What could be better than floating in bright blue water with an awesome view of Mt. Hood? Trillium Lake is one of my favorite places to hang out in Oregon. I went for the first time last summer with my giant floating donut and a ton of friends. We staked out a place on the shore to play frisbee and then floated on the lake drinking beer for a couple hours.
Floating on a donut ~ summer of 2017
This year I took a more athletic approach and brought my boyfriend and two inflatable kayaks. Kayaking around the lake was awesome. I got so many comments on the inflatable kayak. I have the Intex Challenger which I bought on Amazon for $55, including the kayak, a manual pump, and an oar. I am not sponsored by Intex, but I have convinced so many people to buy them that I should be! (Just a tip, if you are going to drink beer in your kayak, do not spill! My bf and I both spilled beer and thought we cleaned out the kayaks before deflating, but when we used them a month later, we were greeted with the horrible smell of stale beer.)
Upgraded to kayaks ~ summer of 2018
Trillium Lake is great for kayaking because boats with motors are not allowed so you will not be waked. If I had a stand-up paddle-board I would love to take it here too! Swimming in the lake is fun too because the water is quite warm.
My boyfriend enjoying the view of Mt. Hood
Want to add other adventures to your lake trip? There is a campground on the lake but it is very popular and fills up fast. If you want to camp, Salmon River Campground and Still Creek Campground are pretty close. There is also a very easy hike around Trillium Lake that is only about a mile round trip but has great views of the Mountain and goes over some boardwalks on swampy areas. Some close-by hikes that I like are Umbrella Falls (see my last post) and Mirror Lake to Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain.
“Time wasted at the lake is time well spent”
- Need NW Forest Pass or $5 daily fee
- 7 miles from base of Mt. Hood
- Mile long hike around lake
- Beautiful view of Mt. Hood
- Great for kayaking, rafting, floating, swimming, etc.
- Gets extremely crowded
- Limited campsites
After the Columbia Gorge fires last year, I have felt some serious waterfall withdrawals. Luckily, there are plenty in Oregon and Washington if you’re willing to drive a little further. This past weekend I looked through a book on Waterfalls in Oregon and chose Umbrella Falls because (a) I have never been and (b) it is less than 2 hours away.
The Umbrella Falls Trail (#667) starts in the Mt. Hood Meadows parking lot. I was disappointed when I saw the waterfall was only 1/4 miles into the trail because I like ending my hikes with waterfalls as a reward. I lucked out because surprise: walking just over a mile past Umbrella Falls is Sahale Falls! Two waterfalls in one hike sounds pretty good to me!
Umbrella Falls reminded me of Ramona Falls in that it cascades and maintains contact with a rocky surface rather than plunges over a cliff. There is a cute little footbridge over the stream too. It is so picturesque that I stumped across a photo shoot for a wedding. There is a fork in the trail a little bit past Umbrella Falls. If you want to see Sahale Falls, follow the direction on the sign and go right. The sign says the Falls are in a mile, but according to my Apple Watch, it is a little further.
It is very easy to miss the turn off to Sahale Falls (in fact, I missed it the first time and added about a mile to my hike before a kind stranger redirected me). The turn off will be on your right and you will have to scramble down a very steep and dusty path to get a good view of the falls. I had to slide on my bottom and grab onto tree trunks. This is why I do not recommend taking small children or a dog on this hike, although I saw two German Shepherds make it down okay (my tiny Maltese would not be so agile).
The base of the falls is very Gorge-esque. There is a pool at the bottom of the falls which cascades into smaller waterfalls as the stream continues. There are rocks you can sit on to eat a snack or take photos of the Falls. You can even wade or swim in the pool if you do not mind the ice cold water.
I turned around after taking several photos of Sahale Falls and unfortunately most of the elevation gain on this hike is on the way back, once you’re nice and tired. I gained about 700 feet in 2 miles, so it really wasn’t that bad. Overall I walked 4.5 miles and gained a total of 1000 feet, but I did add almost one extra mile by passing Sahale Falls and turning around. The trail does continue past Sahale Falls and who knows what comes next? It might be worth exploring if you would like a longer hike.
A quick recap of the Umbrella Falls hike:
- ~4 miles out and back, can be made longer
- ~1,000 feet elevation gain (300 one way, 700 the other)
- Not crowded on a Saturday
- Two waterfalls
- Pretty easy Good parking lot
- Very dusty trail (black shoes were grey by the end)
- Treacherous and easy to miss path to Sahale Falls
Thank you for stumbling across my brand spankin’ new blog. A year ago, I started an Instagram account to keep track of my many hikes in the PNW. I had so many photos and stories, and keeping them all in my head and iPhoto library was not gonna cut it anymore. I figured, if I’m going to catalogue my adventures, I might as well share it with the world. Well it turns out, people like learning about all the fun they can have here in Oregon and Washington. Instagram captions are pretty small, and I have a lot to say, so here I am world. Follow me for photos and information about hiking, kayaking, and general exploration (as well as other random thoughts) and please reach out to say hi if you’re so inclined.
Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure ~ Albus Dumbledore
Trillium Lake ~ my favorite place to kayak and eat entire bags of bbq chips on the shore