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Erma Bell Lakes

Willamette Foothills, Oregon

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Erma Bell Lakes

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  • Signs along Forest Service Road 19.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • The trailhead starts at the Skookum Creek Campground.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Trailhead sign near the campground and footbridge. - Erma Bell Lakes
  • Footbridge over the creek near the campground and trailhead.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Information sign along the trail. - Erma Bell Lakes
  • The trail goes throught the Three Sisters Wilderness.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Trail to Erma Bell Lakes.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Small frog along the trail.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Trail junction for Erma Bell Lakes and Otter Lake.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Trail to Erma Bell Lakes.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Erma Bell trail sign.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • The trail is pretty level most of the way to the lakes.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Trail to Erma Bell Lakes. - Erma Bell Lakes
  • Lower Erma Bell Lake.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Lower Erma Bell Lake.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Lower Erma Bell Lake from the trail to the middle lake.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Small snake along the trail.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Trillium along the trail. - Erma Bell Lakes
  • The waterfall between Lower and Middle Erma Bell Lakes.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Middle Erma Bell Lake.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Middle Erma Bell Lake.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Backcountry campsite on the edge of Middle Erma Bell Lake.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Trail leading to Erma Bell Lakes.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Rhododendron along the trail.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Erma Bell Trail.- Erma Bell Lakes
  • Vault toilets in the parking area.- Erma Bell Lakes
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Waterfall. Beautiful lakes. Easy hike. Wildflowers.
Cons: 
Mosquitos during summer.
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Region:
Willamette Foothills, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
750.00 ft (228.60 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
4.50 mi (7.24 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,500.00 ft (1,371.60 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

This nice and easy hike in the Three Sisters Wilderness is a great one for those looking to explore the forest and lakes of the Cascades. But hikers be warned – this is prime mosquito area, and they can be troublesome.

Starting from the Skookum Creek Campground, the Erma Bell Lakes Trail starts at the footbridge and winds through the forest. Other than a few small creek crossings, the trail is level and easy. About a half-mile in, the trail splits with the Irish Mountain Trail heading toward Otter Lake, while the Erma Bell Lake Trail  continues straight toward Lower Erma Bell Lake about a mile away. The lakes are a popular fishing spot. The trail continues on toward Middle Erma Bell Lake, with a glimpse of the lower lake along the way. The sound of the 30- to-40-foot waterfall can be heard from the trail. Just before the middle lake, there is a small side trail to the left that goes down toward the base of the falls. The views are somewhat obstructed by tree limbs, but it's worth the scramble down. Middle Lake has a few backcountry campsites and easy water access. From here, the trail continues on to Upper Erma Bell Lake. The trail can also be made a loop by connecting with Williams Lake Trail and connects with Irish Mountain Trail. This loop would total about 8.5 miles. Be sure to keep an eye out for birds, little critters and wildflowers such as rhododendrons and trilliums.

Trail access is dependent on snow levels and usually opens at the end of June and closes in the fall (October).

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(61 within a 30 mile radius)

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(124 within a 30 mile radius)

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