Under the shadow of Oregon’s majestic Mt Hood lies glistening Trillium Lake, a summer playground that makes for an easy city break. Formed by a dam at the headwaters of Mud Creek, this pretty spot near the ski town of Government Camp is a great getaway year round. During summer it’s a popular day use and camping area, while winter means cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Where is Trillium Lake
Trillium Lake is a 10 minute drive south of Government Camp in the Mt Hood National Forest, and one hour from Hood River. From Portland, it’s a 90-minute drive towards Mt Hood. Nearby attractions include Timberline Lodge which is a national historic landmark (best known as the hotel where The Shining was filmed), and the Mt Hood Adventure Park at Skibowl which has family-friendly attractions including bungee trampolines, a mountain bike park, race karts and the half mile dual Alpine Slide.
Things to do at Trillium Lake
One of the best things to do at Trillium Lake is to hit the water, whether it’s going for a paddle on a SUP, piling onto an inflatable floatie, or lounging along the sun-kissed shoreline. Trillium Lake kayak rentals can be arranged through companies including Mt Hood Outfitters, and there are a couple of boat ramps along with a fishing pier.
The 63-acre lake is filled with trout which makes it a popular fishing spot, and kids love watching the ducks that frequent the shoreline. Another great activity for all ages is walking around the Trillium Lake Loop Trail, a two-mile pathway that’s mostly level and has great views of Mt Hood and the surrounding wetlands as it circles the water.
The day use fee is $5 per vehicle.
Trillium Lake camping
The Trillium Lake campground is a popular summer getaway from the Columbia River Gorge, with nearly 60 sites tucked into a shaded, mixed conifer forest. Both single and double options are available (including some RV hookups and paved parking spots) and all of them have a table and campfire. Vault toilets and drinking water are available.
Spots can be reserved here in advance, and there are a few that are first-come, first-served. Prices for camping Trillium Lake range from $22-$90 per night.
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Tamara Elliott is the travel editor and founder of The Gorge Guide, which highlights the best experiences in the Columbia River Gorge. She’s an award-winning writer based in Hood River, Oregon, who particularly loves the area wineries and waterfall hikes. Tamara is also the founder of Globe Guide, which offers savvy tips for exploring destinations around the world.