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Tom Dick and Harry Mountain Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mount Hood and the Zigzag Valley from the trail to Tom Dick and Harry Mountain (Tom Kloster)
The bridge over Camp Creek, Mirror Lake Trail (bobcat)
The cliffs of Tom Dick and Harry Mountain tower above Mirror Lake (Tom Kloster)
Mount Hood alpenglow from Mirror Lake (Tom Kloster)
Coiled-beak lousewort (Pedicularis contorta), Tom Dick and Harry Mountain (bobcat)
Mt. Hood and Mirror Lake from Harry (bobcat)
The route of the Mirror Lake Trail to Tom Dick and Harry Mountain (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo/USFS


Contents

Description

The Mirror Lake Trail is one of those trails which suffers from an abundance of love, due in large part to its convenient location right off of Highway 26. The attention is well-deserved: The always well-graded route takes you past a picture-postcard view of Mount Hood from Mirror Lake and then enters the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness to ascend to the magnificent vistas from rugged Tom Dick and Harry Mountain. Most hikers go far as as the westernmost prominence on the ridge (Harry), but the new location of the Mirror Lake Trailhead near Ski Bowl West also makes a loop more palatable as hikers will no longer have to hike down Highway 26 to reach their vehicles.

From the plaza at the parking area, find the paved ADA trail that leads down a slope behind the restrooms. Six winding switchbacks descend to a wide footbridge over Camp Creek, where the paved section ends. You're in a secondary forest of Douglas-fir, western hemlock, silver fir, noble fir, and western red-cedar. Before Camp Creek, a pole-and-rail barrier prevents shortcutting at a switchback.

After Camp Creek, you're on a wide machine-built trail. Cross two footbridges over seasonally dry gullies. The next bridge crosses the creek that drains the Comerford Lakes. Rise gradually to cross more footbridges over trickling creeks that feed small bogs below. Rhododendrons enter the understory, and you'll see springboard notches on rotting stumps. The trail undulates along, passing over more bridges, and soon crosses Mirror Lake Creek. Cross an old logging road, and then bend sharp left to rise steeply and intersect the old tread which came up from the U.S. 26 trailhead. Whole trees have been felled over this path to decommission it.

Switchback on the narrower old tread, and pass a vine maple-verged patch of talus. Walk on another old logging road for a few yards, pass through a devil's club thicket, and switchback up twice to where a new pole-and-rail fence prevents cutting corners. Reach the Mirror Lake-Mirror Lake Shore Trail North Junction, and go left to begin your clockwise tour around Mirror Lake.

Cross a single log footbridge over Mirror Lake Creek, and then emerge from the woods at an open bracken slope above Mirror Lake itself. Pass through a thicket of Sitka alder, ocean spray, and boxwood to get views up to the crags of Tom Dick and Harry Mountain. There are various short spurs that access the lake shore. Washington lilies and penstemon bloom alongside the path in summer. On the south shore, you'll see a set of steps leading down. Silver fir, Alaska yellow-cedar, and western red-cedar shade a well-trodden flat here. Cross a rocky stream bed, and see where a trail leads down to the shore for the iconic views you see in many photographs. The reflection of Mount Hood is perfect on a still day without a whisper of a breeze. When it's windy, expect a more Impressionist effect. The Shore Trail continues around to a two-plank boardwalk through a spiraea/willow swamp, where you'll get more views of Mount Hood. When you reach the Mirror Lake-Mirror Lake Shore Trail South Junction, make a sharp left to begin the ascent to Tom Dick and Harry Mountain.

The route continues through handsome forest, thick with pink rhododendrons in early summer, before reaching the steep north slopes of Tom Dick and Harry Mountain. This section of trail is lush with wildflowers in summer, and features unusual views of Highway 26 far below, as well as Mount Hood and the Zigzag Mountain high country. The trail continues along this slope, gradually climbing to a broad crest, where a huge rock cairn at 3.3 miles marks a switchback toward the summit. From the cairn, continue at an easy grade along the ridgetop through open lodgepole forest for a half-mile before reaching a steep, more rocky section of trail as you near the west or Harry summit of Tom Dick and Harry Mountain.

The final pitch is up an open rocky crest, where the view is dominated by Mount Hood and Mirror Lake nestled in its forested bowl below. On the northern skyline, Mount Saint Helens, Mount Rainier, and Mount Adams can be seen on a clear day. The view also includes Mount Jefferson to the south and the high, wild ridge tops of the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness to the southwest. The village of Government Camp and Timberline Lodge are also visible from this airy perch. Golden-mantled ground squirrels and pikas scuttle about on the slopes of platy andesite.

Making a loop:

A rough trail leads along the ridge through lodgepole pines and blooming lupine and lousewort. You'll pass the craggy buttress of Dick and then reach the summit of Tom Peak in a cross-country ski corridor known as Treviso's Traverse. Get views to the Comerford Lakes below, and pass interpretive signs on the local wildlife and vegetation. Join Skyline Road near Skibowl Peak and the top of the Upper Sky Chair. Descending the road, pass the Skyline Road-Wind Lake Trail Junction (See the Wind Lake-Multorpor Fen Loop Hike.). Here you can make a side trip to Wind Lake, about half a mile away. You can use roads to get back through the Ski Bowl West area to the Mirror Lake Trailhead. Do NOT hike down Ski Bowl's mountain bike trails!


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • As of June 2019 a Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass is required. Pass must be acquired beforehand as they are not sold at the trailhead.
  • Dogs on leash
  • Restrooms, information kiosk at trailhead

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • The maps below show the pre-2018 trail alignment
  • Green Trails Maps: Government Camp, OR #461
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks

  • The guidebooks below cover the old trail alignment.
  • 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland by Paul Gerald
  • I Heart Oregon (& Washington) by Lisa D. Holmes
  • Take a Hike: Portland by Barbara I . Bond
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • Beer Hiking: Pacific Northwest by Rachel Wood & Brandon Fralic
  • Best Hikes Near Portland, Oregon by Fred Barstad
  • Hikes & Walks on Mt. Hood by Sonia Buist & Emily Keller
  • 105 Virtual Hikes of the Mt. Hood National Forest by Northwest Hiker
  • 70 Hiking Trails: Northern Oregon Cascades by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • 62 Hiking Trails: Northern Oregon Cascades by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • 100 Oregon Hiking Trails by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Snowshoe Routes - Oregon by Shea Andersen
  • Best Hikes With Dogs: Oregon 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.