Difficulty: Weekend Warrior
Directions: From Portland, take Highway 26 toward Mount Hood for 42 miles. In the town of Zigzag, turn left onto East Lolo Pass Road. Make a right turn onto Forest Road 1825. Turn right again and cross the Sandy River Bridge, driving 1.7 miles to bear right at a sign for Lost Creek Nature Trail. Pass the entrance to Lost Creek Campground and keep straight at a junction, arriving at the end of the road and the Burnt Lake trailhead.
Earning its name from a 1904 wildfire, Burnt Lake bears few noticeable scars from the blaze—primarily just some blackened old-growth stumps. Today, the backcountry body of water serves as the perfect swimmable reflecting pool for Mount Hood. A 6.6-mile out-and-back hike will get you there. And if you feel like turning it into an overnighter, you can set up camp and get an even better view the next day by making the trek to the summit of East Zigzag Mountain.
The Burnt Lake Trail starts off along an old road surrounded by a variety of fir trees and vine maples before entering the wilderness zone. Wildflowers abound here in June and July. Along the way, you’ll pass a spur trail to Lost Creek Falls before arriving at the lake proper. If you bring your backpack, scope out a good campsite and drop your bag before continuing around to some day-use areas with the best views of the mountain.