Hiking Tom Dick and Harry Mountain
Trailhead: Mirror Lake Trailhead
Mileage: 5.8 miles round-trip
Permit: Northwest Forest Pass or Interagency Pass
The extended Memorial Day weekend offered another opportunity to visit a national park without having to take a day off of work and I wasn't going to let that opportunity pass me by. Alex and I headed out west again, this time to Oregon, and spent 3 full days and nights exploring Crater Lake National Park and Mt. Hood and Umpqua national forests. It was exhausting since we spent the days hiking and the nights taking night photos and time lapses but I don't regret the sleepless nights for a second.
After we set up camp at Trillium Lake Campground ($21/night) the first afternoon we decided to head to Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain for a sunset hike and some of the best views of Mt. Hood the area has to offer.
The hike to Tom Dick and Harry Mountain begins at the Mirror Lake trailhead right off of Highway 26 two miles west of Government Camp. This was one of the easiest trailheads I've ever had to find and it serves as the starting point of two hikes: Mirror Lake and Tom Dick and Harry Mountain. The first mile to Mirror Lake is well-traveled and we encountered many other hikers. Once past Mirror Lake the trail was completely empty. We kept following it up, up, and up and it seemed endless. We began to wonder how accurate the mileage was, we have to have gone at least 5 miles already. Then we saw a couple groups of people heading down and we were those hikers and asked each group how much further we had. The first group said "we don't know, we got pretty far and didn't get to the top so we turned around", the second group said, "not much further". Neither answers were much help so we pressed on. Another group was heading towards us and again we asked how much further we had, the first woman in the group said "3 to 4 minutes" to which the second responded "don't lie! It's longer than that!". The first woman thought about it again, "oh you're right, maybe 5 to 6 minutes!". We thanked them and set a timer to see how accurate they were. As they were descending we could still hear them debating if it was even longer "7 or 8 minutes, maybe?".
4 minutes later we were at the top, looking down over Mirror Lake, Highway 26, Government Camp and the majestic Mt. Hood. We made it to the summit about three hours before the 8:45pm sunset and took the opportunity to just sit back and relax. For once in our travels the weather cooperated with us for the entire trip, which is funny considering Oregon probably has one of the rainiest climates of all the places we have gone. But we weren't going to question our luck and instead enjoyed the view of a clear Mt. Hood.
As the afternoon transitioned into evening we were joined by a few other groups. One couple arrived and quickly began setting up camp as they planned to spend the night on the summit, something I was a little envious of. Then a few photographers showed up, hoping to capture the golden glow on Mt. Hood. One of the photographers informed us he had come up the previous night and the area was completely covered in clouds and we were once again grateful that the clouds had cleared for the day. We all talked and joked and laughed as the sun dipped lower into the sky and the clouds turned pink.
We considered staying at the summit to take night photos but with the sun gone it was quickly growing chilly and we still had another 2.9 miles (maybe more, who knows!) to hike down to our car so we said our goodbyes to our new friends and left the summit shortly after sun down. We made a quick stop at Mirror Lake to take a few blue hour photos and then continued on towards our car.
Our night wasn't over quite yet! Before heading to our campsite for the evening we stopped at Trillium Lake to try some night photography. Clouds were beginning to form over Mt. Hood and in some of my photos the mountain is entirely obscured but I was able to get a star trails shot with Mt. Hood peeking out. Finally we headed back to the campsite around midnight and slept for four hours before we were up again to shoot sunrise. Whew!
See more photos from my time in Mt. Hood HERE!