Trillium Lake is a great winter destination for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, offering dramatic views of Mount Hood to the north. Additionally, there is a good sledding area at the southeastern edge of the parking lot. The 65-acre, man-made lake was formed by the damming of Mud Creek, a tributary of Salmon Creek.
The Trillium Lake trailhead begins at the northwest corner of the parking lot where you will find a suggested donation box; like many of the winter trail systems in the area, operators rely on donations to offset grooming costs. The access hill drops 500 feet in a half-mile, and it is fairly steep. Novice skiers should consider walking the hill. The trail flattens out as it intersects the 3.5-mile Trillium Lake Loop Trail. We recommend traveling the route counterclockwise and heading to the right at the intersection. The trail is divided in half, with cross-country ski tracks on one side and a packed snowshoeing track on the other.
The first great view of Mount Hood appears over Graves Summit Meadows, and from here the trail becomes wooded. Keep left when you reach the Sherar Burn/Still Creek Road Junction. Great views of Mount Hood towering over the lake open up once the trail crosses the dam. This area provides a perfect lunch spot at nearly the halfway point. As you continue around the loop, keep left as the Mud Creek Loop turns off to the right. Stay on the main loop trail and continue up the access hill to end the loop.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.