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Why You Should Snowshoe to Trillium Lake on a Weekday

This is a good snowshoe hike on a weekend; one of the best during the week.

By: aows 🌲 + Save to a List

The snow is here to stay. It has been falling pretty much every day up in the mountains during the last two weeks, which means that most of the trails and roads are now closed or require chains / snowshoes.

Given that days are really short at this time of the year, the list of places where you can go to enjoy the snow during the week is extremely short. One of them is Trillium Lake in Mt Hood. The drive there from Portland is around 1 hour and 20 minutes, depending on traffic and conditions of the road.

This is why this hike has become one of my favorites for this time of the year. Another one is Mirror Lake, but let’s be honest, Trillium is just prettier (and stunning right now without the crowds).

Normally, you’d drive all the way to the lake but the gate is closed and won’t open until probably April/May. That means you have to walk on snow for 2 miles to reach the shore. With snowshoes it shouldn’t take more than an hour.

Do the math: you can leave Portland around 5:30am, be at the trailhead before 7am and at the lake before the sun rises. That’s what I did last Wednesday, and I was back in town before 10am ready for the work day. Yes you are more tired than usual by the end of the day but I also feel energized after an “adventure” like this in the middle of the week.

Another plus of doing this during the week: Luna and I were the only ones there and she did take advantage of that — unlike our last time there during a weekend when she couldn’t be off leash.

Just for fun, compare these two photos. They were taken two weeks apart and they are the same trees and lake. Pretty amazing to see not only every tree covered in snow (actually if you zoom in on the second one you can see a picnic table and the insane amount of snow on top of it… two or three feet), but the lake completely frozen. Probably not thick enough ice to support a person, but Luna did run on it.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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