Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Mt. Hood National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

The view at the loop is so rewarding!! The trail is really easy until just past the permit box at the edge of Salmon-huckleberry Wilderness, where it really heads uphill. PERFECT on a sunny day.

We didn't make the whole hike, but what we did was beautiful. We had our 5 and 6 year old with us, which made us take a nice slow pace, as there were some decent elevation gains for them. The river right there was wonderful, and there were some great opportunities for pictures. It was fun, especially for the kids, to see rafts and kayaks heading down the river.

Great conditioner! This trail is no slouch. Views are minimal for all of the work invested. Not enough payoff.

backpacking
23 days ago

"Screw you road! you're ruining my emersion!" The trail was fantastic, pretty steep at some points, really rocky at other points, by no means a walk in the park but not so hard that we were deterred at any point in time. Went until the sun started to set, made it to the waterfall which was a bit underwhelming but cool none the less. A great first trail to backpack with my friends, definitely interested in going again and finishing it next time!

A favorite!

hiking
1 month ago

Completed this hike in early June 2017. FANTASTIC Hike and over the course of 5 days, we saw only 3 people. Beautiful rugged area and we had the entire lake to ourself. We caught several trout which we released for future hikers to enjoy Very windy the first day and night but only added to the excitement. Love this place and it exceeded all expectations!

backpacking
1 month ago

Took my six-year-old on his first backpacking trip here. Amazing spot considering how gentle of a hike it is for the little ones. Confusing signage, though, because it says no camping or fires, but what another hiker told me was that it only applied a quarter mile from the trail head.

Pretty and lightly trafficked trail. Great river views and lush, green forest. Would be great for a picnic, as there are many nice river spots along the way. The only downside is that some parts are close to the road, and those tended to have some vehicle trash and toilet paper around them. Still, other parts were beautiful and secluded, and we only saw two other people while we were there, so it was nice to have to trail to ourselves. Trilliums and wildflowers are just beginning to bloom.

Hiked on 03/28/18. Started at Fish Creek trailhead. Went to Pup Creek Falls. Fell into Pup Creek while making the crossing because those last two rocks were slippery! Gotta be more careful there for sure next time. Went to Indian Henry trailhead, then did the return trip, stopping again at PC Falls to add as many miles as I could to the trip. Total 16.3 miles for the day.

Great hike with my pup. Only saw a handful of other hikers and heard less than 10 cars pass by. I started at the middle point where these directions take you. I went left to the campground and back up to rainbow campground, then back to my car and my watch had me at 10 miles. Although I did explore all the side trails and frequently walked to river access. Also I did not see a waterfall. Great hike though!

trail running
2 months ago

Trail was amazing to run! Lots of scenery. Quad crushing hills. Sign is hard to find, FYI.

There was still snow on the trail, I would definitely wear boots if you have them. There is a lot of foot traffic. So quiet and beautiful, we can’t wait to do it again!

hiking
2 months ago

Must pay to park; no prepaid park passes can be used. Make sure to pay at Fish Creek even if you park one car at Indian Henry. Trail is narrow and steep in some places but maintained well. Made passing others challenging in most areas especialyl with dogs. One large creek crossing with no bridge was extremely difficult in March. Trail is adjacent to the Hwy, some powelines, and you can hear the buzz from the electrical plant. Parking was full, we had to step through large amounts of garbage to get to the restroom.

This is a well maintained trail, but a hard uphill climb. My two cents:
1. to find the trailhead, go to the right after the Riley Horse Camp. The trailhead parking is wash out, so when you hit the end of the road, the trail is about 200 yards, off to your left. You will see a small trail leading over to the actual trail head from the end of the road.
2. Parking,- do not park at the end to the road (very tight space) If you go about 100 yds back, there is an open meadow area that works great for parking Last resort, go back to the Horse camp and hike-in the extra mile.
3. Horse Camp = lots of horse poop on trail. Just be careful where you step.
4. You will cross a creek about 1 mile into the trail. That is your last water until you get to Cast Lake.
5. At the top of this mountain, there is a awesome view of four mountains (Hood, Adams, St. Helens, and Rainier) I almost missed this view because I was exhausted from the climb up the trail. Just walk a few steps to the north, when you get to the top.
6. Cast Lake is awesome. Eight camp sites along the North and West side. Some are 50 yards up along the lake rig. Worth the hike.
7. You will find mosquitos, but when I sat right next to the lake, there were no mosquitos. I have no idea why, but it was nice to sit in the morning and have bug-free coffee.

