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TDH Mountain via Mirror Lake TH

Posted: October 8th, 2020, 7:41 am
by Solofemalehiker35
First viewpoint
I hiked this trail solo for the first 4 miles in the dark then met up with my group at the first viewpoint close to sunrise.
Hiked TDH via Mirror Lake Trailhead Tuesday 10/6/2020. Started on trail at 2am. One other vehicle in the lot when I arrived. Trailhead has two vaulted toilets with air fresheners and well stocked with toilet paper. Trash can behind bathrooms.
Picnic table, bike parking and trail information board in front of bathrooms. There are two handicap parking spaces here and the trail is handicap accessible for the first .27 miles after that it becomes forrested dirt with a gradual up hill. Would not recommend the whole trail for handicap or small children as it gets rocky and steep. The parking area holds 30+ vehicles and was more than halfway full when we were finished hiking at 10:30am. There was broken glass in the parking lot (looked like from break ins). The TH is right off of the highway (right next to Skibowl). You need a Northwest Forrest Pass ($30), America the Beautiful Pass ($80) or pre purchase a day pass ($5) as there is no fee pay station at this TH.
The trail has good trail markers till the first viewpoint, if you plan to go further make sure you have a map. From the TH to mirror lake is easy with gradual up hill, all forrested till the very top and about ten creek crossings, all with bridges. Saw 10+ poop sacks all within the first mile of the TH (I picked them all up), after that it was TP and micro trash (I picked that up as well).
Mirror Lake (4 miles RT) would be a great beginner backpacking trip, great camp spots here. There is also a trail that loops around the lake that I did not do.
The trail past mirror lake becomes more narrow and steep with two rock slide areas that you will need to cross, not difficult, just don't look down and to your right if you have a fear of heights. The rest of the trail to the first viewpoint is forrested in. There is a nice more flat area about a mile or less from the first viewpoint.
The first viewpoint is rocky, but beautiful views for a sunrise or sunset. To continue on you must cross the mountain spine and small boulder fields. There are some great camp sites along the way (no water access). There is a steep downhill rocky area with slick dirt and a narrow overgrown area with fallen trees right before you get to the true summit across from the first viewpoint. Camp spots here as well (no water access).
Instead of doing an out and back, we continued on to the true summit, did a side trip to wind lake and then finished by going down the center of Skibowl via steep roads and slick dirt bike trails from the top chair lift area to the resort at the bottom. We saw no one else on the trails! We heard large animal movement and poo on our side trip, but saw no large animals.
Total hiking stats 8.03 miles with 1794ft elevation gain.
Remember pack it in, pack it out. Leave no trace. Leave the trails better than you found them.
Night view of TDH and Orion's Belt from Mirror Lake
Best pre sunrise colors from first viewpoint
View of Mt Adams and Mirror Lake from the trail to the true summit of TDH.
View of Mt Hood and Government Camp from viewpoint pre sunrise.
Wind Lake to the south of the top of Ski Bowl.
The trail going down Ski Bowl
Mirror Lake TH, yes bathrooms are open.