Crystal Clear to Its Very Bottom: Little Crater Lake

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Timothy Lake

Mid November, 28 degrees, foggy, but a promise of blue skies later in the day.

I was standing 15 miles south of Mt. Hood in  a large sub-alpine meadow near the Little Crater Lake Campground. In a short distance I reached the Lake, 100 feet wide, 45 feet deep and crystal blue to its very bottom where an artesian spring feeds the lake.

Soon I came to the Pacific Coast Trail. After hiking about one-half mile I began the 12-mile loop around Timothy Lake. Taking a short bushwhack to a large meadow, I surprised a small group of bald eagles joined by many ravens. Clearly there was a dead animal nearby but I didn’t find it.

The magnificent view of Mt. Hood reflected in Timothy Lake has been the source of a multitude of magazine covers over the years. I was lucky enough to catch the peak just before the lenticular clouds covered it up.

At the ten-mile mark, I took a side detour to Mediation Point on the north side of the Lake.

Is there a nicer hike in the fall?

Mt. Hood reflected in Timothy Lake

Bald Eagle

View from Mediation Point

Crystal-clear Little Crater Lake

Timothy Lake

A cold morning at the trailhead

Part of the hydroelectric system on Timothy Lake



Categories: Oregon Cascades HikesTags: , ,


  1. I thought the trail around Timothy lake was closer to 2 miles than 12. Is this another trail?

  2. What an incredible hike and stunning views. I’m curious about the hydroelectric system in the lake. Do you know how that works and who built it? Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    • In the mid-1950s Timothy Lake was created to provide additional storage for Portland General Electric. Before it was flooded, the area was a large sub-alpine meadow used by sheepherders to graze their flocks.
      In the summer months, Timothy Lake is maintained full to provide recreation opportunities. During the rest of the year, the Lake is managed to capture rain and snow melt for peak operation of the Oak Grove hydroelectric plant further down the Oak Grove River.
      Hop you had a great Thanksgiving Day too Sandy.

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