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  • Writer's pictureTina McLain

Tumala Lakes

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

A swampy mass of lakes situated below Tumala Peak in Mount Hood National Forest.



Lake Name: Tumala Lakes (previously known as Squaw Lakes) Lake Coordinates: 45.2207, -122.0240 Lake Elevation: 3550′ Access: Drive up Note: The lakes were previously known as Squaw Lakes until the name was changed in 2007 to Tumala Lakes. Older maps still reference it by its previous name. Date: 6-10-20


As we neared Tumala Lakes, the road had been high up, along a ridge. As we got closer to the lake the road quickly descended down the side of a hill. On one side of the road it was going straight up and on the other side, straight down. Let’s just say I wasn’t a fan.


When the road had leveled out I thought I saw some water on what looked like was potentially the road. Turns out there was practically a whole river flowing across the road that was being fed by Tumala Lakes. I definitely wasn’t expecting that. It was only about 1 ft deep, maybe 2 ft in some parts. It was pretty wide too.


I got out of the truck and found a decent place to take pictures of the lake. I jumped across some large rocks to the middle of the “river” at the edge of the lake. There was dense foliage all around the lake, especially along the road. The lake was way bigger than I expected from what it looked like on the map.



There are a couple of lakes behind the first Tumala Lake, but I decided not to try and explore them. I was worn out from just finishing the Huxley Lake hike and wasn’t interested in fighting my way through the forest.


My grandpa used to go fishing here with one of his close friends a long time ago (60’s/70’s.) I was told it used to be private property back then and had been a muskrat farm. They would have to watch out for beaver holes when fishing the lakes and creek. (This was part of the reason I wasn’t super eager to go explore along the lake’s edge.) Sometimes snow drifts across the road would make it inaccessible until mid-summer.


My mom and I decided we wanted to continue up the road, so I got in the bed of the pickup and videoed us crossing the “river.” I don’t usually comment on what the roads are like because I find it rather subjective as to what different people label as “bad.” Most of the time what other people label as bad, isn’t that bad for me. We had to navigate multiple washouts, smaller downed trees, and 2 places where a stream/river were flowing across the road. I wouldn’t recommend doing this road without 4-wheel drive and a higher clearance vehicle. What I will say about this road is that Abbot Road (FS 4610) is notorious for washouts and being a sucky road. The forest service has a road table that notes road closures which can be helpful.



How to get there (from Estacada, OR)

Location


Map

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