Seems like I’ve been hopping from one mountain to another lately. First, Rainier, and now I just came back from a trip to the Mount Hood, Oregon and Mount Adams, Washington areas. Guess you can call me “mountain woman.” At least, that’s what my best friend calls me. And, I do like to explore places in my region that I’ve never been to before. My new-found place I will talk about today is Lost Lake, nestled in the Mount Hood National Forest, below the north face of Mount Hood. I’ve always heard from other photographers what a beautiful place it is. So here it is in all its splendor.
To get to Lost Lake takes a bit of driving, since it’s an out of the way place, unless you live in the Hood River Valley area. The quickest route is via the Columbia River Gorge Highway, on the Oregon side of the river. Of course, if you live in southeast Washington, just cross over the Hood River Bridge. If you’ve never driven over the Hood River Bridge, you may find it to be a bit of a harrowing experience. It’s a long, very narrow, two-lane, steel-grated deck bridge with a low speed limit. I avoid it like the plague because it is so narrow. There are several bridge crossings over the Columbia River, and this is one that I would not recommend. From the city of Hood River, plot your course anyway you desire, but you must end up on the Dee Highway to get to Lost Lake Road. It’s always best to have a local road map handy. And since this is a big agricultural tourist area, there are plenty of free maps from the local businesses. The Hood River Valley is full of fruit orchards, a really beautiful area! I passed through orchard after orchard, just dripping with pears and cherries. The main highway through the area (Hwy 35) is dotted with fresh fruit stands. There are also lots of local wineries with samplings to enjoy, if you are into that kind of thing. If approaching from the south of the mountain, Hwy 26 to Hwy 35 would be your best bet. There is also LoLo Pass, a national forest service road from the southwest of the mountain, but I will leave that to the more adventurous traveler.
Anyway, back to Lost Lake. At the end of the road is Lost Lake Resort. This is a privately owned camping and resort area. An entrance fee is required. I thought that this was going to be a nice, quiet, uncrowded area, since I did not encounter much traffic on the way to it. Boy, was I in for a surprise when I arrived! I guess everyone else had arrived at the crack of dawn or that they were campers, already settled in for the weekend. I arrived around noon and was lucky to find a parking space. The lake was full of row boats, canoes, swimmers, paddle boats, etc. Along the lake’s edge, there are a lots of picnic sites. Of course, everyone of them was taken. It’s really a gorgeous lake … and the scenery … you can’t beat the view of Mount Hood looking over the lake! Absolutely stunning! And, there’s 3 miles of trails through the old-growth forests to find solitude in. There’s also a General Store, with everything you need for your camping, fishing, or picnic experience. Above the store are 4 lodge rooms for rental. The resort is a great, fun place to spend with the family during the warm, summer months. As for myself, I would love to spend some time here during the off-peak season, when things have quieted down.
For those wanting some close-up, knock-out views of Mount Hood, outside of traveling to Lost Lake Resort, here’s a photo tip. Drive south on Cooper Spur Rd from the town of Parkdale. Lots of eye-candy here while driving through fruit orchards and especially beautiful when the orchards are in bloom, mid April. The road terminates at Hwy 35.
On the way back home, I crossed over the dreaded Hood River Bridge to Hwy 14, on the Washington State side, to get to an arts festival in Trout Lake, Washington. I’ve always wanted to check it out, and this was not that far out of my way on my return trip home. Well, maybe just a little. Trout Lake is a rural community nestled in the shadow of Mount Adams. You have to drive up and away from the river gorge area, a good 20 miles or so north, along Hwy 141. Once you are in Trout Lake territory, Mount Adams looms down at you really big. You can almost reach out and touch it! Have a look.
Oh, and for all your river rafters, there are popular whitewater rafting operations along the highway (Hwy 141) to Mount Adams that will give you a thrill. They operate on the wild White Salmon River, and they offer some of the best whitewater rafting in the Northwest. Also, take time to stop and check out the little, eclectic town of White Salmon.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my little armchair tour of these two mountain areas. I’m sure I’ll return to them again, soon.
©Peggy A Thompson