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Hagg Lake Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Wall Creek, Hagg Lake (bobcat)
Footbridge #2, Lake Trail, Hagg Lake (bobcat)
Douglas-fir woods near Sain Creek, Hagg Lake (bobcat)
West shore, Hagg Lake (bobcat)
Stimson Lumber Mill from the dam wall, Hagg Lake (bobcat)
Outline of the hiking route around Hagg Lake; road sections in orange (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Elks Picnic Area TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Scoggins Creek
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 13.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 520 feet
  • High Point: 380 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes, in short sections
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes, on weekends from mid-spring to fall

Contents

Description

The 13-mile loop around Hagg Lake in Scoggins Valley Park is a hike of decent length close to civilization which can also be done in short stretches. While the trail stays close to the lake shore, it is not level; rather it undulates considerably through the Douglas-fir/oak woodlands of these low foothills. The trail tread can be very slick and muddy in places during the wet seasons, so boots rather than tennis shoes are the recommended footwear. On several occasions, the trail joins the loop road around the lake to cross creeks on road bridges, and there are a few picnic areas and parking lots to cross. However, most of the time you will be hiking in forest with frequent vistas of the lake and the heavily managed timberlands of the hills around. The lake itself has been in existence since 1975, when the dam was constructed across Scoggins Creek by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Water from the lake is used by four cities in Washington County and also to augment the flow of the Tualatin River. From spring through most of fall, the park is also a major recreation destination and can be very crowded on weekends. There is an entry fee between the second week in March to the weekend before Thanksgiving. In the off-season, most restrooms are closed and the drinking water supply is shut off, but this is the best time to hike here in order to avoid the recreating crowds.

Note that there is a plan to raise the dam by 12 feet, which means water levels will also rise. Parts of the existing trail may be inundated and it is not clear what new trail construction will be needed. There is also a chance that this project may not go through because of costs related to seismic issues. A second option has been proposed to build another dam downstream from the current structure.

The lake is named after Henry Hagg, a dairy farmer of the early 20th century who was also active in promoting the interests of agriculture.

Walk north from the parking area along the guard rail next to West Shore Drive. Ignore trails leading down to the shore as they are dead ends. Reach the Rainbow View pullout and find the Lake Trail leading down into alder/maple/blackberry thickets just beyond this. Hike around the shore of a small inlet in mixed woodland of Douglas-fir, cedar, and maple with a sword fern and salal carpet. For the duration of the hike, you will encounter numerous spurs leading to the lake shore and out to the road. After undulating along for a while, you’ll drop down a road bed and then hike up a creek to cross a footbridge. Keep straight at a trail crossroads and reach an open field lined with Oregon white oak, Douglas-fir and grand fir. Pass under a large oak at the edge of another field and enter more mature Douglas-fir/maple forest. Hike in along another creek and then out to the lake again. Spurs lead to picnic tables. Reach a road bed and part of the disc golf course. Pass a shoreline meadow, one of several that have been seeded with wildflowers conducive to growing the population of the endangered Fender’s blue butterfly. A sign states this is an ‘Eco-sensitive area’ and asks you to keep out. Reach a large inlet and get a view across to the Sain Creek Picnic Area and Recreation Area C. Reenter a forest with many oaks and hike up a large inlet to cross Footbridge #3 under drooping cedars. Sain Creek rushes along bedrock down to the right. Reach West Shore Drive and go right to cross Sain Creek on the road bridge.

Walk along the guard rail and find the trail dropping down to the right. Proceed on an old road bed and reach the Sain Creek Picnic Area. Cross a small creek and take up a wide paved trail that leads past a covered picnic shelter. The Lake Trail resumes from here, entering Douglas-fir/oak forest with an understory of Indian plum and Oregon grape. Pass a three-trunked Douglas-fir with a massive base and then reach the huge parking area at Recreation Area C, with its boat ramp and Pacific University shed. The trail resumes near the fishing pier at the north end of this complex. Pass through thickets of wild rose and blackberry along the edge of an open field: the trail can be very muddy here! An arrow marker at a junction points you up the slope to switchback right into a Douglas-fir plantation. Keep right at a bench and drop through a grove of alders. Arrive close to the shore and get a view to the thicket of willows along Scoggins Creek, their bare branches bright yellow in the winter. The trail leads up to the road above an alder/cedar/willow bottomland. Cross the road bridge over Scoggins Creek above a lovely picnic area which is well-worth a stopover.

