If you don’t like heights, the Pacific Crest Trail from Lost Lake Horse Camp to Lolo Pass may not be the ride for you. But if occasional steep drop-offs don’t bother you (or if you don’t mind getting off and walking across them), you will be amply rewarded by the superb mountain views this section of the PCT offers.
Distance: 13.5 miles round trip
Elevation: 3,200 to 4,100 feet
You’ll start at Lost Lake Horse Camp, on the north side of Mt. Hood near Hood River. Follow the Skyline Trail to the Huckleberry Trail, which will take you to the PCT. Turn south on the PCT and follow it past Sentinel Peak and Hiyu Mountain, to Lolo Pass.
The Huckleberry Trail gains significant elevation and has a few steep traverses. Once you get to the PCT, the terrain levels out. However, several of the side slopes you traverse on the PCT can be daunting.
On the positive side, the ride on the PCT to Lolo Pass offers magnificent views of Mt. Hood. And on the way back, the views of Mt. Adams are equally splendid.
Lost Lake Horse Camp features five sites with 2-, 3-, or 4-horse corrals, a toilet, garbage cans, and potable water from spigots conveniently located between every other campsite. You’ll pay a fee for overnight camping, and reservations are recommended (www.recreation.gov). You can read more about Lost Lake Horse Camp at https://nwhorsetrails.com/blogs/northwest-oregon-horse-trails/lost-lake-horse-camp.
Getting to Lost Lake Horse Camp
From Portland, drive east on I-84 to Hood River and take Exit 64. Head south on Hwy. 35. After 5.4 miles, turn right on Ehrck Hill Dr. and follow it 1.8 miles. Turn right on Summit Dr. and continue 1.8 miles, then turn left onto the Dee/Hood River Hwy. Follow it 4.2 miles and turn right on Lost Lake Road, then continue 14 miles to Lost Lake. The road is paved all the way to the horse camp.
You’ll find more information about the Pacific Crest Trail to Lolo Pass and other rides out of Lost Lake Horse Camp in Riding Northwest Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2017), available at www.nwhorsetrails.com.