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Fish Lake-Si Lake Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View of Fish Lake, Olallie Lake Scenic Area (bobcat)
Squirrel Creek, between Fish and Surprise Lakes (bobcat)
Western spiraea (Spiraea douglasii), Si Lake (bobcat)
Route of the Fish Lake Trail, Olallie Lake Scenic Area (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Lower Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Si Lake
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 5.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 805 feet
  • High Point: 4,835 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Description

Fish Lake is the largest lake in the Olallie area that cannot be reached by road. It sits in a pronounced bowl, carved during the Pleistocene glaciation, and begins a string of three lakes (Surprise Lake and Si Lake are the next ones you will visit). Some of the biggest trees in the Olallie Lake Scenic Area thrive around Fish Lake, which, at three miles round-trip, is a great destination in itself for a leisurely family hike.

Take the Fish Lake Trail #717 from the parking area at the Lower Lake Campground. Head up a rise among silver fir, huckleberry, grouseberry, and bear-grass. The trail soon drops under lodgepole pine, silver fir, mountain hemlock and western white pine. Reach Lower Lake and amble along its northern shore. There are campsites at the far end before you cross a creek. At the Fish Lake-Lodgepole Trail Junction, keep straight.

The trail begins to descend to the rim of an escarpment. There’s a view through tall mountain hemlocks down to Fish Lake. Pass a boulder field on your left, switchback twice, traverse down, noting a large Douglas-fir up to the left, and make three more switchbacks through a vanilla leaf carpet. Cross a creek and come under some very large Douglas-firs accompanied by some equally impressive silver and noble firs. The largest trees are down near the lakeshore. Walk along the west shore of Fish Lake. There is a large campsite at the lake's northeast corner if you plan to spend the night.

At the end of the lake, the trail joins an old road bed. Squirrel Creek runs through lush old growth to the right. Reach berms that don’t quite prevent ATV incursions and come under power lines in a scrappy lodgepole pine woodland. Cross the gravel powerline access road and keep straight over another series of berms. You will note more Engelmann spruce in the forest mix here. The trail levels and you come to the Fish Lake-Surprise Lake Trail Junction. Go right here to see Surprise Lake, a long, quiet body of water studded with water lilies.

Back on the main trail, head gently uphill and then drop to Si Lake. Cross a creek among a thicket of western spiraea on the right side of the lake, pass a campsite and reach another creek. If you were to head out to Forest Road 4691-120, it's only about a quarter mile away. Otherwise, return the way you came to the Lower Lake Trailhead.

Note: The trail can also be accessed from the north on FR 4691-120. However, there is a washout on that road which will prevent most passenger vehicles from accessing the trailhead. The walk along the road from the washout to the trailhead is less than a mile.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • none

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Breitenbush, OR #525
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Olallie Scenic Area
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Clackamas River Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region by Matt Reeder
  • Hiking Oregon's Central Cascades by Bruce Grubbs
  • Hiking Oregon's Three Sisters Country by Bruce Grubbs
  • Best Short Hikes in Northwest Oregon by Rhonda and George Ostertag
  • Portland Hikes by Art Bernstein and Andrew Jackman
  • 62 Hiking Trails: Northern Oregon Cascades by Don and Roberta Lowe
  • The Olallie Scenic Area Guidebook by Tony George

More Links


Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.