Clear Lake Butte Lookout

A moderate trail covering just over 3 miles with 900 feet of elevation gain. Winter recreation opportunities abound on this route south of Mount Hood which features a fire lookout with panoramic views set on Clear Lake Butte.

Getting there

Drive SR 26 from Government Camp, Oregon, 12 miles south to the Skyline Sno-Park at the  junction of SR 26 and Forest Road 42 (3,600 ft).

snowshoe & Ski Routes

From the Sno-Park, travel Forest Service Road 42 to the 240 spur road, branching off to the right, and continue uphill to the lookout, for a moderate trip. Skiers and snowshoers can meander through the fir trees dotting the butte's slopes, or keep effort to a minimum by sticking to the snow-covered Forest Service roads. The trees are nicely spaced for easy backcountry skiing on these very gentle slopes, making this a beginner-friendly backcountry ski trip.

about the lookout

The Clear Lake Butte Lookout, still in use in summertime, is set on the gentle slopes of Clear Lake Butte (4,454 ft) just south of Mount Hood. The fire lookout is perched on a 40-foot tower with a catwalk and an outhouse is located nearby. Fabulous views of Mount Hood, Clear Lake, and Timothy Lake can be enjoyed from the catwalk, though the Forest Service cautions that no more than four people should be on it at any given time.

  • The Clear Lake Butte Lookout can be reserved in advance for winter (Nov to May) overnight stays at It is popular so securing a reservation can be quite difficult.
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Length: 3.2 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 900 ft
  • 4,454 ft
  • USGS Wapinitia Pass, OR

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