Mirror Lake offers a few sites for overnight camping. The hike to the lake is one of the most popular hikes on Mt Hood. While the vast majority of hikers only visit during the day, a few primitive sites are located just above the lake.
When I refer to primitive sites, that is what they are. There are no facilities here. No picnic tables, and no toilets. A few fire pits have been fashioned out of rock and you may also find a makeshift bench. But for some this is an ideal camping experience. By day Mirror lake can get crowded. It is surrounded on three sides by mountains and it can get loud here. But at night it is as peaceful as you could ever want. Views of Mt Hood and Tom Dick and Harry Mountain are all outstanding.
The first time we tried to camp here all the spots were full, so we don't always count on being able to get a spot. It's best to come up with a couple backup plans as this is a popular spot! The hike in off the road isn't difficult, and the tent sites are all situated relatively close to the trail. If you continue up Tom, Dick, and Harry mountain you can see amazing panoramic views. Forest passes can be obtained from the ranger station on highway 26.
A 2m. hike from the parking lot, there are only a few sites available to camp at behid mirror lake. Great spot especially if you plan on continuing the hike to Tom Dick and Harry Mountain. The place can get crowded with people who have come for the day, so best get there early for parking and snagging a potential site. you need a forest pass. no toilets but there are primitive fire pits.
When I planned my Mirror Lake hike, this is where I thought I was going to camp as I assumed that this was an actual campground at the trailhead. It actually isn't that at all.
Mirror Lake trailhead is essentially parking along HWY 26 - there are about 20 spots and on a not very busy mid-week morning I waited about 15 minutes for a hiker to finish so I could get their parking spot. The hike is super popular (and it is gorgeous), so it is worth doing. You will need a recreation pass in advance for parking here (and you cannot buy one here, and there is no turn around, and you won't want to lose your place in the parking line to go and buy one, so make sure you have one in advance)
There are technically walk in "campsites" at Mirror Lake. These are essentially a few small cleared areas around the lake. There are no tables or fire-rings or toilets, or water (apart from the lake), so you'll need to carry everything in with you - which is a 1.7 uphill hike in.
The area is beautiful for camping, and going to sleep and waking up at the lake before the crowds descend is the biggest bonus.
If you want to do this hike early in the morning without the crowds, but aren't prepared for primitive walk-in camping, Camp Creek Campground is just a few miles down HWY 26.
I have hiked this both in the winter months and the summer months.
Both beautiful for their own reasons, bring snowshoes during the winter though!
This place gets very busy during the popular summer months - I recommend going early, the parking fills up very fast! It is a short hike for a day trip or an amazing overnighter if you are willing to backpack. There are several backpacking campsites that are on the water, there is nothing more beautiful than watching the sunrise over the lake with Mt.Hood in the background.
Its only ~3 mile hike in, so highly recommend anyone from beginner to expert backpacking to come checkout the campsites. Bring water filtrations or extra water since there is no water up there besides the lake.