Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •    Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!
| Page | Discussion | View source | History | Print Friendly and PDF

Plaza lake hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Plaza Lake in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness (bobcat)
Old growth western hemlock at Plaza Lake (bobcat)
Map showing location of Plaza Lake hike (not a GPS track) bobcat Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Plaza Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Plaza Lake
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 1.4 miles round-trip
  • Elevation gain: 560 feet
  • High Point: 4,225 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Summer through Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No



This is a short but steep hike down to a secluded mountain lake sequestered among old growth trees. It is a tranquil site, ideal for fishing, swimming, or quiet contemplation on a summer day. As for road access, Abbot Road is rough and gets rougher after the Twin Springs Trailhead, so you might want to park there and walk east on the road. Another (even longer) approach would be to take the paved road to the Upper Fanton Trailhead or the Old Baldy West Trailhead and hike the Old Baldy Trail to Twin Springs and then along Abbot Road to the Plaza Lake Trailhead.

The path leads down from the campsite area and you soon encounter the first of 17 switchbacks. Rhododendrons dominate in the understory at the top of the ridge, shaded by mountain hemlock, Douglas-fir, noble fir and silver fir. Huckleberries, vine maple, and bear-grass soon appear and the trail switchbacks between a couple of talus slopes. Farther down the slope, some large Douglas-firs and western hemlocks stand by the trail. Just above the lake, a spur drops to a campsite and the main trail drops steeply down to the shore, which is tightly hemmed by thickets of rhododendron, spiraea, Sitka alder, mountain ash, and vine maple.

The trail is the last remnant of the South Fork Salmon River Trail, which came up out of the valley and passed by Plaza Lake before reaching the ridge line.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • none


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: High Rock, OR #493
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area
  • Geo-Graphics: Mt. Hood Wilderness Map
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Bull of the Woods Wilderness and Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • PDX Hiking 365 by Matt Reeder
  • Afoot and Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • 105 Virtual Hikes of the Mt. Hood National Forest by Northwest Hiker

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.