2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Backpacker Magazine – May 2011

Rip & Go: Rock and Serene Lakes Loop - Mt. Hood National Forest, OR

Discover real wilderness just two hours from Portland.

by: Eli Boschetto

Serene Lake (Eli Boschetto)
Serene Lake (Eli Boschetto)

Download a printable version of this entire trip right here.
Do it
While Mt. Hood is still encased in ice, wildflowers replace the snow surrounding the lower-elevation, forest-rimmed lakes on this 12-miler in the Clackamas Wilderness. Start at the Shellrock Lake trailhead (1) and hike .5 mile north amid flowering rhododendron and beargrass (May to June for both) to the outlet of Shellrock Lake (2). Cross on small logs and curve around the lake’s southeastern shore to the junction with the Frazier Spur Trail (3). Head north for 1.1 miles to a T-junction and head right (north) to the Serene Lake trailhead at the Frazier Turnaround (4). Turn left (west), descending through old-growth hemlock forest for .8 mile to the Rock Lakes junction (5). Fork left (southwest) here for a .7-mile out-and-back to Middle Rock Lake (6), sparkling in a forested basin below 5,397-foot Frazier Mountain. Return to the junction. After .1 mile, a side trail drops northeast to Lower Rock Lake (7) with a single campsite if you’re ready to stop.

Back on the Serene Lake Trail, continue two miles. As you approach Serene Lake’s overgrown outlet, follow the spur (8) to the lake’s north shore and an isolated campsite with front-porch views. Next day, find the Cache Meadow Trail (9) beside a rotting, moss-covered picnic table on the western shore. Climb 700 feet in a mile before leveling out at a T-junction (10). Stay on the Cache Meadow Trail and climb a ridge to 4,983 feet and a northward view of four Cascade giants: Hood, Adams, Rainier, and St. Helens. Descend to Cache Meadow (11) (“See This,” next page). Just before the trail enters another meadow that edges Cripple Creek, turn left at an unsigned trail junction (12) (look for a “517” plaque 20 yards up trail). Pass through another meadow and begin a climb to the junction with Indian Ridge Road (13). Go right (northeast) on this old logging road to the Frazier Spur Trail; Mt. Hood looms straight ahead and Mt. Jefferson rises to the southeast. Backtrack to Shellrock Lake (14), then back to your starting point.

Trip Planner

Get there

From Estacada, take OR 224 E for 25 miles and turn left on FR 57. After 7.5 miles, go left on FR 58 for another three miles. Next, veer left on FR 5830. Drive four miles and fork right onto FR 130. Park in one mile.

Gear up
REI, Clackamas Town Center; (503) 659-1156;

Mt. Hood ($12,

USFS Zigzag Ranger District; (503) 668-1700;

Trip data

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Falling in the backcountry
Posted On: Aug 20, 2014
Submitted By: Grizzly James
The Political Arena
How ISIS got rich
Posted On: Aug 20, 2014
Submitted By: Ben2World
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions