Little Crater and Timothy Lakes
When I was struggling to find time for a real hike for the second week in a row, I noticed a friend’s post on Facebook about Timothy Lake, a large lake southeast of Mount Hood which is a popular camping and boating spot. While the weather is really cooling off, and the mountain is again dusted by snow, this could be a good level ground hike.
The lake has a trail circumnavigating it which meaures about 13 miles, including a stretch on the Pacific Crest Trail. Unlike most area hikes, it is relatively flat. Last year, in a brilliant move, as I recovered from back surgery, I completed the loop. I started and ended my hike with the spur trail to and from Little Crater Lake, an tiny lake formed of artesian water from an unusual rift in the bedrock. My favorite spot on the Lake loop may be the area around an inlet stream on the southeast corner of Timothy Lake, where there is an open rocky area with views and a stream where otters played like they meant it.
There are other lovely spots, like the marshy area with a beaver lodge, or the pleasant woods of Meditation Point along the northwest side of the lake.
Most of the trail is uncrowded besides the few miles that travel near a few campgrounds along the south shore.
Even that section is pleasant, for it has the best views of Mount Hood, and there is usually the exuberance of children in the air. Then the trail crosses a dam and it heads back to the north and east. It is a dark forest and I cranked out the miles for the most part as I headed back towards Little Crater Lake.
I was happy to see the PCT trail junction, and soon thereafter, the meadow around the smaller lake. I hiked almost 14 miles in about 5 hours, and I was pleased with that. Today, I smile at the memory triggered, and I think about paying another visit to the area. It occurs to me that it could be an outstanding cross country ski loop, but road access could be an issue. Of course there are many places to hike, and I want to visit them all.