Timothy Lake is located in the Mt. Hood National Forest, approximately 1.5-2 hours southeast of Portland. Managed by Portland General Electric in conjunction with the Forest Service, the lake features scenic views of Mt. Hood on clear days.
Available for recreation use for camping ($26/night) as well as day use ($10), the area is popular for camping, hiking, cycling, paddling, and other water activities. (there is also equestrian use on some of the multi-use trails, with most riders departing from the equestrian camp sites.)
A popular family destination, one of the highlights of the Timothy Lake area is the multi-use trail system that encompasses the lake. Depending on whether you’re on foot or by bike, the route ranges 12-15+ miles. For cyclists, the most popular route is the Timothy Lake Loop. With the Pacific Crest Trail passing through the area, the route for cycling extends around it, and adds a bit of additional mileage. With the mild trail surface, it is a popular trail for novice cyclists, offering scenic views and numerous opportunities for swimming or cooling off.
For the most part, it’s a mostly green trail with occasional blue (intermediate) sections, though an intermediate level of fitness is recommended for cyclists aiming to complete the full loop. The trails are well signed and for the most part, easy to navigate, though in a recent excursion I found myself on segments I didn’t recognize from the trail map. That said, I was in exploration mode, and my eventual total distance of 17.3 miles made things interesting. (I would have used an app like MTB Project, had I been riding with less fit or inexperienced cyclists)
Due to being a bit more remote, our favorite way to experience Timothy Lake is to camp, and bring both bikes and paddle boards. Though there are more exciting paddling and trail riding destinations, the highlights of the Timothy Lake experience is being able to leisurely enjoy multiple types of recreation with companions of all skill and fitness levels.
Day use requires a $10 daily vehicle permit or a valid annual Northwest Forest Pass.
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