For me, this was the first weekend of summer. School was out and we left early Friday afternoon hoping to find a camping spot at Camp Creek again – no reservations. We arrived at the campground that had been deserted just two weeks ago and this time it was almost full. Guess everyone else is ready for summer camping, too! Luckily for us, site 25 with the fireplace is walk-in only at this time, so we were able to claim it for two nights -Yay!!
Site 25 is located on the grounds of the old community kitchen where the CCC workers stayed while building Timberline Lodge during the Great Depression. The wooden structures are gone, but the stone foundations and fireplaces still remain. This weekend we were treated to campfires without smoke in our eyes! It was quite wonderful! Adjacent to this site is a small tributary creek that feeds into the much larger Camp Creek. It provides beautiful white noise to sleep to and no mosquitoes this early in the season!
We were looking forward to exploring the area this weekend in search of other campgrounds that we could bring the family to over the summer. We like to hike and generally relax around a fire, but our kids would rather be out on the water…so lake front is nice for the family!
Saturday afternoon we packed lunches and set out to explore. We drove the very scenic Lolo Pass over Mt. Hood to Lost Lake near Hood River. These are forest service roads, gravel in places and quite narrow! It took a long time to get there, partially because we stopped every 10 minutes to get out and take photos ( I have a patient husband!) We drove by a couple of interesting campgrounds along the way – McNeal and Lost Creek. Both were very quiet and secluded.
We arrived at Lost Lake, well past lunch and we were starving. We found a bench along the lake and ate lunch to a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. The sun was high in the sky when we were there, and I look forward to coming back this summer to watch the mountain during sunrise or sunset.
It is still early in the season and the park wasn’t very busy. However, this campground hosts 125 sites without reservations and it can be VERY busy during the summer. The campsites are large and private though and I’m sure this is a place we’ll want to bring the family. We can kayak, fish, hike, shoot photos…something for all of us!
We decided to drive home through Hood River on the main highway. The roads were much better and it was every bit as scenic – definitely the way we’ll return next visit (more trailer friendly for sure.) We stopped on the way back to to our camp at the Mirror Lake Trail Head. It is a three mile hike up to a small alpine lake, where if you’re lucky, you’ll get a nice reflection of the mountain…we weren’t lucky! Thunder clouds had started to build during the afternoon and the mountain was barely visible through the clouds. The hike was pretty though and we worked up a nice appetite for dinner!
We got a bit of rain Saturday night which cleared some of the tent campers out early. By Sunday morning though, the sun had partially returned so we took a last walk around the grounds! It is mossy, and green, but very, very pretty! Here are a few last photos I snapped before we packed up to head home: