Under the Stars near Portland

Southern Washington Cascades: Bird Lake
  |  Gorp.com
Directions : Roughly 15 miles from Trout Lake, Washington. Take FS 17 to FS 82 and follow signs.
Travel time : Approximately 3 hours.
Information : (509) 865-5121, ext. 657.
Reservations : No.
Fee : $5 day use plus $10 per vehicle campsite fee.
Open : Early July through early September.

Washington's Mount Adams, which lies due north of Hood River, Oregon, is one of the most overlooked of the major Cascade Range peaks, and for this reason, it offers some excellent camping opportunities. Chief among these is the Bird Lake Campground, which is located on the Yakama Indian Reservation on the mountain's southeast flanks. The campground, which lies at the end of a rough dirt road that is usually just barely passable in a regular passenger car, makes an ideal base camp for exploring Bird Creek Meadows. This campground encircles little Bird Lake, and most sites are set back 50 feet or so from the water. Sites on the lake side of the campground road are the more popular, of course, since they're closer to the water. Most sites have good separation so you get a bit of privacy here.

Each summer in July and August, Bird Creek Meadows puts on one of the finest wildflower displays in the Northwest. Radiating out from the campground are loop trails that wind their way through the meadows, along noisy little streams, past at least one small lake that's a great swimming hole, and up to the Hellroaring Meadows overlook. If you've got plenty of energy, it's also possible in a long day hike to climb high on the trail that leads to the summit of Mount Adams. The Yakama tribe also stocks Bird Lake with trout, and a fishing permit can be purchased here at the campground. Bring a float for a bit of fly fishing or bring a canoe or kayak and paddle leisurely around in circles. Ahh, now that's the life.


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