Snow Camping and Lookout Mountain Hike

Its looking like another late year for snow unfortunately. I have had a snow camping trip planned for months with friends, but it was shaping up to be more of a wet weekend than a snowy one. We waited until the last minute to choose our destination hoping snow would come. Unfortunately that was not the case. We all took Friday off and I headed up early in the morning. Our destination was High Prairie just below Lookout Mountain at about 6,000 feet elevation. High Prairie is East of Mount Hood about 45 minutes (26 miles) from Government Camp off Hwy 35.

Lookout Mountain Trail Elevation Profile

Shortly before I came to the turn off for NF-44 off hwy 35, the road became very icy with freezing rain. I pulled over at Little John SnoPark and put chains on the front tires of my 4x4 truck. I then headed up the road and started gaining elevation. Above about 4,700' elevation, the ice disappeared and so did the snow. Right about 6,000' the snow returned, but not very much. I found a spot for us to camp in the High Prairie area across the road from Badger Creek Wilderness. It was raining when I first arrived, but switched over to wet snow showers. Soon my friends arrived and we finished setting up camp.

Hot tent with wood stove     4x4's ready to play in the snow

It warmed above freezing Friday, but remained dry the rest of the day. It was windy all night, but luckily the temperature dropped a couple inches of snow fell.

Snow camping with Kyle, Matt, and Shane near Lookout Mountain     Headwaters of Dog River

On Saturday I found the High Prairie survival shelter. I hadn't known about it, so it was a cool find.

High Prairie Survival Shelter     Inside High Prairie Survival Shelter

The weather remained breezy on Saturday. Matt, Shane, and I went for a quick hike to the top of Lookout Mountain. It's about 1.3 miles each way.

Lookout Mountain trailhead     Fresh snow on trail to Lookout Mountain

The snow was over a foot deep halfway up, but only a few inches at the top as most of it had blown off.

Deeper snow higher up     Windy and cold on summit

Unfortunately there were no views today, but on a clear day you can see many of the Cascade volcanoes.

Small wind break atop Lookout Mountain     No view today from Lookout Mountain summit

Later Saturday it started raining unfortunately, but stopped by evening. Sunday morning we awoke to calm winds and a partly sunny sky. It was beautiful and made packing up camp more enjoyable.

Mt Hood from High Prairie     Snow covered Mt Hood

It is turning out to be another poor winter like last year. Maybe we'll get some real snow in January or February. I'd like to be able to use the snowmobiles this season.

Gear List

Costco Aluminum Instant 10' x 10' Canopy with Sidewalls
Kni-Co Alaskan Jr Camp Wood Stove
Earth Products Jamboree Military Style Aluminum Camping Cots
Therm-A-rest Explorer Self-Inflating Mattress
Mac Sports Padded Tripod Chair with Cup Holder
Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Max Electric Boots
Columbia Men's Echochrome Ski Pants
Columbia Sportswear Men's Lhotse Mountain II Parka
Petzl TIKKA XP 2 Headlamp
Olympus Tough TG-1 Camera
First Aid Kit
Samsung Galaxy S5 w/BackCountry Navigator
Suunto A-10 Compass


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Disclaimer: You are responsible for informing yourself of the hazards of backcountry travel and taking the necessary precautions. Loomis Adventures may not be held liable.