Distance: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 200 ft
Time: 3.5 hours
Weather: Perfect! Cold but not freezing. Still. Partly cloudy. It would have made a terrible day snowboarding but awesome for snowshoes.
Maps: Government Camp area map, does not include the loop trail
- Starting at the sno-park parking lot.
- Walked down the Trillium Access Road (2656), Connecting with Trillium Lake Road
- Follow the loop clockwise, staying on what feels like the "main road"
- Shortly after crossing the dam (2 miles from the trail head), find a small trail to the right, also labeled Trillium Loop Trail (761) strangely, this trail is not on most maps, including the map at the trail head and the USGS Topo map. It is in the book 60 Hikes within 60 Miles
- Follow this small trail hugging the lake- clockwise.
- At the day use area (noted by the outhouse) turn left
- Follow road through campground areas back to the main Trillium Loop.
- Turn left at Trillium Loop and return to Trillium Access Road.
This trip wasn't planned out well, at all! But it turned out just great despite lack of planning or maps. We'd intended to snowshoe at Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain a few miles west. But there wasn't a lot of snow at the trail head so we kept driving and ended up at Trillium Sno-Park.
Most of this route is on snow-covered roads, groomed for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. These roads are wide and well maintained and crowded. There is a pretty steep hill toward the beginning, on Trillium Access Road, but the remainder of the hike is flat.
Snowshoeing is a lot of fun and very easy. They say, "if you can walk, you can snowshoe". I agree. But I do have to admit I did fall down one time! I hadn't tightened the binding tightly around my toes and managed to trip myself. We all had a good laugh. Also, the walking gate of snowshoeing is slightly different than regular walking. You have to keep your feet farther apart and lift your feet farther off the ground. This becomes automatic after a few minutes, but it does work some different muscles. While normally 5 flat miles is easy for me, I found my body tired after this trip. One of our group had a lot of hip pain after about 3 miles. For the first snowshoe trip of the season, it might be beneficial to start with something shorter.
We rented snowshoes at a rental shop in sandy for $15. The rentals included poles as well. I'd brought my own poles and found them to be nearly more trouble than they're worth. I tend to trip over poles, especially on narrow trails.
In all we had a really fun day. I want to come back and see the lake again without the layer of ice!
View PDX Day Hiker in a larger map
Sno-park parking permit required. No water or bathrooms at the trail head.
$3 donation is recommended at the trail-head to support snow grooming.
What I said about these trails before: Trillium Lake Hikes, Mt Hood Hikes, Snowshoe Hikes
Other resources for this and other nearby hikes:
Trillium Lake Sno-park
Trillium Lake Day use area
Government Camp snow suggestions
60 Hikes within 60 Miles
Afoot & Afield Portland/Vancouver
Snowshoe Routes: Oregon
Have you been on this or a nearby trail? Please share your experience.