Groomed trail
No
Elevation Gain
230.00 ft (70.10 m)
Distance
4.50 mi (7.24 km)
Warming hut
No
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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.

Recommended Gear

Before you head out on your next Mount Hood adventure, make sure you have the right gear! 

Here's a list of our go-to snowshoeing essentials to get you started:

Snowshoes: MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe

Men's and Women's • $229.95 • Cushioned, Made in USA, Ultralight, 98.8 oz

Jacket/Shell: Arc'teryx Zeta AR Jacket

Men's and Women's • $475.00 • Waterproof, Adjustable Drawcord Hem, Pit Zips, GORE-TEX

Pack: Mammut Nirvana Pro Pack 

$189.95 • 35L, Carry-On Size, Hip Belt, Ice Axe / Pole Loops, Hydration Compatible

Insulating Layer: Moosejaw Dequindre Down Jacket

Men's and Women's • $134.25 • Water-resistant, Insulated, Adjustable Drawcord Hem

Poles: Black Diamond Traverse Pole 

$79.95 • Aluminum, Adjustable with Lever Lock System, 21 oz.

Gloves: The North Face GORE-TEX Gloves

Men's Powdercloud • $181.61 • Waterproof, Adjustable, Insulated, GORE-TEX

Boots: Vasque Snowblime UltraDry Boot

Men's and Women's • $149.95 • Waterproof, Cushioned, Insulated

Gaiters: Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiter 

Men's and Women's • $64.95 • Waterproof, Breathable, Lightweight, Abrasion-resistant

 

If you are snowshoeing into avalanche terrain, you should be prepared, equipped and educated on how to use avalanche rescue and snow safety gear - including but not limited to an avalanche beacon/transceiver, probe, and shovel.

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Logistics + Planning

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

Sno-Park Parking Permit (required in OR + WA 11.01 thru 04.30)

Pros

Close to Portland. Easy loop. Great views.

Cons

Crowds. Steep descent from the parking area to the trail.

Trailhead Elevation

3,830.00 ft (1,167.38 m)

Features

Big vistas

Trail type

Loop

Typically multi-day

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon
Oregon, Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon
Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon
Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon

Comments

12/29/2015
I cross country skied around Trillium yesterday then camped next to the lake. The trail is well groomed and there is a great deal of snow. (Was c-o-l-d overnight!!) There was one other tent camper there overnight; otherwise, I saw a few X-C skiers and a few snoeshoe-ers. Not terribly crowded at 3pm. The trail was just as described in the Adventure Description -- a downhill from the SNO-PARK that I walked because I'm a beginner skier. After that, I thought the trail was great -- much better than Glacier View Trail, which I did today.

A side road or two was groomed, too. I think you could spend a good deal of time at Trillium on the lake trail and exploring the side trails. Does anyone know if you can ski Still Creek Rd from Trillium to Rhododendron?

The only negative was that I was really looking for a quiet overnight -- as one would expect during a cold winter mid-week in the relative back country. However, there was a mechanical noise that went on after dark for a WHILE. I can only assume it was the lifts for nighttime skiing at Ski Bowl. That was disappointing since otherwise the night would have been perfectly quiet.
12/26/2015
Tons of people were up at the mountain for the first clear day in a while and Christmas weekend combined, but with all the snow it didn't disappoint. A perfect day out snowshoeing. Explored off trail a bit in the deeper snow and then did a loop of the lake. Had to park at Snow Bunny's lot and even that was full by the end of the day. Went back to Portland by way of Hood River to avoid the traffic jam between the sno park and Govt Camp.
12/14/2013
We got caught at dusk and ended up trekking back in the dark, but catching the blue light of the mountain made it worth it.
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