“Enjoy Mt. Hood's reflection in appropriately named Mirror Lake, then run on for a better mountain view above the lake.”
— Kathleen Walker
Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildflowers
Northwest Forest Pass required May 15-October 30.
Don't park by the tow away zone signs. Divided highway limits access and requires turn arounds at bottom of Laurel Hill or in Government Camp.
Trailhead will be relocated in 2018 or 2019 with a new connector trail from the new trailhead.
This very popular trail provides a great reflection shot of Mt. Hood in the namesake glacial cirque Mirror Lake. While it has a bit of elevation gain, most folks, including kids, can make the gradual 700 foot climb to the lake and run the loop trail around the lake. The more adventurous should continue up Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain which is in the Salmon-Hucklberry Wilderness. With a 200 foot scramble to the top, enjoy the valley and Cascade mountain views of the Mt. Hood Wilderness to the north, the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness to the south, including Mt. Jefferson. The 1.9 miles of trail beyond the lake is narrower and climbs about 700 feet in elevation.
Need to Know
This trail has gotten so crowded, it really is not fun when there are so many people there. The lake is really pond size and not able to absorb the crowds, so avoid the trail if it is crazy busy. Better to come back mid-week, early morning, or shoulder season to enjoy this special run.
Mirror Lake is not designated (marked with blue diamonds) as a winter trail. Some people choose to snowshoe on the trail. Snow can severely limit available parking and ODOT will tow cars outside the marked parking areas. At times, they push snow to block parking at the trailhead altogether.
Mirror Lake Trailhead is currently along Highway 26, although there are plans in place to move the trailhead closer to Skibowl Ski Area to the east (the construction on relocation of the trailhead is supposed to begin in summer, 2018). There is a main parking area and a couple of smaller pullouts east of the main trailhead. Important: ODOT has installed center highway jersey barriers, so there is no longer access to the trailhead coming from the east. You'll have to go down the highway to the bottom of Laurel Hill and turn around and approach from the west. Do not park near tow away zone signs as you'll be towed.
From the trailhead, cross the bridge over Camp Creek and continue on the trail. You'll pass a picnic table and trailhead board. You quickly come to another bridge on this wide busy trail and then begin a steady climb to a talus slope, a switchback, another talus slope and another switchback. These openings offer great views of the valley. The trail then makes its steepest pitch as it climbs several more switchbacks, before getting to the upper creek crossing that drains from the lake.
Turn left and cross the bridge over Mirror Creek and traverse around the lake clock-wise, past the spirea bushes on the east-side and the marsh boardwalk on the south side. Once back at the junction with the main trail, turn left to continue up to Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain.
The trail begins climbing through thick forest and rhododendrons and gradually climbs the north slope of Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain towards the west side. The trail skirts the top of a large talus slope offering great views for a good water break before the next section. Here, the trail makes a steady climb to a lower ridgeline, makes a switchback at a rock cairn, flattens out for a short distance and then makes another steady climb to the top of the actual ridgeline. You soon break out into the open and then hit the highpoint on the trail which is the end of the designated trail. You can continue scrambling down slightly to some great viewpoints, but use caution.
On the return trip down, once you reach the lake, you can turn right to once again encircle the lake, but if you're just looking to get back down, stay left at both intersections with the Mirror Lake Loop
Trail and head back to the trailhead.
Flora & Fauna
The trail starts near the transition between western hemlock and mountain hemlock, with plenty of Douglas fir, and western red cedar in the moister areas. Lodgepole pine predominates in the higher drier areas. Rhododendrons, bear grass, and spirea (around the lake) are most common. Indian paint brush, Pacific dogwood, avalanche lily, lupine, trillium and bunchberry are also wildflowers that can be found on the trail.
History & Background
Wikipedia says Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain is named for its three distinct peaks along the summit, forming the cirque that is now part of the Mount Hood Skibowl ski resort. The highest peak has an elevation of 5,070 feet (1,545 m). The name was in use as early as 1897, according to Elijah "Lige" Coalman, the namesake of Coalman Glacier. The mountain has also been called "Tom Dick Mountain" in the past, although the Board on Geographic Names officially decided in favor of including "Harry" in 1969 making it a play on phrase "Tom, Dick and Harry."