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  • Writer's picturekari @ pnw kids

Clear Lake, Mt. Hood, Oregon

Looking to beat the heat in one of Mt. Hood's many alpine lakes? Below is our review of Clear Lake in Mt. Hood's National Forest.

Clear Lake, Mt. Hood, PNW Kids
Clear Lake, Mt. Hood

Clear Lake is in Mt. Hood's National Forest near Maupin , ( a few miles past Timberline Lodge and Trillium Lake). We loved that the lake was fairly shallow for at least 10 FT out ( that's as far as we explored) and in some parts, it's very clear.

There are nice trails that go around the lake on well maintained and compact single track. There are also a variety of campgrounds and bathrooms available around the lake. On a nice summer day, Clear Lake can be very crowded which pushed us further away from the main parking lot when deciding where we should settle in. We recommend you arrive early to get the best spots. 

Clear Lake Mt Hood, PNW Kids
Clear Lake, Mt Hood

We took the first right before the main day parking area and traveled around a gravel road that loops around the lake for about 20 minutes in search of a less crowded spot. We ended up playing near a more primitive campground area, which we felt wasn't the best choice for little kids. Here the lake was muddy and swampy compared to other parts of the lake that are crystal clear and blue. We ended up heading back to the day parking area and finding a little spot with better water.


  • Clear water, big open water, relaxing alpine experience ( if you find the right spot). Kids will have lots of fun swimming at Clear Lake!

  • Lots of other families at the Clear Lake, enjoying the shallow cool water.

  • We saw some cool wildlife, including salamanders and some beautiful birds.

  • Some nice trails that are easy for kids to enjoy.

  • Clear Lake is great for fishing ( rainbow trout or brook trout) , canoeing or stand up paddle boarding ( SUP).


  • On the day we went, the weather at Clear Lake was really hot with little to no wind. This made the bugs and mosquitoes more annoying than usual.

  • Because we did not arrive earlier, we wasted about 40 minutes figuring out where we should park and what part of the lake we should settle into.

  • The lake "beach" areas near the main visitor parking lot has little to no shade. The trees are further up from the beach and if you want to sit under some shade, you're fairly far away from the water's edge.

  • It was CROWDED because it was such a nice day. If you're willing to be more adventurous and travel a bit further, you can find less populated areas on the opposite side of Clear Lake.

Have you been to Clear Lake at Mt Hood? What did you think? Add your thoughts on this adventure to help our community of adventurous PNW families! Let us know in the comments below!

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