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Lost Creek Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Lost Creek from the interpretive trail (bobcat)
Cedar snag from the Old Maid Eruptions (bobcat)
Bench in grove, Lost Creek Nature Trail (bobcat)
Restroom, Lost Creek Nature Trail (bobcat)
  • Start point: Lost Creek TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Old Maid Snag
  • Hike Type: Lollipop loop
  • Distance: 0.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 10 feet
  • High Point: 2,355 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No



Around 1780, Mount Hood, having been asleep for about 1,000 years, began an eruptive period that lasted about a decade. Crater Rock is the remnant of the lava dome created during this explosive time. Pyroclastic flows and lahars buried the White River and Sandy River valleys, and then stream action began to carve channels again. When Lewis and Clark passed the mouth of the Sandy River in November 1805 and again six months later, they remarked on the vast fan of deposits that spewed out into the Columbia, naming the watercourse the Quicksand River. On the slopes of the mountain, the effects of the Old Maid Eruptions were, of course, much more pronounced. The little nature trail at the Lost Creek Campground details this period in Mount Hood's geologic history. The trail was created by volunteers in 1972 and shaded benches are strategically placed. Interpretive signs inform about the Old Maid events, and you can still see the remains of trees buried by the lahars and then exposed again.

Walk past a sign for Fishing Access and the Beaver Pond Viewing Area. Pass an interpretive panel that welcomes you to the woods. The paved trail keeps on the bluff above Lost Creek, which runs along the foot of Zigzag Mountain under a canopy of Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and western red-cedar. Pass a trail leading left to the campground loop road. After you cross a footbridge over a wide gully, you'll reach a junction to begin the loop.

Go right and pass the first of several spurs leading to the creek. Notice the nesting boxes pegged to conifers. A spur leads right to a viewing deck. Look upstream and you’ll see an Old Maid Snag, the remains of a tree that was once snapped off and buried by pyroclastic flows from the Old Maid Eruptions in 1781-1782 and has now been exposed by stream action. Back at the junction, another trail, marked “Fishing,” leads right along a boardwalk through a thicket of salmonberries in a red alder bottom. You’ll reach a viewing platform near the confluence with a tributary creek. A sign here informs about coho and steelhead spawning.

Return to the main trail, and go right. At a restroom, a spur leads right to a viewing point over a flat alder/salmonberry bottomland. A number of years ago, beavers were active here and constructed a dam to create a pond. There has been no recent beaver activity, perhaps because of the proximity of the campground. Back past the restroom, walk through a moss/lousewort carpet in shady forest. Keep left to stay on the paved trail at a junction and pass an interpretive sign at a Pacific yew tree. Close the loop and head back over the footbridge to parking.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • Restrooms, campground, picnic area nearby


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Lost Creek Trail #776 (USFS)
  • Green Trails Maps: Government Camp, OR #461
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • 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

  • Hiking Oregon's Mount Hood & Badger Creek Wilderness by Fred Barstad
  • Best Hikes With Kids: Oregon by Bonnie Henderson
  • Hikes & Walks on Mt. Hood by Sonia Buist & Emily Keller
  • Best Short Hikes in Northwest Oregon by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • Hiking Oregon's Geology by Ellen Morris Bishop

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.