North America > United States

Trillium Lake

lakeTrillium Lake
countryUnited States
surface area0.26 km2
maximum depth6 m
average depth2 m
lake typeMan-made lake
length0.91 km
width0.43 km
catchment area3 km2
altitude1,098 m
outflowsMud Creek

Trillium Lake Information and Facts

Trillium Lake is located in northern Oregon, south-southwest of the spectacular Mount Hood, which reaches a height of 3,429 meters (11,249 feet). The lake sits at an altitude of 1,098 meters (3,601 feet) and was formed by a dam built across Mud Creek in 1960 by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Mud Creek is a tributary of the Salmon River. Trillium Lake reaches a maximum depth of 6 meters (20 feet), and has an average depth of 2 meters (7 feet).


The lake gets its name from a genus of perennial flowering plants which are native to temperate regions in North America and Asia. These flowers can be very often encountered in the area, and are colored in shades of red, pink, purple, white, green or yellow.


Before 1960 when the lake was created, the area was part of the Barlow Road, a segment of the Oregon Trail. Between 1866 and 1870 there was a toll station here called Summit Meadow, which was accessed by immigrants via a log road across marshes.


The lake is one of the most popular camping destinations in the Mount Hood National Forest. It is easily accessible, only about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from Highway 26, with a paved road going all the way to the lake.

The beauty of the lake makes it very popular for fishing, camping, and photography enthusiasts. Most day users are windsurfers, paddle boarders, boaters, canoeists, kayakers, and swimmers. The spectacular Mount Hood offers an amazing backdrop for photographers during all times of the day and in all seasons.

Hiking enthusiasts can enjoy the Trillium Lake Trail, which circles the entire lake, and has a length of 3.1 kilometers (1.9 miles). The trail starts at the Trillium Lake Trailhead and ends at the Pond Lily Inlet, and has an elevation gain of 3 meters (10 feet). On the trail, you will encounter blooming subalpine daisies during summer, and at the Pond Lily Inlet you will be able to see beautiful yellow water lilies. The trail is quite easy, and is also family-friendly. The west shore of the lake is less crowded, and during summer a variety of wildflowers can be seen here.

Trillium Lake is stocked with rainbow trout each month during summer by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Consequently, anglers can expect trophy trout during the fall. The lake is particularly friendly for beginning anglers.

There is also a campground near the lake called Trillium Lake Campground, and managed by the Zigzag Ranger District of the Mount Hood National Forest. The campground is pretty large, and features a boat ramp and a floating dock that is wheelchair-accessible. The picnic area is beautifully shaded by shaded by western red-cedar, mountain hemlock, silver fir, and western hemlock.

During winter, the lake is a popular Nordic skiing destination, especially during afternoons and weekends, and the roads around the lake are groomed for cross-country skiing.