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Blue Lake Park Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Wetland area, Blue Lake Regional Park (bobcat)
Entrance to the Lake House, Blue Lake Regional Park (bobcat)
Pink water lily, Blue Lake (bobcat)
Shoreline, Blue Lake Regional Park (bobcat)
Loop around Blue Lake Regional Park (bobcat)
  • Start point: Blue Lake Park TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Nicháqwli Monument
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 2.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 30 feet
  • High Point: 30 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes


Hike Description

Blue Lake Regional Park has been an urban picnic and play destination for 90 years. As such, those seeking solitude should avoid it, especially on summer weekends. However, at quieter times of the year, or mid-week in the summer, it is a fine destination for families with small children. The many facilities are complemented by a trail which follows the lakeshore, explores a small wetland and sculpture garden, and loops back. The lake itself is a natural lake fed by springs, as is its twin Fairview Lake. Note that pets are not permitted here and Metro, the park's current custodian, does not allow young children to swim in the lake.

Head back along the exit road from the parking area (east) towards the Lake House, a home which Metro rents for special events. The path leads into the parking area by the house. Walk past the house and onto its lawn. A path leads down through the ivy to a sidewalk by the lake. Turn right here. Waterlilies and pink lotus bloom in rafts on the lake in the summer. Go around the walkway on the fishing dock and admire the Interlachen mansions on the other side of the lake. A path leads up past the boat concession and then along the shore. Pass a small grassy peninsula and reach the swimming beach (Both fishing and swimming can be banned sometimes in the summer because of algae blooms). From here, head up past the changing rooms and find another path continuing west. Reach another play area with a water fountain and also a flower garden. From here, the path is shaded by maples, Oregon ash and cottonwoods. There’s a large field on the right. The paved trail bends around to the right and reaches a trail junction.

Here, go left and zigzag into the wetland area. There’s a platform over a pond. Continuing to the left, we take a boardwalk and then cross a graveled maintenance road. The path nears the shore of Blue Lake with a small slough on the right and then loops to the right under white alders at the Nicháqwli Monument, which commemorates the lives of the Chinook Indians. After admiring this sculpture garden, follow the paved trail through a wooded patch of Douglas-fir, hemlock, ash, willow, and cottonwood and recross the maintenance road. There’s another boardwalk above a lily-covered slough and a pair of quacking mallards. Complete the wetland loop and head back to the main trail, where you can go left on a gravel maintenance track.

This track passes the archery area and becomes a paved road, heading east down an avenue of cherry trees with the vast field to the right. Stay on the road, keeping straight at a junction for the central parking area and pass the park’s offices. There’s another field and group picnic areas to the right as the road curves right and parallels Blue Lake Road. Turn right at the sign for the Chinook Picnic Area and head across to the smaller parking area.

For a longer stroll, connect with the 40-mile Loop paved trail along Marine Drive, which is just north of the park.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $5 daily entry fee (no fee for pedestrians or cyclists)
  • No pets allowed
  • Park open 8:00 a.m. to sunset
  • Children under 5 not permitted to swim in the lake; use the water play area
  • Many wheelchair accessible facilities
  • Trout fishing in the lake


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Urban Trails: Portland by Eli Boschetto

More Links


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.