Boulder lake, a wilderness lake at the southeast flank of Mt hood, has been a spot I wanted to visit for a long time. I thought it would be a good out-and-back, or overnight ride. It’s a long days ride from Portland, but there is a bus that can give me a boost up from Sandy to Government Camp. I can ride the 20 or so miles to Sandy mostly on the springwater trail, get on the bus, and then get off at Government camp and ride the 15 miles from there to the lake.
The Mt Hood Express bus costs $2 and taking your bike along is free. There is a bike rack in the front that holds 2 bikes, and during the summer months there is a trailer on the back that holds a dozen bikes. Nevertheless, I folded my bike up and put it in the seat next to me because I can. On the one hour ride up the mountain, we stopped in Rhododendron, where we picked up about 6 mt bikers and their bikes. The idea is that you get the bus ride to Timberline and then ride down various trails all the way to Rhododendron, where you can stop at the Dairy Queen, and then do it all again.
The lake itself is in an unspoiled area of the forest that has never been logged or developed, where towering stands of fir, cedar, and hemlock dominate the area. But it is not (yet) designated as wilderness. That means that you can ride your bike to the lake! I suggest you do so before it gets the wilderness designation it deserves.
Following my planned loop route, I got a slab of pizza and a caffeinated drink from the general store at Government Camp, and headed east on 26. The Old Barlow route at mile 3 is paved, and a nice 3 mile alternative to the busy highway. Arriving at Bennet Pass turnoff, I rode to the far end of the lot to start my ride up the dirt Bennet pass road.
|The Bennett Pass snopark. With pit toilet. The dirt road is just beyond.|
|Narrow gravel road works it’s way along a ridgeline with expansive views of Mt Hood|
|This narrow cliffhanger of a road sees little use.
You need to be rather brave to drive your 4WD on it
|Bonny Meadows campground. Trees, creek, tables. Nobody was there on this perfect late June weekday.|
|The start of the 2 1/2 mile trail from Bonny Meadows to the lake.
Yes, bikes are allowed, just not the ones with motors.
|Windfall trees were very frequent.|
|Mt Hood forest has lots of narrow paved roads like this one.|
I took the bus from Government Camp back to Sandy, and I then rode home. The whole trip took 27 hours.