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  • Writer's pictureTina McLain

Clackamas Lake

Updated: Apr 28

A vibrant, marshy lake in Mount Hood National Forest.

Clackamas Lake

Lake Name: Clackamas Lake Lake Coordinates: 45.0960, -121.7428 Lake Elevation: 3350′ Access: Trail Distance: 1.28 miles (round trip)

Elevation Range: 3396' to 3478'

Ascent/Descent: +158 ft / -167 ft Trail Type: In and out

Trails: Miller Trail #534

Permits/Fees: None Note: I followed the Miller Trail #534 starting at the entrance to Clackamas Lake Campground (the campground was closed when I did this trail).

Location: Near Clackamas Lake Campground in Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon, U.S.A.

Administration: Mount Hood National Forest

Ranger District: Zigzag Ranger District Date Accessed: 6-4-20

I couldn’t find much information online about how to actually access Clackamas Lake. I saw that the Miller Trail #534 goes by near it, but not directly to it. I thought that there might be some off trail that goes down to the lake from it (I was right).

I parked across from the campground entrance. I was dealing with high anxiety about going out. It took me a few minutes to get the guts to get out of the car. The trail started right before the gate to the campground. It was well marked. The trail followed near the road for the first bit with a barbed wire fence on the other side running along the campground.

The trail is wider than most and there were only two spots with downed trees across the trail. This trail appeared to be popular for horse riding which usually means the trail is a good surface. I didn’t see anyone else while I was hiking this trail.

I came across a junction in the trail where one way led off to the campground. I continued on the Miller Trail beyond that. A little while later I found a little dirt trail that went off towards the lake. I followed it and it took me right down to the lake’s edge where a stream flowed into it. It was 0.64 miles one way to the lake. So not very far at all.

The lake was surrounded by marsh with tall grass growing in it, particularly around the shore areas. Then it expanded in to a huge meadow area which was probably pretty marshy as well. I was really amazed with the beauty of this lake. I could see grass and algae at the bottom of the lake giving the water varying green tones. The place on the shore I was at appeared to be the only place that was open and didn’t look marshy. The creek running into the lake had green algae covering all the rocks. It was so striking. It reminded me of Yellowstone. Surprisingly there weren’t many mosquitoes when I was there. The hike back was pretty easy.

There is a way that this hike could be shortened even more. Where Wilson road T’s with NF 4270 there is a rock ledge on the side of the road. The trail goes right by that. So just climbing down the rock on to the trail would make the hike even shorter.


  • Where I parked: 45.09502, -121.75011 (approximate area)

  • Start of Miller Trail #534 by campground entrance: 45.09503, -121.74891

  • Start of dirt trail that goes to lake from Miller Trail coordinates: 45.09509, -121.74053

  • End of trail at lake coordinates: 45.09528, -121.74086

Coordinates are from waypoints I made on my Gaia GPS app while hiking the trail.


How to get there (from Estacada, OR)



My Wild Adventure is not responsible for your safety, any possible injury, or anything that happens if you choose to follow anything on this website. Maps are not intended to be used for navigational purposes, but to give an overview of the route taken. By going outdoors you are solely responsible to know your strengths and limitations, be aware of current conditions and proceed with the appropriate caution. My Wild Adventure is not responsible for your choices and the outcome. Reference my disclaimer for more information on being responsible outdoors.

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