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Frog Lake Buttes Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

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Mount Hood from Frog Lake (bobcat)
Mount Jefferson from the Frog Lake Trail (bobcat)
Broad-leaved lupine (Lupinus latifolius), Frog Lake Buttes (bobcat)
Shore, Lower Twin Lake (bobcat)
Rosy pussytoes (Antennaria microphylla), Frog Lake Buttes (bobcat)
The loop route to Frog Lake Buttes (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo



Close to Highway 26, Frog Lake is a very popular family camping and day-use destination. It is still a very worthwhile scenic stopover, and this hike begins and ends here so you can frame your day with the reflection of Mount Hood in the lake. Four trails are involved in this loop: the Frog Lake Trail #530, the Frog Lake Buttes Trail #484, the Twin Lakes Trail #495, and the Pacific Crest Trail #2000. In addition to pretty Frog Lake itself, other highlights are a view of Mount Hood from the southern summit of Frog Lake Buttes and the sparkling waters of Lower Twin Lake, good for a lazy dip on a hot summer's day. The first two trails mentioned are far less traveled than the other two, so at least part of your day will be spent away from summer crowds.

There are a couple of other trailhead options for this hike if you don't want to park at Frog Lake: use the Frog Lake Sno-Park right off Highway 26 and pick up the Frog Lake Trail #520 on its east side; also, if you don't have a Northwest Forest Pass, you can avoid the day-use fee by parking at the Frog Lake Buttes Trailhead.

Lodgepole pine, cedar, hemlock, silver fir and Douglas-fir ring Frog Lake, whose shore is rimmed by willow and huckleberry. There’s a magnificent view of Mount Hood from the south end of the lake. Take the use trail on the east side of the lake. At the end of Frog Lake, there’s a campfire circle; from here, head left to the campground loop. Go right on the road and pick up the trailhead for the Frog Lake Trail #530 opposite the restrooms after Campsite #24. Head up and cross FR 2610 (For those not having a Northwest Forest Pass, there's a parking pullout 20 yards to the left of this crossing). This is Douglas-fir, silver fir, hemlock woodland with mountain hemlock appearing a little higher up. Enter a clearcut with a great view of Mount Jefferson to the south. Chinquapin, bear-grass and huckleberries dominate here. Keep rising, and then traverse as the trail runs below a road, the FR 290 spur, which leads to the top of Frog Lake Buttes. The trail heads up in silver fir/ mountain hemlock forest with lots of huckleberries. At the ridgetop, come to the Frog Lake Buttes-Frog Lake Trail Junction.

Turn right here, and head up on three lazy switchbacks; then wind up under larger silver firs. Make a fairly level traverse up to an old road track. Here, go right into an open area of lupine and huckleberry. Originally, this area had been clearcut, but now young noble fir, silver fir and mountain hemlock are growing to about 20’. There’s a cell-phone tower at the Frog Lake Buttes summit, at the old lookout site, and only a partial sighting of Mount Hood through the trees. To get a better view, continue walking down the road and a better view of the mountain, fronted by the Barlow Butte ridge, rewards your brief diversion. You could bushwhack along the ridge to the slightly higher but forested north summit of Frog Lake Buttes, but there are no vistas from that one.

Head back down to the Frog Lake Buttes-Frog Lake Trail Junction, and keep straight for Lower Twin Lake. The trail drops down the side of a ridge through a dense undergrowth of huckleberry bushes. Silver fir, mountain hemlock, Douglas-fir and some western white pine form the canopy. Gradually descend and then hike on the level among silver fir, noble fir and Douglas-fir. Reach the Frog Lake Buttes-Lower Twin Lake Trail Junction, at the shore of Lower Twin Lake and go right. Come to a large campsite at the end of the lake. Find the trail heading up to the Twin Lakes (Barlow)-Lower Twin Lake Trail Junction (If you want to extend your hike, consider heading from here to Upper Twin Lake (See the Twin Lakes Hike) or farther to Palmateer Point (See the Twin Lakes-Palmateer Point Loop Hike)).

Go left at the junction, hiking up the side of a ridge following blue diamonds on trees. Pass a large large noble fir and reach the ridge and the Pacific Crest-Twin Lakes Trail South Junction. Traverse down and switchback at a large hemlock. Come to the Pacific Crest-Frog Lake Trail Junction, where the sign is missing, and go left. You can see the Frog Lake Sno-Park through the trees on the right. Cross the paved road leading to the campground: the trail runs between this road and Highway 26. Pass through a clearing and then drop to the campground road and go right. Keep to the lower, paved road and go right for the Frog Lake Day-use Area.

Fees, Regulations, etc.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Mt. Wilson, OR #494
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Hood River Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood Wilderness
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • Hikes & Walks on Mt. Hood by Sonia Buist & Emily Keller
  • 62 Hiking Trails: Northern Oregon Cascades by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Snowshoe Routes - Oregon by Shea Anderson

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.