hike: Mirror Lake & Tom Dick Harry Mountain

Located next Mount Hood, this hike to Mirror Lake and Tom Dick Harry Mountain includes a scenic subalpine lake, a forest filled with rhododendrons, and panoramic views from the rocky peak.

distance: 7.2 miles
elevation gain: 1,360 ft.
difficulty: moderate
best season: July-October
drive time from Portland: 1 hour 15 minutes
parking pass: NW Forest Pass (from Nov. to May, an Oregon SnoPark pass is required instead)
hike description: OregonHikers.org – Tom Dick Harry Mountain

The Hike

It’s been about 15 years since I did this hike (way too long!), so I took advantage of the no snow conditions and headed out on a Friday to do the hike. The main reason I stopped hiking here was the crowds… this hike is extremely popular, and for good reason. The hike to Mirror Lake is fairly easy, so it’s popular with families, and access to the trailhead can’t get any easier since it’s right off highway 26. Going mid-week is highly recommended, especially in the summer.

In 2018, the trailhead was relocated about one mile east of the original trailhead. The new version is much better – it’s larger for more parking, has a restroom, trash bin, and picnic table – and, it’s safer. The old trailhead was on the side of the highway near a curve and didn’t leave much room for entering/exiting the road.

Mount Hood - Mirror Lake & Tom Dick Harry Mountain hike

From the large trailhead, take the paved trail until it ends at a bridge over Camp Creek. Continue on the wide trail  and enter a mixed evergreen forest of Douglas fir, white pine, hemlock and cedar, with rhododendrons and vine maples in the understory. The rhododendrons bloom here in June and early July, with wildflowers blooming in July and August.

Mount Hood - Mirror Lake & Tom Dick Harry Mountain hike Mount Hood - Mirror Lake & Tom Dick Harry Mountain hike

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. 

Mount Hood - Mirror Lake & Tom Dick Harry Mountain hikeMount Hood - Mirror Lake & Tom Dick Harry Mountain hike

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. 

Mount Hood - Mirror Lake & Tom Dick Harry Mountain hikeMount Hood - Mirror Lake & Tom Dick Harry Mountain hike

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.

Mount Hood - Mirror Lake & Tom Dick Harry Mountain hikeMount Hood - Mirror Lake & Tom Dick Harry Mountain hikeMount Hood - Mirror Lake & Tom Dick Harry Mountain hike

photo below: Mount Hood with a fresh coat of snow

Mount Hood - Mirror Lake & Tom Dick Harry Mountain hike

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 between Mount St. Helens and Adams.

Tom Dick Harry Mountain has three “summits”: Tom Peak, Dick Peak, and Harry Peak. The first viewpoint (shown here) is Harry Peak. I’ve never continued past this since I’m usually pretty tired of hiking through so much rock, and to reach Dick and Tom Peaks, there’s some light scrambling involved.

photo below: View towards Tom Peak and Dick Peak on Tom Dick Harry Mountain

Mount Hood - Mirror Lake & Tom Dick Harry Mountain hike

If you continue to Tom Peak, it’s possible to do a loop and hike through parts of the ski resort to the east, but I prefer to do this as an out and back hike, returning the same way.

Mount Hood - Mirror Lake & Tom Dick Harry Mountain hike