Exploring the Pacific Northwest: Lost Lake Again

We spent Memorial Day Weekend camping in Lost Lake. It was great times all around. We camped there last Summer and had an awesome time. And while there are many more places to explore, Lost Lake was good enough to warrant another trip. This time with some buddies.


Lost Lake is in the Mount Hood National Forest, about a 2 hour drive from Portland. It’s a great spot because lake access is easy, lake activities are many and the view of Mt Hood is top notch.

Here’s an interesting fact: The lake “disappears” during certain dry periods and that is where the name comes from. The water in the lake is continuously draining into an an open lava tube (hole) at the bottom of the lake. When I heard this, I imagined the hole to be about the size of my big tow, but it turns out to be much bigger. It’s about six feet in diameter. Incidentally, U.S. Forest Personnel warn, “Throwing anything down the hole is strongly discouraged.” Man, it takes a certain kind of character to get anywhere near a lava tube, let alone throw anything in it. Anyways, we avoided the hole all together.

We camped, but you can also stay in the lodge or rent a yurt. If you’re planning to camp, I highly recommend staying nearest to the lake on the A loop. We reserved adjoining sites for our two families (A18 and A20) and were stoked on both of them. They were shaded, private and roomy. And we even had a little trail that connected the two so we could pass between them without going up to the road. A20 seemed to be a campsite favorite – a young camper we met told us that his parents were pretty pissed that their beloved site (A20) was taken.

Lost Lake, campsite A-20

Lost Lake, Campsite A-20

During our time there, we got both sunshine and drizzle. It was a nice mix of weather, but didn’t quite feel warm enough to swim in the lake… which made for a chilly (and hilarious) incident when one of my kids fell off a log and into the lake while fishing. Before the fall…

We spent most of our time walking, boating, biking, fishing, cooking and bon-firing. From the A Loop it’s a nice walk on the Old Growth Trail to the lake, General Store and boat dock. From there you can hop on the Lakeshore Trail and walk the perimeter of the lake, which is about 3 miles. Or you can stop on in the store and rent boats, paddle boards and canoes. They also sell all the camping odds and ends along with bait and one day fishing licenses.

A few other things to note:

  • There aren’t showers, sinks or flushable toilets. So, if that sounds too rough, best you find another spot to pitch your tent.
  • Other hiking options that would be great for those who aren’t towing kids. If that is you, check out: Lost Lake Butte Trail, Old Skyline Trail and Huckleberry Mountain Trail.
  • Camping reservations are on a first come, first serve basis, unless you make a reservation through Reserve America, which is what I like to do.

Has anyone been to Trillium Lake? It’s also in Mount Hood National Forest, not far from Government Camp. That spot is on our list.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Ashlee
    06/08/2016 at 9:29 pm

    Man, Oregon camping really seems to beat California camping! Such beautiful pics and fun adventures.

    • Reply
      hellodaynatalie
      06/08/2016 at 9:40 pm

      Well, California is such a beauty too. I’m itching to get back to Leo Carillo or El Cap!

  • Reply
    Ella Friberg
    06/09/2016 at 8:17 am

    We camped once at Lost Lake pre kids and loved it!! As far as Trillium Lake goes, we’ve only gone snow shoeing there in the winter, never in the summer. I bet it’s fun and beautiful!

  • Reply
    John
    06/09/2016 at 2:52 pm

    nice pictures!

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