hike: Mirror Lake + Tom Dick Harry Mountain
Located next Mount Hood, this hike to Mirror Lake and the rocky summit of Tom Dick and Harry Mountain has great views of the Cascades, with rhododendrons and wildflowers alongside the forested trail.
distance: 7.7 miles round trip
elevation gain: 1,460 ft.
best season: summer (typically June to October)
drive time from Portland: 1 hour 15 minutes
parking pass:NW Forest Pass
hike description: OregonHikers.org: Tom Dick & Harry Mountain
The portion of this hike that goes to Mirror Lake is extremely popular in the summer, especially for families with children, and the parking area fills up quickly, so go early on weekends, or plan a mid-week trip.
From the trailhead, enter a mixed evergreen forest of Douglas fir, white pine, hemlock and cedar, with rhododendrons and vine maples in the understory. The rhododendrons bloom in June and early July.
The trail is well-graded and wide, with switchbacks up the gradual ascent to Mirror Lake, a small mountain lake that is a classic glacial cirque – a feature formed by water filling in a circular basin carved by glaciers.
Crossing a large rock slide, stop quietly and you may see pikas – small mammals related to rabbits with rounded ears, no visible tail, and a high pitched, squeaky call.
After several additional switchbacks, reach the Mirror Lake trail junction. Choose to loop around the lake, or continue straight to the shoreline of the lake. A great view of Mount Hood with the lake in the foreground is along the loop trail on a marshy section with boardwalk.
Just past the lake, the trail continues to the summit of the Harry ridge of Tom Dick and Harry Mountain, named for the three ridges on the mountain. The trail here is steeper, with two mile-long traverses. There are multiple views of Mount Hood and the surrounding valleys in open areas along the trail, with beargrass, wild mountain spirea, paintbrush and other wildflowers during the summer.
A large cairn – a man-made stack of rocks – is just before the trail turns to the left. Wild huckleberry shrubs line the path, ripening in August for a tasty trailside treat. The last one-third mile climbs more steeply on rocky terrain before reaching the base of the summit.
The approach to the rock-capped summit is a light scramble up boulders.
At the top, take in the stellar views of Mount Hood right before you, and several other snow-capped Cascades along the horizon, including Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams (both are to the north) and Mount Jefferson (to the south). Mount Rainier may also be visible directly behind Mount St. Helens.
Don’t be tempted by the cute chipmunks begging for food… this one was particularly persistent!
View of Mount Jefferson to the south