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Mirror Lake

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Alpenglow on Mount Hood from Mirror Lake (Tom Kloster)


There are scores of lakes in the Oregon Cascades that match Mirror Lake in size and shape, but most do not have the good fortune of filling a glacial cirque opposite Mount Hood. The reflection of the mountain in Mirror Lake has appeared in countless photographs, and the easy access to the lake from Highway 26 brings hordes of visitors, year-round. The Forest Service resorted to chicken wire fencing to attempt to protect some of the fragile shoreline in recent years, and campsites have been moved back into the trees, but as long as the famous reflection appears in its waters, the lake will continue to be a top attraction.

Most photograph the "classic" view from the boardwalk that curves through the marsh on the south shore. However, for the best photos, continue to the east end of the boardwalk, then follow a short path past a shady campsite to the shoreline—and the instantly recognizable "classic" view. To better improve your odds of a great photo, try to visit the lake before 10 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. in summer, when long shadows and soft light reveal an intricate pattern of ravines and fingers of snow on the mountain that are lost in the glare of midday.

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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.

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