Cottonwood Meadows Lake
Updated: Nov 8, 2022
Lake Name: Cottonwood Meadows Lake Coordinates: 45.1057, -121.9610 Lake Elevation: 4050′ Access: Trail Distance: 1 mile (round trip)
Elevation Range: 4038' to 4379'
Ascent/Descent: +374 ft / -368 ft Trail Type: In and out
Trails: Cottonwood Meadows Trail #705 Note: The trail is not well maintained. There are a lot of downed trees and it is sometimes hard to follow. It’s like following a deer trail. The 2 lakes are seasonal! Date hiked: 11-16-19
I think the most important thing to mention is that the 2 lakes in Cottonwood Meadows are SEASONAL. Which means that they aren’t full of water year round. When we went on November 16, 2019 both were dry, not even a puddle of water. Yet this lake is stocked with rainbow trout by the ODFW every two years. The lakes maximum water depth (when there is water) is 4 feet.
The first smaller lake was covered in a beautiful green moss and the second larger one had beautiful tan colored grass growing—it looked like a meadow. Even though there weren’t lakes it was still totally worth the short (occasionally challenging) hike. It was so pretty and peaceful. After all it’s not every day you get to say you got to stand in the middle of a lake.
The first part of the trail started out flat with quite a few downed trees laying across it (about the first 0.25 miles of the trail.) After passing the first lake that is on the left, it quickly starts to drop downhill and gets pretty steep (no switchbacks.) It continues downhill until you get to the second lake. At one part in the trail a tree fell ripping it’s roots out and left a nice large 5 foot hole in the trail we had to walk around.
This trail was very difficult to find information on. There is another trail with a similar name and it was difficult to figure out if I was getting the correct information for this trail in particular. Up above I have linked the two places I was able to find accurate information for the correct location. Also note that we only hiked to the lakes—we didn’t do the entire #705 trail.
Update 2022: I was able to find some more info on this lake from the ODFW about fish stocking and added the links above.
How to get there (from Estacada, OR)
Take Clackamas Hwy 224 from Estacada past Ripplebrook and turn left on to NF-57. Continue down NF 57 (Timothy Lake Rd) and take a slight left on the NF-58. Then take a left on to NF-5830 and follow the road past the Hideaway Lake Campground. Continue on NF-5830. After passing NF-230 (which is on the right) the trailhead is up ahead pretty soon on the left. It’s past the little lake you can see on the right side of the road. The trailhead is pretty obvious once you find it. It has a sign that marks the start. On the other side of the road there is another trailhead sign for the Rimrock Trail #704. The road is a little bit wider here so we just pulled off as much as we could and parked by the trailhead.
Main Lake Coordinates: 45.1057, -121.9610
Small Lake Coordinates (not stocked): 45.1091, -121.9651
Clackamas Ranger District map location: T5S R7E S28
Route above isn't the actual tracking from hike, just overview of route taken. I didn't record this hike with any sort of GPS tracking.
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