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Dry Fir Trail to Veda Lake Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mt. Hood Viewpoint, Veda Lake Trail (bobcat)
Rhododendron alley, Dry Fir Trail (bobcat)
Golden chinquapin (Chrysolepis chrysophylla), Dry Fir Trail (bobcat)
South shore, Veda Lake (bobcat)
The hike to Veda Lake via the Dry Fir Trail (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Dry Fir TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Veda Lake
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 8.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1660 feet
  • High Point: 4,715 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Not on the Dry Fir section



The Dry Fir Trail is a recently constructed trail for hikers and mountain bikers that allows the former a longer hike to the tranquillity of Veda Lake (See the Veda Lake Hike). Since the path was created for bikers, it ascends rather gradually up a slope in the Sherar Burn, with wide, looping switchbacks. In addition to Veda Lake access, the trail offers two other major delights: a stunning rhododendron display in late June/early July and a bounty of black huckleberries – the most delicious kind – at the top end of the trail below the Dry Fir-Fir Tree Trail Junction. Be warned, though, that the Veda Lake area is a mosquito haven in early summer!

The hike begins in a clearcut regenerating with a smorgasbord of montane conifer species. Rhododendrons and huckleberries dominate the understory. The trail drops on an old road bed to a skunk-cabbage/red alder swamp. Head up on the old road and cross a small brook. Enter an unlogged forest of Douglas-fir and western hemlock, and traverse gently upward through the rhododendrons. Make the first of ten gentle, curved switchbacks. Silver fir, western white pine, noble fir, and even a few Engelmann spruce and western larch enter the forest mix. The forest becomes more open and then, at switchback #9, enters a former clearcut and begins a long traverse vegetated with bear-grass, rhododendron, vine maple, golden chinquapin, and huckleberry. The latter ripen in August and densely line the trail for excellent pickings; the chinquapin blooms at the same time and fills the air with a sweet-musky odor. There are glimpses through the trees of Mount Jefferson to the south. From the 10th switchback, the trail makes another long traverse, also with an excellent huckleberry harvest. Finally, enter a shady silver fir/mountain hemlock forest and pass several campsites at a sign for the Dry Fir Trail. This is also the junction with the Fir Tree Trail #674, which no longer appears on Forest Service maps. Swing right here and reach the camping/picnic area at the Fir Tree Trailhead.

Cross the Sherar Burn Road and pick up Trail #673 to Veda Lake. The trail rises, sometimes steeply, in mountain hemlock, noble fir, silver fir forest with a huckleberry and bear-grass understory. Wind up, and then veer left. Hike on the level, and then rise among larger mountain hemlocks and silver firs. The trail then begins to drop in a slope forest of silver fir and bear-grass to reach a spectacular view to Mount Hood rising high above Multorpor Mountain. The Veda Lake Trail heads down to the left from this viewpoint and switchbacks five times down to the lake. Keep going clockwise around the lake, passing a spur to some campsites. Cross a couple of streams leading down to the lake – Veda Lake is recessed and appears to have no outlet: this is really through some springs issuing from the slope below the lip to the north. The south shore of the lake is crowded with willow, alder, and thimbleberry. You can push your way through here to complete your circumnavigation, or return the way you came.

Veda Lake is named after Vern Rogers and Davis Donaldson (Ve-Da), two ODFW rangers who stocked the lake with its first population of trout in 1917.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • none


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Dry Fir Trail #674A (USFS)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North
  • 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 hike

  • none

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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.