Frog Lake is a pretty little lake situated just off of Highway 26 to the south of Mt Hood. During the summer, this lake offers some picturesque camping and non-motorized boating with easy access to hiking trails. In the winter, it is buried in snow and offers some amazing views of Mt Hood. But you have to earn those views. Kind of. It’s not very far. It’s like earning that snack because you were able to drag your butt off the couch. But that doesn’t make the views any less amazing.
Begin your snowshoe from the Frog Lake Sno-Park. This parking area isn’t very large and can quickly fill up with snowmobile trailers and others looking to spend the day out in the snow. There are two trails leading out of the Sno-Park, and you will want the one that is the road that heads to Frog Lake, leaving the southern end.
The trail to Frog Lake is also used by snowmobiles, so keep an eye, or an ear, out for them as you snowshoe along. This also means that, unless it is actively snowing or has snowed very recently, you will be able to find a packed path to walk on, making this trip that much easier. You will follow this main road for about a third of a mile before a second road will split off to your right, heading toward Frog Lake. Take it, or forever wonder the wilderness lost and alone.
The road to the Frog Lake Campground quickly drops down towards the lake. You will pass by the campground quickly on your left, but stay on the road towards the day-use area. After a little bit, you will start to be able to see Frog Lake’s likely snow covered surface off to you left. You may think, yay, we’re here, and bolt through the trees and head down to it. You shouldn’t. Keep heading towards the day-use area.
After following this new road for 0.7 miles, you will reach the day-use area on the south side of Frog Lake. Now you can turn and walk through an open, snow-covered marshy area straight towards the lake. The lake is fairly shallow so usually freezes pretty hard, but always use caution when heading out towards open water. And the best part about being on the south end of the lake is seeing Mt Hood towering over the icy expanse. Totally worth that extra quarter mile or so.
To reach the Frog Lake Sno-Park, take Highway 26 4.2 miles south the of the Highway 35 interchange or 41 miles north of Warm Springs. The Sno-Park will be on the east side of the road.
Passes: An Oregon Sno-Park permit is required November 1 through April 30.
Dogs: Allowed and must be on leash or under voice command at all times.
Usage: Moderate - Heavy at parking area. Little less along the trail.
Open Season: The area will likey be snow covered from December into April.