By Bryan Dorr
MT. HOOD NATIONAL FOREST—Forget hiking to some small popular mountain lake with a trailhead along some major highway and go for the lake that is off the beaten path instead.
Catalpa Lake is a small, secluded mountain lake surrounded by pine forest that is located 3.5 miles east of Frog Lake and campgrounds in the Mt. Hood National Forest.
The short three-quarter mile narrow dirt trail with an elevation gain of 100 feet makes hiking to Catalpa Lake relatively easy, even with factoring in its elevation being at 4,105 feet.
At the end of the short trail, hikers will find a picturesque, crystal clear shallow lake surrounded by pine trees, but Mt. Hood is nowhere to be found.
Unlike the popular Mirror Lake, the trail does not loop Catalpa Lake.
There are no picnic tables, restrooms or trash receptacles at both the trailhead and at the lake.
Parking is located off of the gravel Forest Road 250, a spur off of Forest Road 2610 between Frog Lake Campground and Forest Road 43, but the parking area is small and limited.
There is no trailhead fee for Catalpa Lake.
For forest road or trail condition updates, contact the U. S. Forest Service Hood River office at (541) 352-6002.