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Wahtum Lake Trailhead

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

This island in Wahtum Lake is barely visible from from the trailhead parking lot (Jeff Statt)
Yes, it's spelled wrong - but the arrow to "Whatum" Lake is correct. Watch for this sign at a fork in the Lolo Pass Road (Tom Kloster)
The Wahtum Express Trail takes you from the trailhead to the lake (Jeff Statt)


Hikes starting here

Hikes including this trailhead

Driving Directions

Via Hood River:

Drive I-84 east and take Exit 64 for Highway 35, White Salmon and Government Camp. Turn right after exiting, and then make another immediate right for Government Camp and Mt. Hood.

After 0.3 miles, stop at a four-way junction and then continue straight on Highway 35 for Odell, Parkdale and Mt. Hood.

Drive 5.0 miles from this junction and then make a right turn onto Ehrck Hill Drive.

After 1.0 miles, this road makes a 90-degree bend to the left.

Keep going for another 0.3 miles and then make a right turn, continuing on Ehrck Hill Drive.

After 0.5 miles, come to a four-way junction.

Continue straight here on Summit Drive, which continues 2.1 miles to a junction with the Dee Highway,

Turn left here for Dee, and in 4.1 miles, make a right for Dee and Lost Lake.

Cross the East Fork of the Hood River and in 0.2 miles, go left at a junction on Lost Lake Road.

Drive 4.9 miles on this wide, paved road winding through orchards, and then make a right onto FR 13 for Wahtum Lake (signposted 10 miles from here).

Head into the forest for 4.4 miles and make a right on paved FR 1310 for Wahtum Lake.

Wind steeply up. After 5.0 miles make a sharp turn up to the left where gravel FR 640 leads off to the right.

From this junction, it’s another 1.1 miles up to the parking area for Wahtum Lake.

Via Sandy: (30 minutes longer than the Hood River option if you're coming from Portland)

From the light at the east end of Sandy, drive 16.6 miles to Zigzag and turn left onto East Lolo Pass Road.

Keep straight on this road for 10.7 miles to Lolo Pass and there make a right onto gravel FR 18 for Lost Lake.

Drive 13.7 miles on this road (It becomes paved after 5.6 miles) and turn left onto a two-lane paved road for Lost Lake.

In 5.7 miles, just before the Lost Lake Campground, make a sharp right onto FR 13 (Lake Branch Road).

In 6.6 miles (the road is storm-damaged but passable), make a sharp left up at a junction.

Continue for another 1.1 miles on FR 13 to the junction with FR 1310. Make a sharp left here for Wahtum Lake.

Wind steeply up. After 5.0 miles make a sharp turn up to the left where gravel FR 640 leads off to the right.

From this junction, it’s another 1.1 miles up to the parking area for Wahtum Lake.


The saddle in Waucoma Ridge above Wahtum Lake is the starting point for several hikes. The access roads to the trailhead are paved, but there are a few potholes and at one point on FS1310 you should watch for fallen rock. There is a small fee campground here with picnic tables, fire rings and a pit toilet. The parking lot is mostly shaded.

This is a common drop off point for hikers camping at Wahtum Lake and heading down to the Columbia River Gorge on the Eagle Creek Trail. This area can also be used as a day use area, or drive-up campground. There are only a few campsites around the lake.

To get from the trailhead parking lot down to the lake's day use area and tent sites, you must go down over 200 stairs.

Fees / Regulations

  • Northwest Forest Pass (or America the Beautiful Pass) required.
  • Self-issued wilderness permit
  • The designated backcountry sites down at the lake are free.

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.