Looking for an easy day trip or a light backpacking trip near a secluded lake? Memaloose Lake is a perfect getaway that is close enough to Portland to complete in a day, and it is the perfect spot for an overnight trip that doesn't require a long hike. The trail is well maintained throughout the year, although snowshoes or cross-country skis are recommended during the winter.
The trail winds through an old-growth forest for nearly a mile before reaching a series of switchbacks; from here it is only a half mile further to reach the lake. You will notice a small falls cascading next to the trail just before the lake, and this is a great spot to turn around and admire the view behind you to the north. Once at the lake, feel free to jump in for a quick swim in the summer, or enjoy the peaceful winter view. You can also set up camp at one of the primitive sites on the eastern side or continue up South Fork Mountain for another mile. To get to the primitive sites or the South Fork trail, you'll have to cross Memaloose Creek on the small tree bridge.