Hike 75
The Mt. Hood National Forest
Timothy Lake Loop Hike
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Map of the Timothy Lake Loop Hike

Length: 13 mi Loop
Elevation Change: 200' gain
Season: Summer thru Fall
Difficulty:    Challenging
Permit: NW Forest Pass Required


 Click for PDF Topo Map of this Hike 

Just like Trillium Lake, the perimeter of this lake obviously can be hiked either clockwise or counterclockwise. Now, due to the length of this hike, I would recommend hiking the loop counterclockwise. That way the sun will most likely be behind you. For those of you who use a polarizing filter on your camera, the angle of the sun will matter.

My friend began the hike at the southeastern corner of the lake at the Oak Fork campground boat launch. The trail runs right through the area, and is well signed. Just head east and soon you will cross a bridge over Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas River, then meet up with the Pacific Crest Trail. You will walk the PCT along the eastern lake shore for the next few miles until you cross another bridge which takes you over Crater Creek as it runs into Timothy Lake.

After you cross over the bridge, the trail junctions. The PCT continues on north, but you need to take the sharp left turn and continue your journey around the lake. You will cross other bridges and swampy areas, but eventually you will come out to an area that you can actually drive to. Here is where North Arm Campground is located. Just follow the trail on through the area and it continues to lead you around the lake. This area passes through what we call open range, and it is entirely possible that you will encounter some free ranging cattle.

In a couple of more miles you will come to another junction. This is the spur trail that will take you out on Meditation Point. It is well worth the extra minutes to walk out on this narrow peninsula and enjoy the extraordinary views of Timothy Lake. There are also restroom facilities here, and picnic benches.... a great place to R & R before continuing on your journey around the lake.

After returning to the main trail, it is another couple of miles to the west side trailhead. From here you will simply walk the road, cross over the dam, and then find the trail on the east end of the dam. At this point you have about two and a half miles to walk in order to reach the place where you began. Nearly all of this part of the hike is close to the lake shore and offers ever increasingly beautiful scenery. I say that because in about a mile you will begin to see Mt. Hood to the north-northwest. There will be a window of opportunity right in the middle of this section to get great photos of Mt. Hood. As you complete your adventure, the mountain will be obscured by hills nearer to you.

This is a wonderful hike, and I highly recommend it. Even though I did not do the entire hike, I did do the entire south shore. And even that was sooooooo worth it. Enjoy!

By the way, as far as whether or not you can ride a bike along this trail, or a horse for that matter, take a look at the graphic to the left and see if you can make sense out of it. It appears with a couple minor detours, you can ride a bike completely around the lake, but it looks like horse are not welcome along the south shore. But, I'm sure it can be done by simply riding along the road when you cross the dam, rather than along the shore and campground areas.

Mt. Hood in the distance as seen from
the south shore of Timothy Lake
How to get there:

 Click for PDF Directions Map of this Hike 

From Sandy head east on US 26 for about 40 miles, passing Government Camp and the junction of Hwy 35. Just after you pass the exit to Clear Lake you will come to the junction of Forest Road 42 on your right. Follow FR 42 south for about 8.3 miles to the junction of Forest Road 57. Turn right onto FR 57 and follow it west to Timothy Lake. There are a number of options as to where to begin the loop hike.

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