Mt Hood. For many Oregonians it’s hard to miss on those wonderful clear days. Gloriously in the horizon calling our names. As we write this it’s covered in massive amounts of new snow. It’s certainly been a great snow season so far. The wilderness around Mt Hood is an estimated 1,067,043 acres, so you can bet there’s a ton of hiking opportunities out there! Here’s a few hikes to consider the next time you’re heading up to the mountain.
This is one of the most visited trails in the Forest, due to the easy access, and great views of Reid and Sandy glaciers on the mountain. Don’t let the crowds keep you away though! It’s certainly a must see. Not only is Ramona Falls a great reward for doing this hike, but you can also see this fantastic 1930’s forestry guard cabin:
Directions to Ramona Falls Trailhead:
Head out on Highway 26 to ZigZag, Oregon.
There’s car parking at the trailhead, requires a $5 forest pass, and is usually closed from December through April.
Paradise Park is a summertime favorite with many wildflowers blooming, a few waterfalls, and of course great glimpses of Mt Hood.
Directions to Paradise Park Trailhead:
Drive up to Mt Hood via Highway 26, and head on up to Timberline Lodge.
Go west on the PCT/Timberline trail near the Lodge. It’s about 12 miles round trip, but many cut it shorter by turning around at the Zig Zag river.
Bald Mountain Trail
Bald mountain is just a few miles away from Mt Hood, and there’s a fantastic view of it once you’ve made it to the summit. The official trail is now unmaintained, and most hikers stick to the Timberline Trail to get to Bald Mountain. But according the Wyeastblog, you can still use the trail with minimal issues. They go on to describe an area of the trail where an old fire lookout was as far back as 1911.
Directions to Bald Mountain Trail:
There’s a few ways to the trail. One is by starting at Lolo Pass, and getting on the Pacific Coast Trail until you intersect with the Bald Mountain Trail. Here’s a map from Wyeast.
The other option is a more traveled area at first, but as usual you can quickly get away from the crowds. Bald Mountain Trail via Top Spur as described by Oregonhikers.org.
The Twin Lakes Trail is a 7 mile off-shoot loop, starting and ending at Pacific Crest Trail #2000. You can access lower and upper Twin Lakes. Lower is an easy, well visited lake, great for summer swimming. So don’t expect solitude here. If you’re after a little more peace and quiet consider going up to Upper Twin Lake where you’ll get a viewpoint of Mt Hood, huckleberries, and rhododendrons growing.
Directions to Twin Lakes Trail:
Head to Frog Lake Sno Park, by taking Highway 26 east through Government Camp.
A Forest Pass is required.
Other Fun Things To Look For While Hiking Around Mt. Hood
Support Local Oregon Businesses
If you’re going up in the winter make sure to stop by Ottos Ski Shop for your showshoe rentals: http://ottosskishop.com/rentals/snowshoe-rentals/
(cabin photo: https://www.reddit.com/r/mildlyinteresting/comments/3psz6f/1930s_mt_hood_natl_forest_guard_station_today/)