Scenic USA - Oregon

Trillium Lake

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Trillium Lake - Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

Photo by Tom Blandford
Tom Blandford Photography

   Escaping a fast-paced I-5 city life, more than two million visitors head to the Mount Hood National Forest for a relaxing visit and to enjoy the area's wildlife and forestland scenery. Depending on location, the forest encompasses several different life zones. On the western side, the temperate rain forest is covered in Douglas fir, while a drier eastern range fosters a ponderosa pine forest. An arctic-alpine zone covers the upper reaches of Mount Hood, until the highest elevations become void of plants, giving way to bare rock and snow fields.
   One of the most popular stops in the Mount Hood area is administered by the Zigzag Ranger District. Located about 60 miles from Portland, Trillium Lake is a beautiful site for campers, anglers, and photographers. This inviting scene captures Mount Hood and its shimmering reflection in the clear lake waters. Named for an abundant cover of tri-petaled flowers, Lake Trillium was created in 1960 by damming up Mud Creek. The campground, picnic area and hiking trails followed. Several unimproved roads second as hiking trails, leading to the edges of the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness and a section of the Wild and Scenic Salmon River.
   The Trillium Lake loop hike is more aligned with family fun. Beginning at the campground, the lake hike follows a crushed gravel pathway, spanning marshy areas with wooden board walks. Nearly level, this two mile loop is rated easy. Enjoying this grand scenery is even easier.

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