Keep to the road beyond the picnic area entrance road, heading uphill past a 35 mph sign. At the end of a guard rail, come to the wide parking area at Osprey Point. The trail resumes here, descending to a small picnic area and passing through a thicket of Scots broom. Cross Footbridge #10 and then another bridge over Wall Creek, which is verged with invasive reed canarygrass. Hike along an old road bed to reach a grove of oaks with a handful of old growth Douglas-firs, Pass through blackberry thickets and traverse a meadow below the road. At a crossroads near the Fenders Blue Trailhead, keep straight. Signs here explain the reintroduction of the small butterfly and the efforts to seed plants that will support its recovery. Switchback down in a grove of lichen-draped cherry and oak trees. Hike below a grassy slope and pass through a large thicket of Scots broom to reach the road again. Cross Tanner Creek, and pick up the trail again at a 45 mph sign.

The path works through a grassy area and then undulates above the shoreline of Hagg Lake in Douglas-fir/oak forest with a sword fern carpet. Cross another grassy expanse and then enter woods with a carpet of vinca. The trail rises and then passes across a vast meadow fringed with thickets of cherry. Hike along an inlet, passing picnic tables and a forest pond on the left. Cross Footbridge #14 in a shady cedar grove. The trail reaches the road at the Cedar Grove Trailhead, but a few yards later reenters the forest and runs above a deeply gullied creek. Then reach a road bed, where you hike under mossy maples. Rise and then drop down to another road bed, after which the trail undulates among snowberry and sword fern in mature Douglas-fir forest. Near the mouth of an inlet, reach a junction with the Interpretive Loop, which decends from the Woodpecker Trailhead. Signs along this short loop give information about the forest and its inhabitants. Continuing on the Lake Loop, Cross Footbridge #16 and reach a paved trail at Recreation Area A. Here there is an impressive grove of Douglas-firs.

Walk across the parking area here and, past the restrooms, find the trail resuming some yards up the entrance road. Drop to cross a creek and switchback up. Undulate along in more Douglas-fir/oak forest. Heading into another inlet, cross Footbridges #20 and 21. Above here is the new campground, opened in 2015. At the head of the creek, pass a trash can and walk down a road bed to reach a paved road. Here, at a concrete monument, there is a view of the dam wall and the Stimson Lumber Mill farther down the valley. Walk up the road and pick up the trail as it passes between two fences before reaching West Shore Drive. Walk the the path on the lake side of the guard rail back to the Elks Picnic Area Trailhead.

For a shorter hike, begin at any of the many pullouts or picnic areas on West Shore Drive or Scoggins Valley Road. This map shows all the pullouts.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $6 day-use fee (Season Pass also available)
  • Share trails with mountain bikers
  • Picnic areas, boat launches, restrooms, drinking water, information kiosks

Maps

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • 75 Hikes in Oregon's Coast Range and Siskiyous by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • Best Easy Day Hikes: Portland, Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests by the Sierra Club, Oregon Chapter
  • 50 Hikes in the Tillamook State Forest by the Tillamook State Forest Committee, Columbia Group Sierra Club
  • Mountain Biking Oregon: Northwest and Central Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Kissing the Trail by John Zilly
  • Mountain Biking: Portland by Scott Rapp
  • Exploring the Tualatin River Basin by Tualatin Riverkeepers
  • Oregon Coast Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Trail Running: Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Canine Oregon by Lizann Dungeon
  • Best Dog Hikes: Oregon edited by Falcon Guides

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.