an accessible destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway.
To reach Trillium Lake, you'll travel south-southwest from Mount Hood, where the lake finds its tranquil abode. Travelers can follow the well-paved roads that lead to this hidden gem, immersing themselves in the natural wonders of the surrounding landscape.
Trillium Lake is only a few miles from the small town of Government Camp and the famous Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mt. Hood.
Best Time to Visit Trillium Lake
The best time to visit Trillium Lake largely depends on your personal preferences and the activities you plan to engage in. Here's a breakdown of the different seasons and what they offer:
Spring (March to May)
Spring brings milder temperatures and blooming wildflowers, creating a vibrant and picturesque atmosphere around the lake. The snow begins to melt, resulting in higher water levels and more robust water flow. This is an excellent time for hiking and birdwatching.
Summer (June to August)
In summer, the lake becomes a popular spot for water activities such as swimming, boating, and fishing. The surrounding forests are lush and green, providing ample shade for picnics and camping. However, keep in mind that summer is also the peak tourist season, so the lake may be more crowded.
Fall (September to November)
Fall at Trillium Lake is also a breathtaking time as the surrounding foliage transforms into a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors. The weather starts to cool down, and the crowds thin out, creating a more peaceful atmosphere. It's an excellent time for hiking and photography.
Winter (December to February)
During winter, the lake often freezes over, creating a beautiful winter wonderland. This is the ideal time for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. However, be prepared for colder temperatures and check for road and trail conditions, as some routes may be closed or require special equipment.
Trillium Lake is a great place for snowshoeing in winter, as well.
To Do at Trillium Lake
Here are a few of the most popular things to do near Trillium Lake. Have some other ideas? Let us know in the comments.
Take Beautiful Photographs
Trillium Lake offers breathtaking views of Mount Hood reflected in the lake's calm waters, making it a popular spot for photography enthusiasts.
Capture sunrise or sunset shots, and don't forget to explore the surrounding nature for additional photo opportunities.
There are several hiking trails around Trillium Lake that allow you to explore the area's natural beauty.
The Trillium Lake Loop Trail: is a 2-mile easy hike that encircles the lake and provides stunning views along the way.
Eureka Peak Peak Trail: a 2.3-mile moderate trail just north of Trillium Lake. Along the way, you'll enjoy beautiful green foliage, wildflowers, and views of the surrounding hills.
Verda Lake Trail: a 2.5-mile trail that gains 900 feet of elevation near Government Camp. It's accessible throughout the year and has great views of Mt. Hood.
Dry Fir Trail: a 5-mile trail that gains 1,100 feet of elevation with views of Mt. Hood that's open to hikers and bikers.
Other nearby hikes include the McNeil Point Trail.
Have a Picnic
Trillium Lake has designated picnic areas where you can enjoy a meal while taking in the scenic views. Pack a picnic basket, find a cozy spot by the lake, and enjoy a relaxing outdoor meal with family or friends.
If you enjoy fishing, Trillium Lake is home to a variety of fish species, including rainbow trout. You can bring your fishing gear and try your luck from the shore or rent a boat and fish from the water. Make sure to check local fishing regulations and obtain the necessary permits before casting your line.
Rent a Kayak
Non-motorized boating is allowed on Trillium Lake, making it a great place for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. Bring your own watercraft or rent one from nearby rental facilities. Exploring the lake's calm waters while enjoying the view of Mount Hood, one of the best mountains to climb in Oregon, is a serene and memorable experience.
Camping Near Trillium Lake
There are more than a few great places to camp at and near Trillium Lake.
Trillium Lake Campground
The Trillium Lake Campground is a very popular campsite near the lake. It's quite large as well, offering great views of Mt. Hood. It's known as a family-friendly place to camp about 40 miles from Portland.
$26 for a single site
$52 for a double site
$100 for a yurt
$10 day use
Activities in the area include swimming, hiking, fishing, interpretive programs, camping, and more.
Still Creek Campground
31000 E Perry Vickers Rd, Government Camp, OR 97028
Another nearby campground is Still Creek Campground, north of the lake, just off Highway 26. It's one of the closest campgrounds to Mt. Hood, as well. There are 2 dozen sites for both RV and tent camping.
$26 standard single site
Activities include horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, camping, and fly fishing on Still Creek.
Devils Half Acre Campground
45.27376974 N, 121.679299 W
Devils Half Acre Campground is a small, less-often visited campground near Trillium Lake. It's just up Forest Service Road 3530.