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Olallie and Monon Lakes Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mt. Jefferson early in the morning at Olallie Lake (pdxgene)
View of Mangriff Lake (bobcat)
Footbridge at Monon Lake (pdxgene)
Male red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) at Monon Lake (bobcat)
Mountain ash and Olallie Butte from Olallie Lake (bobcat)
Route around Olallie and Monon Lakes (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Olallie Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Monon Lake
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Double Loop
  • Distance: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 150 feet
  • High Point: 4,970 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Description

Trails keep close to the shores of the two largest lakes in the Olallie Lake Scenic Area, with a short road section at Monon Lake and a longer section on FR 4220 (Skyline Road) along the west shore of Olallie Lake, allowing the hiker to make a pleasant double loop. You will get great views of Olallie Butte and Mount Jefferson and the tranquil lakes offer several small inlets and peninsulas as well as wetlands, coniferous woodland, and delicious huckleberries, especially along the east shores of the lakes, in late summer ("Olallie" means huckleberry in Chinook Jargon). The Olallie Lakes area was covered by an ice sheet during the Pleistocene Epoch, and the various lakes fill depressions carved by glacial ice. The middle part of the hike, encompassing the south shore of Olallie Lake and the north shores of Monon Lake, was scorched by a fire in 2001. No swimming is allowed in Olallie Lake and motorboats are not permitted on either lake.

Cross FR 4220 to the day-use area, where there’s a great view across the dock area to Mount Jefferson. Walk a short stretch under conifers and past the historic Olallie Ranger Station to the Olallie Lake Resort Store, where you can purchase a good map of the area. Then, head down the shore on a logged-lined trail below the cabins. Olallie Butte looms above. The trail heads into the Paul Dennis Campground, shaded by mountain hemlock, subalpine fir, silver fir, lodgepole pine, and Alaska yellow-cedar. Look for Trail #731, which heads into the woods from Campsite #15. There’s an understory of huckleberry and grouseberry. Pass a walk-in campsite, head up into the 2001 burn and then down into the woods. Bear-grass becomes part of the carpet here. Reach the unsigned Olallie Lake-Long Lake Trail Junction in what is officially the Warms Springs Reservation. As of 2017, a sign has been posted stating that only tribal members and authorized personnel can use the Long Lake Trail.

The trail enters the burn again and passes a small lake on the left. Walk along the Olallie Lake shore with great views of Twin Peaks to the north. Pass Nep-te-pa Lake, with its sprinkling of water lilies, on your left. Reach the sign for Trail #732 at the Olallie Lake-Monon-Olallie Lake Trail Junction, and go left above Nep-te-pa Lake. See small Mangriff Lake on the right. There are great views of Olallie Butte from here. The trail reaches the Monon Lake-Monon-Olallie Lake Trail Junction at Monon Lake.

Go left here on the Monon Lake Trail #729 and pass a long pond. Walk along planks and a boardwalk going through a bog. Deep blue gentians bloom here in early fall. The trail exits the burn. Engelmann spruce is more common in this area. There are more planks in boggy spots before you pass a campsite on the right. A spur leads right across a meadow to a peninsula. Keep right at the next junction and reach FR 4220. Go right and hike along the road, which passes near the shore and has many pullouts with campfire circles. After 0.3 miles, the signed Monon Lake Trail #729 resumes at the Monon Lake Trailhead and heads along the lakeshore on planks through a blueberry/gentian bog. There are more views of Olallie Butte. There’s a bridge over a channel that joins Monon with one of its former arms. The trail heads through more huckleberries and white rhododendrons. A spur leads right to a peninsula. Reach the Monon Lake-Monon-Olallie Lake Trail Junction again and go left for the short hike to the Olallie Lake-Monon-Olallie Lake Trail Junction, where you go left again.

The trail keeps close to the lakeshore and then reaches the Peninsula Campground. From here, join the campground road and pass the James A. Potter Memorial Theater. Follow the campground road and then go right down the spur to the Group Camp area. A trail leads off to the left along the lakeshore to reach Camp Ten and the main road. The dusty road, FR 4220, heads above the shore and then a recently maintained, flagged route, rather rough, drops down to the shore. This rejoins the road later, but drops off, unmaintained but flagged, on a section along the north shore. Head back to the road and go right into the day-use area.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • No swimming in Olallie Lake (humans or dogs)

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
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • Best Short Hikes in Northwest Oregon by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • Hiking Mount Hood National Forest by Marcia Sinclair
  • The Olallie Scenic Area Guidebook by Tony George
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon Campgrounds Hiking Guide by Rhonda & George Ostertag (Monon Lake only)

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.