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Dark Lake Add-on Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View of Dark Lake from the rimrock (bobcat)
Cascades frog (Rana cascadae) at Long Lake (bobcat)
View of Long Lake (bobcat)
Route to Dark Lake (bobcat)
  • Start point: Olallie Lake-Long Lake Trail Junction
  • End Point: Dark Lake
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 2.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 250 feet
  • High Point: 4,950 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No



Note: As of 2017, a sign has been posted at the Olallie Lake end of the Long Lake Trail stating that only tribal members and authorized personnel can use the trail and access Long and Dark Lakes. Please respect this sign. Those lakes are now out of bounds until further notice.

You can do this hike as an in and out beginning along the east shore of Olallie Lake - from the day-use area, it's 1.4 miles to the Olallie Lake-Long Lake Trail Junction. You can also incorporate it into the Olallie and Monon Lakes Loop Hike. In any case, you will probably begin at the Olallie Lake Trailhead. The two lakes you will be visiting are on the Warm Springs Reservation and offer more solitude than the larger lakes. To fish in these lakes, however, you will need a Warm Springs fishing permit.

From the unsigned Olallie Lake-Long Lake Trail Junction, go left. Pass an almost dry pond and then head down on a fairly rugged but logged-out trail to the shore of Long Lake. Among the scorched snags, huckleberry bushes glow a fiery red in the early fall. A sign T-12 on a tree designates this a Warm Springs trail. Walk along the north shore of Long Lake. Wildflowers bloom along the shores and butterflies flit in abundance on a sunny day. At the end of Long Lake, there’s a fire circle and a scratched direction on a stone saying go right for Dark Lake. Head along the shore of Long Lake and cross its dry but rocky outlet channel. Then a narrow trail heads up the slope to a rim and you can see Dark Lake down below. It sits below a couple hundred feet of rimrock, but fire has charred the forest all around it.

You can head right, scrambling among downed snags along the rim, and sometimes locating an old viewpoint tread. From this vantage point, you can see shallow Island Lake beyond Dark Lake. Keep on the main trail to head down steeply to Dark Lake. There is a dead-end trail along part of the west shore and the main trail leads along the north shore of Dark Lake to Island Lake and then the campground area at Trout Lake. There is supposed to be great brook trout fishing here.

Return the way you came to the Olallie Lake Trailhead or continue on the Olallie Lake Trail to complete the Olallie and Monon Lakes Loop Hike.

Note: This trail requires annual maintenance because of numerous toppled snags. Early in the summer, you might find a lot of downed trees on the trail, but it is usually cleared by August.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • No swimming in Olallie Lake (humans or dogs)
  • Warm Springs issues fishing permits for Long, Dark, Island, Trout, and Boulder Lakes ($10/day). Overnight camping only at Trout Lake, which has a road to it.


  • 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

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Oregon: The Creaky Knees Guide by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Hiking Oregon's Central Cascades by Bruce Grubbs
  • Hiking Oregon's Three Sisters Country by Bruce Grubbs
  • The Olallie Scenic Area Guidebook by Tony George

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.