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Laurance Lake High Ridge Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Laurance Lake and Mt. Hood from the Laurance Lake High Loop Trail (bobcat)
Trail kiosk, Laurance Lake High Loop Trail (bobcat)
Heading up in coniferous forest, Laurance Lake High Loop Trail (bobcat)
On 1612-640 (Bear Creek Road), Laurance Lake High Loop (bobcat)
The switchbacking route up to the ridge north of Laurance Lake (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Clear Branch Dam TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Laurance Ridge Viewpoint
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 6.6 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 1170 feet
  • High point: 4,015 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer into fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

The Laurance Lake High Loop Trail #632 is not actually a loop but a proposal by mountain biker groups. The plan was that the switchbacking Trail #632 would join with Bear Creek Road, which descends to the Clear Branch Road. Riders could then cycle back along Laurance Lake to the Clear Branch Dam Trailhead to complete the loop. The proposal was taken off the table with the addition of acreage to the Mt. Hood Wilderness under the 2009 Omnibus Public Land Management Act: this put the Bear Creek Road below the Laurance Rim and the west end of Clear Branch Road into wilderness, and both routes are now decommissioned. The survivor of all this, however, is the switchbacking trail that leads up from Laurance Lake to the rim above. From here, there are expansive views across to the north slopes of Mount Hood as well as plentiful huckleberries in season, a worthy excursion as part of a day at Laurance Lake!

Walk along the dam wall, getting a view up the burned slopes of the 2011 Dollar Fire to the now exposed Pinnacle. At the north end of the dam, drop down to your right to a kiosk and the beginning of the Laurance Lake High Loop Trail #632. Traverse up the slope in a shady mixed forest of Douglas-fir, cedar, grand fir, vine maples, and chinquapin. Switchback to the bottom of the talus slope, and then switchback again. Make five switchbacks up to a talus slope with a commanding view of Mount Hood and its north slope glaciers: from left to right Langille, Coe, Ladd, Glisan, and Sandy. Hike up five more switchbacks to another great view of the mountain. Now you’re in ponderosa pine territory. Nine more switchbacks will take you to the rim in a carpet of vanilla leaf and snowberry.

Undulate along the ridge crest here in a thinned forest. You may be able to glimpse Mount Adams and Mount Rainier through the trees. Mountain hemlock, western white pine, western larch, and noble fir enter the forest mix. The trail drops through an understory of manzanita, bear-grass, chinquapin, bracken, and huckleberry. Ascend a slope to reach the decommissioned Bear Creek Road (FR 1612-640).

Go left here along a crest. Sitka alder, lodgepole pine, and bitter cherry crowd the road bed, which becomes single track for a while. Pass a campsite, and plunge through a thicket of alder to cross two berms and reach the Laurance Ridge Viewpoint, where the Bear Creek Road has slid down the slope. Here again, there are wide open views down to Laurance Lake and across to the north face of Mount Hood.

You can find trip reports (See below) of hikers who have done the cross-country traverse to Perry Lake. You will need to cross the slide and keep to the rim most of the way. Old logging roads form a path in places, but there are many young conifers and much blowdown. When you reach a low ridge, angle up to the right to connect with the Perry Lake Road.


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area
  • Adventure Maps: Hood River, Oregon, Trail Map
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Hood River Ranger District
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood

Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • none

More Links


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.