Mt Hood National Forest Lakes
Updated: Apr 17
A list of lakes in Mt Hood National Forest with links to the posts of the ones I've been to.
My goal is to visit all the accessible lakes I can find in the Mt Hood National Forest. I just want to get outside and this gives me a long list of something to work toward. This isn’t about being able to say “I’ve been to this many lakes.” It’s about actually getting to go to each individual lake, the challenge of researching and then hiking to them. Lakes are rather numerous in the Mt Hood National Forest.
I really enjoy hiking to anything with a view, lake or waterfall. But it isn’t just about the view, lake or waterfall. It’s also about the journey on the way there. Some of the coolest things I’ve found or seen have been on the way to “the cool place,” you just have to have your eyes open on the way to the end goal to see them. Some of my favorite things to see on trails are wildflowers, small plants, butterflies and chipmunks. I guess what I’m trying to get at is it isn’t just about checking off the lake, it’s about the whole experience from the planning, to the hiking, to the lake, to the checking it off. It’s the whole thing that I enjoy and I’m excited about.
Recently I read something that I thought was a good reminder. When you’re hiking down a trail, turn around every once in a while because sometimes an epic view is behind you. That is a good reminder to look around, be curious and observant when hiking. I know for myself it’s so easy to get lost just following the trail in a rhythm and lost in my thoughts that I sometimes become unaware of the little things around me.
Below is the whole list of lakes I’m planning on going to.
List of Lakes (alphabetically)
Big Slide Upper
Surprise (near fish creek drainage)
Surprise (near Olallie)
Twin lower (Near Detroit)
Twin upper (Near Detroit)
Lake 44.78758, -121.80658*
Lake 44.79788, -121.82402*
Lake 44.81887, -121.82389*
Lake 44.8505, -121.7745*
Lake 44.8938, -122.0797
*Olallie Scenic Area
List of Lakes (by ranger district or wilderness area)
Barlow Ranger District
Clackamas River Ranger District
Surprise (Near Fish Creek Drainage)
Surprise (Near Olallie)
Bull of the Woods Wilderness
Big Slide, upper
Welcome (2 lakes)
Lake 44.8938, -122.0797
Olallie Lake Scenic Area
Lake 44.78758, -121.80658
Lake 44.79788, -121.82402
Lake 44.81887, -121.82389
Lake 44.8505, -121.7745
Hood River Ranger District
Zigzag Ranger District
I found this Forest Service pdf listing lakes in Mount Hood National Forest that are stocked and that's where I got the idea for making a list of lakes to hike to. I went beyond just stocked lakes and made a list of any lakes I can find on the forest service map. I was frustrated with the two sources I was able to find two years ago because they didn't have the coordinates listed which made it difficult to find the lakes on a map sometimes. Only recently in 2022 have I discovered a few other resources through ODFW that have a few lakes listed with coordinates that I was unable to find on the map which was really exciting! I've linked all those resources below.
I just found this that shows the trout stocking sites by ODFW in google maps with names for the lakes! It helped with figuring out where lakes such as Suzi and Jeni are! Here's the link.
PDF of my lakes list with coordinate and other resources
I came up with this list of lakes based off the forest service list and scouring the entire national forest map in Caltopo for lakes. I spent many long days finding the lakes, listing the coordinates, and then trying to find any information or trip reports I could find online for the lakes. I even checked out some library books to see if they could be of any help. I have a file where I have tons of random notes, but I cleaned it up so it could be useful for other people. I didn't put in any trail or distance info unless it's one I've done so that it's as accurate as possible. I'll link to my convoluted one that has my estimates of miles and how I think I'll have to access each lake as well, but the downloadable pdf will be available for download below. I hope it helps you because it was what I wish I had when I first started my researching of lakes. I did add a column for stocked lakes according to the Forest Service pdf I found, but I'm not sure how reliable it is.
Yellow – Lakes I have been to (and I have a post about) Red – Lakes I haven’t been to yet or don’t have a post about
This map doesn’t link to any posts on my website it only shows the locations of all the different lakes.
For exploring the map in more detail I’d recommend clicking on the link in the top right corner of the map above that says “Open in CalTopo.” It will make it easier to explore the map and the lakes in more detail. All lakes are assigned to folders by ranger districts and there are folders specifically for wilderness's. On the left sidebar on the CalTopo website you can click on a lake name and it will show you were it is on the map. Under the lakes I’ve been to there will be the URL for the corresponding post on my website. You can copy and paste the link into your search engine to see the post.