Hike 69
The Mt. Hood National Forest
Shining Lake Hike
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Map of the Shining Lake Hike

Length: 9.4 mi RT
Elevation Change: 1511' gain
Season: Summer thru Fall
Difficulty:    Challenging
Permit: NW Forest Pass Required


 Click for PDF Topo Map of this Hike 

The hike to Shining Lake follows an old abandoned road that led to a fire lookout tower on Indian Ridge. The tower is no longer there, and the entire area is now with the new Roaring River Wilderness Area.

The hike begins at the Frazier Campground, which is just before the parking area and trailhead for the Rock Lakes Basin hikes. If you are not staying overnight, don't park in a fee place, but find an appropriate location and walk to the trailhead by following the abandoned roadbed. The area is well signed and like I said, most of this hike simply follows that old road.

As you hike along the road now turned trail, you will from time to time come to places where you can view the surrounding countryside. However, the vast majority of this hike, while on the old roadbed is within fairly dense forest. Still, you will discover wild flowers in season and can even encounter some of the local wildlife. After about four miles, you will come to an obvious junction on the road/trail. At this point follow the road/trail to the right which will bring you almost immediately to an old campground, complete with tables.

Look carefully to the east side of this area and you will see a trail. This is the trail you will take down to Shining Lake. It has not been well maintained, but now that this is a wilderness area and Shining Lake will probably be visited more frequently, the trail is likely to improve. Anyway, just follow the trail downhill through a series of switchbacks. You will catch occasional glimpses of the lake as you descend, and eventually the trail will bring to by what is obviously an area where people have camped.

Just leave the trail and walk toward the lake and you can now enjoy the splendor of this most excellent lake, tucked away in an obscure part of a new wilderness area. The trail that you were on does continue around the east side of the lake and from time to time you can approach the lake edge. But all in all the lake does not have great access. As you continue along the eastern side of the lake, you will come to the outlet, and if you cross this, you will come to another campsite area.

When I explored the area and photographed the lake, I choose to continue on and bushwhack my way up the north side of the lake and rejoin the trail at that campsite/picnic area where I began the trail descent to the lake.

I cannot recommend this part of the hike. Climbing up the north side of the lake for great photos is one thing, but trying to get back to the main trail/road from there is kinda a nightmare. There is no trail, and the brush is extremely dense and difficult. Therefore, I have labeled this section of the hike GPS ONLY. And I mean that for folks who actually have experience using their GPS.

However you choose to return, you must make your way back to the road/trail that you left earlier at the top of the ridge, and walk the road/trail back to your vehicle.

Shining Lake
How to get there:

 Click for PDF Directions Map of this Hike 

Follow Highway 224 out of Estacada for about 26 miles. Right after the bridge just beyond the Ripplebrook Station, bear left on Road 57 toward Timothy Lake At about seven and a half miles, turn left on Road 58 for almost seven miles. At the next junction bear left on Road 4610 for about a mile. Then turn left on a very primitive Road 240. Follow this very poor road for about four and a half miles and you will come to a sign indicating Frazier Campground on your right. Turn right and park where appropriate. Follow the abandoned road to the trailhead.

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