The hike to the top of Lost Lake Butte climbs at a moderate ascent, at times steeply, to gain 1,300 feet in just over 2 miles. The forest is filled with an understory of beargrass and rhododendrons. A member of the lily family, beargrass was long used by Native Americans to weave into baskets. Blooming only once every 5-7 years in late spring and early summer, each plant can reach 5 feet tall and boasts distinctive and large cream-colored blooms.
The last .75 miles of trail is a series of eight switchbacks. An old fire lookout that was destroyed in the 1960s is just below the summit. Stay to the right and continue on the trail as it proceeds through a thicket of trees and shrubs at the summit. An open area with large boulders provides a panoramic view of Mount Hood, with distant views of Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Jefferson and Mount Rainier. Lost Lake is below to the south, but trees at the summit block the view. Return the same way.
Optional trails: back at the campground, a boardwalk meanders for .75 miles through a grove of old-growth cedar. Interpretive signs along the trail provide ecology highlights. The trailhead is near the day use parking area, west of the campground loop road. The lakeshore trail loops the perimeter of Lost Lake for an easy 3.2 mile walk. An incredibly scenic mountain lake with outstanding views of Mount Hood, Lost Lake has a large, privately managed campground with a general store, non-motorized boat rentals, and several trails for hiking and exploring. Catch a spectacular view of Mount Hood from the north end of the lake.