Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory is every hiker’s paradise. There are enough hiking trails to keep any avid hiker occupied for years to come. Even though I was lucky enough to spend a week exploring Mt. Hood, I still didn’t get to experience all the hikes that I wanted to do. So, with limited time, here are three epic hikes that cannot be missed when visiting Mt. Hood.
Little Zig Zag Falls
The Little Zig Zag Falls Hike is a kid-friendly path that meanders along the scenic Zig Zag River before ending at a bench overlooking the falls. The hiking trail is nearly level and surrounded by wildflowers. If the access road isn’t snowed in, this trail is accessible year-round.
Distance: 1.5 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 50′ gain
Seasons: Spring through Fall
Fees: NW Forest Pass Required
Trillium Lake Loop Hike
Trillium Lake is a manmade lake built in the Summit Meadows area near Government Camp and offers year-round recreational opportunities. Winter offers snowshoeing and XC skiing, while summer provides photography opportunities with the picturesque lake and Mt. Hood in the background. It’s also a popular place for camping, fishing (stocked with trout, including trophy fish), hiking the Trillium Lake Loop, kayaking, SUP, wildlife viewing, picnicking and non-motorized boating. The area which is now the lake was part of the historic Barlow Road, the last leg of the Oregon Trail.
Distance: 1.9 miles
Elevation gain: 10 feet
High Point: 3,610 feet
Seasons: Summer into Fall
Fees: $5 day-use concessionaire fee (Northwest Forest Pass invalid): May 15th – October 1st
Mountaineer Trail Loop Hike
This trail begins at Timberline Lodge Trailhead. This is the highest elevation trail on the south side of Mt Hood and most of it is above tree line with outstanding views. Visitors can head west one mile to the old Timberline Cabin site and return on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail for an easier 2 mile hike. Or for a more challenging 2.7 mile hike, continue up to the 7000’ elevation Silcox Hut and the top of the Mile Ski lift. The northwestern corner of the trail is the least visited and has wonderful alpine terrain.
Distance: 2.7 miles
Elevation gain: 1065 feet
High Point: 6925 feet
Seasons: Summer and early Fall for snow free
My visit to Mt. Hood was made possible by Mt. Hood Territory. As always, my opinions are my own.