Frog Lake Buttes


Mountain bike racing is basically done for the season, so now it’s time to start diversifying the weekends a bit more.  Mia and I need to get Codi into hiking shape for our vacation coming up in July so we opted to get him out on a jaunt near Mt. Hood this weekend.  I wanted to do something that we had not done before and stumbled upon the Frog Lake Buttes hike while doing some online searching.  Part of this hike would hit lower Twin Lake which we had already done before and today reminded me that we really need to go back there to do some camping.

day use area along Frog Lake

The drive up 26 was a mix of clouds and drizzle.  As is typical though once we crested the pass and started heading down the other side things were looking a bit better.  Still cloudy, but more puffy whites than drizzly grays.  Plus the sun peeked out a few times for us during the hike.  Also the mandatory stop at Joe’s Donuts was required on the way out.

Starting out on the Pacific Crest Trail

From the Frog Lake Sno Park we jumped onto the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) until the intersection with the Twin Lakes Trail.  The PCT can feel like a dirt super highway.  It is super wide, packed down and can get a bit busy at times.  Today though we saw 1 person and that was all, there are definitely benefits to hiking when the weather is a bit questionable.  Come mid-July this trail will  be swamped on most weekends (yes, I can be a bit of a hiking snob at times)  I like my more out of the way hikes and some peace and quiet.

We had quite a bit of snow today

The deeper we got into the woods the more plentiful the snowpack got.  I knew we’d run into some, but man… was impressive this late in the year.  We topped out around 4800′ in elevation today but a lot of it is north facing so the snow is taking longer to melt.

Lower Twin Lake

We ran into a couple and their dog who had camped at the lake Saturday night.  They said about 3am they got some light drizzle but otherwise, other than cold temps, it was fine.  Once again reminding me that we need to do an overnight out here.

It was a steady climb from lower twin lake up the frog lake buttes trail.  The snow got a bit crazy at times and there were a lot of blowdowns to go over, under or around.

Mia looking for a way around another trail blockage
trail blockage

It was supposed to be only 1/2 mile from the last trail intersection to a viewpoint at the top of the southern butte.  We kept losing the trail because of all the snow though.  There were no blazes to follow and so much detritus down on the ground that we decided to call it and turn back to the intersection to drop back down to Frog Lake.  After downloading the GPS route when we got home it was apparent we were not far off, but the trail was tough to see.

no apparent trail here
An obscured Mt Hood over there

We had a quick lunch stop before dropping 1.5 miles back down to Frog Lake Campground and then a short gravel road walk back to the car.

It was chilly,  had to make some hot food and put on the puffer
Keeping Codi hydrated

The viewpoint we missed is occupied by a cell tower, so I’m not overly disappointed that we didn’t make it.  The hike was still a good 7+ mile day and Codi is sleeping on his love seat as I type this.  A tired dog is a good dog!

Codi also tried to take a “stick” with him at one point.  Not sure he quite understands snow and ice and that this was probably still connected to a buried tree.


Thanks for reading,



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