Did you know there’s an awesome lake not too far from Portland? It looks like this…
…and at the north end like this…
It’s a pretty rocking place–not only beautiful but also complete with many picnic areas, running/hiking/mountain bike/equestrian trails, a few boat ramps, fishing, swimming, and all sorts of fun stuff. You can even have alcohol there, if that’s how you roll (check out the Washington County Hagg Lake FAQ for more info on this and other pressing concerns). It’s also the home of the Hagg Lake Mud Run, a pretty fantastic race–and, coincidentally, one of the reasons that I actually know about this lake in the first place.
There’s an aproximately-10-mile road that completely encircles the lake, a lovely ramble of rolling hills that winds in and out from the shore.
And did I mention that it’s not actually that far from Portland? If you take the MAX to the end of the line in Hillsboro, it’s only about 14 more miles to get to Hagg Lake. Actually, here’s the route I took, a different and slightly longer way back because I hate going the same way twice:)
View Hillsboro MAX to Hagg Lake and back in a larger map
Even taking the longer way back to Hillsboro, it’s only about 43 miles–it could be as little as 35 if you went directly there and back. Or 60 something if you decide you don’t want to pay for the MAX twice in one day and just bike home:)
The riding is mostly nice, too. The 5 miles from Hillsboro to Forest Grove aren’t super pleasant due to traffic that is fast and loud, but the shoulder’s wide and that part of the ride goes by fairly quickly. And as for Highway 47, it’s easy to stay off it for most of the time, taking pretty and pretty obvious side roads like “Old Highway 47.” Most of the riding is countryside and nice in its own right, even if you weren’t heading out to Hagg Lake.
Once the weather gets warmer, I could totally imagine loading up my lunch, suit, and towel, hopping on the MAX, and taking a pleasant little day-trip jaunt to go swimming or boating (yes, you can rent boats there). Or if you can’t wait for the warmth, go now and take advantage of the hiking or mountain biking. It’s pretty rad.