Goofy name, yes, but a nice mountain that is the nearest to Hood from the south. Mirror Lake is about a third of the way up it which is a popular camping and swimming area in the summer. Awesome views of Hood and a popular hike in the summer to the false summit. This hike is best avoided on summer weekends when it can be very crowded. It is a very worthwhile winter snowshoe venture though. It gets its name from its three distinct summits.
You begin from Highway 26 which separates this mountain and Mt. Hood and it's an easy hike to Mirror Lake. From there you can see the summit ridge and some cliffs. The hike then goes west and switchbacks to the east along the summit ridge. The trail ends at 4920 feet at a viewpoint on the westernmost summit. Technically, the other two are off limits to protect peregrine falcon habitat but in winter they are not there. The true summit is the middle peak which is about 150 feet higher and maybe a half mile further east on the summit ridge but you have to bushwhack to it as there is no trail.
Click on this link for a sumemrtime hiking loop option.
A winter route option.
Click on this link for an overview of the hike and some photos from various spots along the hike.
Getting ThereTake Highway 26 from the Portland area east to between mileposts 51 and 52 which is about 2 miles west of Government Camp. Park on the south side of the highway in a Snow Park area where you see a small wooden footbridge. There's usually other cars here.
Red TapeYou need a Northwest Forest Pass to park at the trailhead. These can be obtained from local outdoor stores or Ranger Districts and are $30 for a yearly pass. In addition, since this is a Snow Park area, you need a Snow Park Pass from November 15 through April 30. Beware of where you park in winter also as this is a popular chain-up area for cars travelling east over the Pass and you can get boxed in for a while.
Please note that when the shoulder of the road at the trailhead is plowed through in the winter, it can effectively eliminate the parking area. ODOT will post No Parking-Tow Away Zone signs and WILL tow your car if parked there. In this case, you will have to head further east on Hwy 26 and park at the Snow-Park on the left (north) side of the road (get your parking pass at local Government Camp store, there are several there-cost $5 per day). You'll then have to walk down busy Highway 26 about 1/2 mile back to the trailhead. There has been some discussion between ODOT and the Forest Service to move the trailhead to somewhere around Ski Bowl permanently but nothing concrete yet.
As stated above the true summit is technically off limits to protect peregrine falcon falcon habitat. There are also restrictions around Mirror Lake as far as camping goes as some areas are roped off to allow plants to regrow due to overuse.
When To ClimbYear-round although the trail is a bit harder in winter as there is one avalanche area on the western traverse of the climb above Mirror Lake. The area gets heavy snow in winter and the trail can be blocked by trees bent across it heavy with snow.
CampingThere are 6 designated campsites around Mirror Lake. Do not camp on the shore.
Mountain ConditionsZigzag Ranger District
The summit is about 1000 feet below Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood roughly 6 miles to the north so I think the Timberline Lodge Cam located on that mountain's page would work well. Click here to get to the main Timberline Lodge website, then click, "conditions", then "KGW webcam".
Also, since a popular local ski area called Skibowl is located on the far eastern slopes of this mountain, click on this link to locate a webcam for this more closer area.
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