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Enid Lake via Pioneer Bridle Trail Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Enid Lake (bobcat)
Wagon route off the Pioneer Bridle Trail on Laurel Hill (bobcat)
Territorial Stage Road on Laurel Hill (bobcat)
CCC wall, Pioneer Bridle Trail (bobcat)
Horse tunnel under the Mt. Hood Loop Highway, Pioneer Bridle Trail (bobcat)
Pioneer Bridle and adjacent trails (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Pioneer Bridle Laurel Hill TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Enid Lake
  • Hike type: In and out
  • Distance: 9.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1570 feet
  • High point: 3695 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes, for older kids
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No



The Pioneer Bridle Trail heads up north of Rhododendron, crosses Highway 26, and then switchbacks up the slopes of Laurel Hill to Government Camp. Hiking up here, one is granted the experience of treading on, or near, a succession of five passageways representative of the history of ground transportation in the state: the Barlow Road, part of the Oregon Trail (completed in 1846); the Territorial Stage Road (1866), the first two-way road on the mountain; the Mt. Hood Loop Highway (1925); the Pioneer Bridle Trail (constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s on or near the track of the first two); and federal Highway 26 (1959), which provides the hiker with background noise for most of the walk.

The Pioneer Bridle Trail #795 heads into a woodland of big-leaf maple, Douglas-fir, western hemlock, western red-cedar, rhododendron, and salal. In a few yards, it makes an abrupt turn to the right, with a decommissioned section coming from Highway 26 blocked by a barrier. The wide track, popular with mountain bikers, begins on the level, but soon reaches a mossy slope and makes four switchbacks up. You can see where the Bridle Trail has made wider switchbacks around the Stage Road. The trail traverses up and levels along a slope with views across to Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain. The path rises again and then reaches a level spot at a mossy saddle.

You can continue around the ridge to the right, but look to your left for flagging and orange paint spots on trees. It is worth taking the diversion through here, as these markers follow the route of the Oregon Trail. Pass a mossy camp area and reach a sign tacked onto a tree stating “Original wagon route.” Rise up a steep slope: Sam Barlow was not an engineer, but he could cut down trees; he built his road up and along ridges, avoiding the need to make fills and cuttings, and kept away from side slopes where wagons could tip easily. The route here is not a boot trail, but the markings help guide your way and the wagon ruts are obvious in places. Head along a ridge and then drop down past an Oregon Trail marker post and reach the Bridle Trail again.

Go left here and continue downhill on the Stage Road, and then rise along a scree slope flaming with vine maple in the fall. Pass a split rail fence around a mineshaft right next to the trail. The trail drops past a junction with another segment of the Barlow Road, which heads out to Highway 26 (Unfortunately, you can no longer access the Laurel Hill Chute Loop Hike from here since a chain link fence and concrete wall median have been installed on the highway). Pass the junction with a trail coming up on the left from the old Barlow Campground area. The trail heads along a stone retainer wall and then under an abandoned stretch of the Mt. Hood Loop Highway through a horse tunnel (If you want to do the Little Zigzag Falls Hike from here, walk down the road to the Little Zigzag Falls Trailhead).

Continue up the trail from the tunnel passing signs for a buried cable line and coming very close to Highway 26. Walk along a level section hemmed in by rhododendron and huckleberry bushes. Silver fir and noble fir enter the forest mix here. Cross a skunk-cabbage creek on a sturdy footbridge and rise gradually to reach the Pioneer Bridle-Enid Lake Loop Trail Junction. Go left here and wind up through a thick understory of huckleberry. Cross more skunk-cabbage bogs on footbridges and veer right along the base of a slope. You will get to the Crosstown-Enid Lake Loop Trail Junction, where you go right. Pass a large cedar and drop to cross a footbridge. Enid Lake appears to your right as you head around to an access point on its southeast shore, vegetated with spiraea, bulrushes, and willow. On a good day, Mount Hood pokes above the treetops opposite.

From Enid Lake, drop gradually down to the Pioneer Bridle-Crosstown Trail Junction with its map of ski trails in the area. Near here is also the Glacier View Sno-Park, located on the old Mt. Hood Loop Highway. The trail drops past another signed section of the Barlow Road, crosses a creek on a footbridge, and reaches the Pioneer Bridle-Enid Lake Loop Trail Junction. Return the way you came from here.

Note: This could be done as a hike and bike by leaving a bicycle at the Glacier View Sno-Park, from which you can cycle down the old highway (no vehicles) to Little Zigzag Falls and then back to Highway 26.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Share trail with mountain bikers and horses


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area
  • Green Trails: Government Camp, OR #461
  • Geo-Graphics: Mount Hood Wilderness Map
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest North
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood Wilderness

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hiking Mount Hood: A Year-Round Guide by Eli Boschetto
  • Best Hikes Near Portland by Fred Barstad
  • 100 Hikes: Northwest Oregon by William L. Sullivan
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver (2nd edition) by Douglas Lorain
  • Hikes & Walks on Mt. Hood by Sonia Buist & Emily Keller
  • 70 Hiking Trails: Northern Oregon Cascades by Don and Roberta Lowe
  • 62 Hiking Trails: Northern Oregon Cascades by Don and Roberta Lowe
  • Hiking Oregon's History by William L. Sullivan
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill

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.