Timothy Lake is the largest body of water in the Mount Hood National Forest, and it offers spectacular views of the state's tallest mountain, so it's no wonder that it has become such a popular summer recreation area. In combination, the campgrounds around Timothy Lake provide over 260 designated campsites, making it the third largest camping area in the state. Only Fort Stevens and Nehalem Bay State Park provide accommodations for more visitors.
The lake is actually a reservoir created when Portland General Electric constructed a compacted-earth dam along the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas River in 1956 to regulate water flow to their other facilities downstream.* Dams on the Clackamas have kept native fish from the reservoir, however, the fishing is good for stocked rainbow trout, brook trout and kokenee salmon.
Campgrounds along the reservoir's shore include Pine Point, Hoodview, Gone Creek and Oak Fork. There are also the Cove, North Arm and Meditation Point campgrounds, which are rustic in nature or walk-in only. You may also consider nearby Little Crater Lake, Clackamas Lake Campground or the Joe Graham Horse Camp if the Timothy Lake campgrounds are full.
*Timothy Lake regulates water flow to Lake Harriet 10 miles downstream. Lake Harriet was created in the early 1920s as a diversion dam for the construction of the Oak Grove hydroelectric power plant roughly 8 miles downstream, or 6 miles via the diversion pipeline. Interestingly, because of the steep elevation drop just before the power plant, Oak Grove is PGE's most efficient facility, producing electricity for approximately 22,000 homes.