Laurance Lake - Mt. Hood National Forest

Located on the north side of Mount Hood, Laurance Lake is a reservoir that offers visitors everything from paddling adventures and fishing escapades, to camping fun and hiking trips. The lake was formed in 1969 when a dam was built in the Middle Fork Irrigation District across the Clear Branch of the Hood River. Today Laurance Lake covers about 160 acres in cool, clear water.

Try on the following Laurance Lake adventures for size:

Kayaking: No motorized boats will interrupt your paddling zen in these waters. Enjoy the natural serenity of the reservoir waters, and remember that you’re tucked amid all the wildlife of Mount Hood’s slopes. For an extra magical experience, slip into the waters after sundown. You’ll be treated to an unbeatable view of the Milky Way, since the bulk of the mountain shields this spot from Portland and Hood River light pollution.

Fishing: The lake is seasonally stocked with Rainbow Trout, so you only have your skills to blame if you can't nab a fish or two. Wild bull trout and cutthroats also fill the approximately 100-foot-deep reservoir, but it’s forbidden to kill these sensitive species. That’s in part why Laurence Lake is considered a gem of a lake for fly-fishing, which falls in line perfectly with the no-kill rule, since angling regulations don't allow for the killing of wild fish.

Camping: Imagine how sweet it is to fall asleep on the shores of this lake, tired after a day of water-filled fun, the scent of crushed pine needles in the air, and knowing that tomorrow promises campground coffee, sizzling breakfast food, and another dawn on the doorstep of Mount Hood. Sounds terrific, right? That’s why camping spots sell out quickly. The campground is located on the southern edge of the lake, and is a mix of walk-in and a few drive-in sites that are $16/night.

Note that the lake is at an elevation of 2,980 feet, and it’s far less accessible in winter months. And its location in Mount Hood’s shadow means that the occasional rainstorm can be generated from the lake-mountain weather dynamic.

There’s a $5/day use charge for access to the lake. Recreation passes are not honored at this location.

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