Late Fall hike up to Lake Dorothy in the snow

Location: Highway 2
Length: ~4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation: ~900 feet
Getting there: Drive Highway 2 to the Money Creek Campground turnoff (Old Cascade Highway). Drive about a mile and veer right onto the dirt road, FS6410. Follow this for about 9 miles to the trailhead.

NW Forest Pass required

Lake Dorothy is a hike I have made many times, the first with my mother many years ago when I was a child. The trail hasn’t changed a whole lot since then, although it’s much shorter than I remember! For some reason, I was thinking it was a 3 mile hike to the lake when in reality, it’s closer to 2. This was actually a blessing since we wanted a shorter, non-strenuous hike to take the pooches on.

The prior week had brought in some pretty brutal storms to the area and the USFS website was reporting road damage on the way to the trailhead. One report said the trailhead was inaccessible. I kept digging and found another that said “Road damage from recent storms. May not be suitable for high-clearance 4WD vehicles.” Being an adventurous Jeep owner, I took that as a challenge.

We made our way up Highway 2 to the Money Creek Campground turn off and proceeded up the dirt road. A couple miles in, we hit the first part of the road damage – the storms had dumped a LOT of water and the water definitely did it’s best to wash the road away. It wasn’t too bad for the Jeep and with some careful driving, we made it all the way to the trailhead. I was surprised to see 2 other vehicles already there. The damage is pretty significant and will need regrading. An SUV with some decent clearance will make it; I would leave the Suburus at home.

Once on the trail, the going was pretty quick for the most part. There was, however, a lot of blowdown on the trail that needed circumventing. We hit snow just before the bridge crossing Camp Robber Creek and it was present the rest of the way to the lake.

The sun was brilliant as we reached the lake and lent a bit of warmth as we and the pooches ate our lunch. Once the shadows crept in, the chill descended on us signaling that it was time to head out.

All-in-all, it was a great fall hike that we and the dogs enjoyed.

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