Camping alongside a lake with views of Mount Hood – sounds pretty relaxing, right? Trillium Lake Campground, or just simply Trillium Campground, has 57 sites spread through an evergreen forest on the east side of Trillium Lake in Mount Hood National Forest. Trillium Lake is a 63-acre beauty just south of Mount Hood. The campground is a few miles from Government Camp and a 60-mile drive from Portland, Oregon.
Mount Hood rises mightily over northern shore of Trillium Lake. The campground is on the east side of the lake. To get clear views of Mount Hood above the lake, simply a follow Trillium Lake Trail a short way around to the south side of the lake. To compliment the views, the southern shore is home to a fishing pier and boat launch (the campground also has its own boat launch) as well as picnic sites. It is possible to spot Mount Hood through some of the tall conifers in the campground. Campers only have to walk about a tenth of a mile around Trillium Lake to see the mountain reflected in its water.
Trillium Lake Trail provides an easy 2-mile loop around the lake, passing right through the campground. Several paths connect campsites to the trail, so there’s not excuse not to go for a stroll. Inside a bend in the shoreline by the campground, find a 30-seat amphitheater that hosts camp programs and can also be reserved for day use.
Many campers also explore Trillium Lake in a kayak or paddleboard. Trillium Lake is a reservoir created by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who built a dam across Mud Creek in the 1960s and flooded a boggy area to form the lake. The northeast side of Trillium Lake is still pretty marshy, but the campground is on solid ground.
Trillium lake is very popular during the day, especially on warm, sunny weekends. People picnic and walk along the shore, fish for rainbow trout, and head out on the lake in small boats and inflatable rafts. As a camper, take time to enjoy the lake during “of peak hours.” Watch wisps of fog form above the still lake in the early morning. See the waters calm and the sky become colorful after sunset.
Of the 57 sites at Trillium Lake Campground, campers have a few styles of campsite to choose from. Most sites are standard non-electric and allow for 6 people and up to two vehicles with room for tents or an RV (the max vehicle length is 40 feet). Fourteen of these sites are tent only and not suitable for RVs.
Trillium Lake Campground has 7 group sites that allow for bigger parties of 12 people and a max of four vehicles. Three of these “double sites” or group sites are for tents only. Seven additional sites (sites 58-64) are located outside the campground near the dam on the opposite side of Trillium Lake.
Some sites can be obtained on a first-come first-serve basis, but Trillium Lake is a popular camping destination. It is best to book campsites in advance at recreation.gov.
The campground is open seasonally from mid-May to the end of September. Prices range from $22-45 per night for standard sites, up to $65-90 per night for group sites (prices as of 2020). An additional fee of $8 is charged for a second vehicle at a standard site or a third of fourth vehicle at a group site. Seniors and those with permanent disabilities can receive a 50% discount with the Interagency Golden Age / Golden Access Pass. The campground and day use area around Trillium Lake are operated by a concession.
Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire ring with a grill. Potable water spigots are located around the campgrounds. The bathrooms have vault toilets. The loop roads in the campground are paved and so are most of the parking surfaces (some are gravel). The elevation of Trillium Lake is around 3,600 feet above sea level. For more campground information, call the Zigzag Ranger District of Mount Hood National Forest. District at (503) 622-3191.
If you are staying at the campground and want to visit the day use area, it will be easiest to keep your vehicles parked at the campsites than to try to drive over to the day use area. A $5 fee is charged for anyone visiting Trillium Lake for the day, to use the picnic area, boat launch, and hiking trail. A Northwest Forest Pass can be used in place of the day use fee. Unfortunately, public lands passes like the “America the Beautiful” and “Golden Age” passes (that work in most national parks, monuments, and forests) are not accepted at the Trillium Lake Day Use Area. During the winter season from November 1 through April 30, the Northwest Forest Pass isn’t an acceptable pass either, and an Oregon Sno-Park Permit is needed to visit Trillium Lake to snowshoe or ski.
To get to the campground: From the west, take Highway 26 to Sandy. Drive another 30 miles up Highway 26 (Mount Hood Highway) to the east side of Government Camp. Make a right turn on to Trillium Lake Loop Road (Forest Road 2656). The exit is located on the south side of the highway, 1.4 miles after the road up to Timberline Lodge. Drive 1.5 miles down Trillium Lake Loop Road and turn right into the entrance of Trillium Lake Campground, which comes just before the intersection for Trillium Lake Day Use Area.
From the east, drive to the merger of Route 35 and Highway 26. Take Highway 26 west toward Government Camp. Make the first left, after 3/4 of a mile, onto Trillium Lake Loop Road (Forest Road 2656), following signs for Trillium Lake. Drive 1.4 miles down Trillium Lake Loop Road and turn right into the entrance of Trillium Lake Campground, which comes just before the intersection for Trillium Lake Day Use Area.
Campground address: Trillium Lake Road, Government Camp, OR 97028
Campground coordinates: 45.2707, -121.7345 (45° 16′ 14.5″N 121° 44′ 04.2″W)
Use the map below to create your own directions:
|Trillium Lake Trail|
This easy 2-mile hike circles the shores of a picturesque lake in the forest below Mount Hood.
|Mirror Lake Trail|
This 4.3-mile lollipop loop hike crosses forest streams and ascends to a small lake reflecting big views of Mount Hood.
|Old Salmon River Trail|
This hike of up to 5.1 miles explores a lush and lovely old-growth forest along the Salmon River in Mount Hood National Forest.
This 4.8-mile hike ascends to a panoramic landing with spectacular views across Columbia River Gorge (particularly at sunrise).
This easy and enticing 2.8-mile hike along Hood River crosses a catwalk atop a penstock flume pipeline.
|Mosier Twin Tunnels|
This 2 to 9.5-mile hike ventures up Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail to a pair of tunnels carved into basalt cliffs on the side of Columbia River Gorge.
|Eagle Creek Trail|
This 4.55-mile hike ventures up a beautiful and dramatic canyon to impressive waterfalls like Metlako Falls, Lower Punchbowl Falls, and Punchbowl Falls.
This 2-mile hike visits a sublime waterfall in a canyon within the Columbia River Gorge.
This 0.4 to 2.6-mile hike visits Oregon’s tallest (and probably most visited) waterfall, offering something to hikers of all abilities.
|More trails in Oregon|
Explore other hikes in the Columbia River Gorge and different regions of Oregon.