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Catalpa Lake Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Catalpa Lake (bobcat)
Western rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum) at Catalpa Lake (bobcat)
Historic artifact, Catalpa Lake (bobcat)
Catalpa Lake hike route (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Catalpa Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Catalpa Lake
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 1.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 150 feet
  • High Point: 4,195 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Summer through Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes, if you want to stay overnight at the lake
  • Crowded: No



Little Catalpa Lake lies nestled below a scree slope on the Frog Lake Buttes. It's a short hike in, good for those with young children or fishermen who plan to stay all day. If you want a longer approach, try the Catalpa Lake via Bonney Meadows Trail Hike. According to Lewis A. and Lewis L. McArthur's Oregon Geographic Names, the lake was named by a "fish-planting crew" around 1950. Catalpa trees (Catalpa sp.) are native to the east and south of the United States, and other species live in the Caribbean and east Asia. They are popular deciduous flowering trees in gardens and one would assume that one of the "fish planters" from the Oregon State Game Commission had a fondness for them, thus introducing a "non-native" name into the wilderness.

The Catalpa Lake Trail #535 uses an old road bed for its initial course. Rhododendrons and huckleberry form the understory. The path drops off the road bed and enters the Mt. Hood Wilderness (This section was added under the Mt. Hood Wilderness Act of 2009). Cross Green Lake Creek before the trail rises gently and then drops among mountain hemlock, Douglas-fir, silver fir, and western white pine. Arrive at Catalpa Lake, which is backed by a scree slope below the Frog Lake Buttes. You can head right around the lakeshore and reach a campsite with an historic thunderbox. Watch the resident rough-skinned newts floating about in the waters. There is no trail all around the lake, but you can bushwhack through the rhododendrons to make the circuit. Unfortunately, there are some rather unhistoric camp leavings among the rhododendrons.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • none


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Mt. Wilson, OR #494
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Hood River Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • 105 Virtual Hikes of the Mt. Hood National Forest by Northwest Hiker

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.