Little Crater Lake Trail & Campground - Mt. Hood Natl Forest

Photo cred: Kate Reid @kater_aid

Little Crater Lake Trail is located in a beautiful alpine meadow full of summertime wildflowers, and is also a good spot for wildlife viewing and birding. It is accessible by a paved walkway.

The best part of the trail is Little Crater Lake itself. Formed by an artesian spring, the lake is quite small but very deep, and it is “gin clear” with an iridescent blue-green color. Over time the flowing spring has worn down the limestone and created a gravel lake bed at a depth of 45 feet. Unlike Crater Lake in Southern Oregon, it is not of volcanic origin.

Take the travel through Little Crater Meadow to Little Crater Lake, then on to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. The lake remains chilly--about 34 degrees Fahrenheit year-round--because of the properties of the aquifer that feed it. This trail also provides access to the many trails around Timothy Lake.

Check out the Little Crater Lake Campground if you would like to linger in this scenic area--one of the most beautiful in Mt. Hood National Forest. The campground is rustic, with toilets but no running water, so be sure to bring plenty of your own.

Directions from Rhododendron (about 35 minutes travel time):

- Go Southeast on Hwy 26 for 20.9 miles (you will cross Hwy 35 and continue about 9 miles more before turning)

- Turn Right (South) on Forest Service Rd. 42/Oregon Skyline Rd. and continue for 4.1 miles

- Turn Right (West) onto Rd. 58./S-457 Rd./Abbot Rd. Follow 58 for 2 1/4 miles to the entrance of Little Crater Campground. The trailhead is located in the campground.

Learn more about the campground and lake, including how to reserve a campsite:

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8 years ago

Gorgeous, Catherine--can't wait to check it out!

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