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  • Writer's pictureTina McLain

Cottonwood Meadows Lake

Updated: Apr 19

A small, seasonal lake in Mount Hood National Forest.

Cottonwood Meadows
Cottonwood Meadows (dry) lake

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

Permits/Fees: None 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!

Location: Near Forest Road 5830 in Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon, U.S.A.

Administration: Mount Hood National Forest

Ranger District: Clackamas River Date accessed: 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.

Cottonwood Meadows
First small dry lake


  • Mt Hood Info

  • Trail Advocates

  • 2017 North Willamette High Lakes Stocking

  • ODFW trout stocking sites

  • 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)


Trail Map

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.

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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