Snowy, beautiful, amazingness! Had to navigate through some slick areas but well worth the effort. Glad I had trekking poles and good traction boots. No snow towards the viewpoint.

One my my favorites! A little bit of a steep hike up the first part, but beautiful!

hiking
3 months ago

This is a point to point hike along the Clackamas River that connects upstream Riverside Campground to downstream Rainbow Campground. I started and finished at Rainbow Campground trailhead. It is a good easy hike with very little elevation gain and I used it to increase my walking speed. Light snow was on the trail in some areas though not an issue. I imagine with all the spur trails to the river this is a good place for summer swims. Hiked on 02/15/18.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice easy trail, very narrow in some places. There are two entry points. You can start at the first one one which is about .50 mile from the Ripplebrook guard station, which is also a general store that sells passes to Bagby Hot Springs if you wanna full day. There is a sign indicating the trail, but this point drops you off in the middle of the trail and you can walk up and down both directions. If you want to start at the beginning of the trail, head further down to Riverside camp ground for an easy 3.7 mile trek one-way. As noted it runs close to the road, but traffic was light as was the trail on a cloudy Sunday morning in February.

hiking
3 months ago

Steep start that leads toward two epic views: one of the valley and one of Mt. Hood. Went about 5 miles (in/back).

Haven’t hiked to the end but if you want to walk close to a roaring river a lot then this is for you! Disclaimer, the first little bit you are walking around a ridge so at first you are far from the river but when you go down, you enter a magical grove a trees with a creek and the roaring river going around it. I feel like I didn’t want to go any further b/c it’s so charming and inviting!
PS at the trailhead pay attention to the signage since the parking lot is this trail on one side and the Old Salmon River trailhead is on the other side. Easy to confuse the trails.

Only did a fast in and back a few miles but great trail, fantastic scenery. Close to a good introductory spot for rock climbers

a must do. I love this hike. It's a great weekend hike. 2 19 mile days aren't that bad if you go ultralight. so many waterfalls. paint brush and other wildflowers are plentiful. trail is in great shape.

This trail combined with Horseshoe ridge makes a great long day horseback ride. I take the Cast lake trail into the lake ( short detour), have lunch, & head back on Horseshoe which comes out near Riley horse camp. There is a small tough rock scramble on top of Horseshoe, but not as bad as some people make it seem. Shoes are required on this trail.

hiking
5 months ago

This is by far one of the most rewarding hikes I've ever done. It is a quite difficult one and it's definitely not for the casual hiker. If you plan on doing the entire distance, you will probably need as much daylight as you can get. It's better to do the loop instead of coming back the same way. If you end up doing the loop, the way back will be on a road so even if it gets dark, you will be fine. We couldn't make it to the end and we opted for the smaller loop but next time, with better preparation, we will! Dress in layers and don't give up at the switchbacks-it gets a lot better afterwards and the views are well worth the effort.

Trail is good. Some ice around where the cliffs/water run off is. Trail could also use some weedwacking around the powerline areas.

5 months ago

Super tough switchback but totally worth the view! We were so high it was dizzying! Can't wait to go back!

Went a few days ago and it was so green and beautiful!

hiking
6 months ago

I haven't made it all the way from point A to point B for the full 18 miles but I have made it passed two of the viewpoint saddles and all I can say is WOW! What great views! I especially love the rockpile viewpoint because Mt Hood looks close enough to reach out and touch! Plus class 2 scrambles are always fun!

My only grief with this trail is simply how tough it is! In 2 miles we had climbed 2000', that's a huff and puff type of climb! I will say this is a great training trail for those looking to do trails like Defiance.

I will definitely be back when I have more time and aim to get to Devil's Peak and possibly even traverse it from the backside near Kinzel Lake.

Gorgeous and magical fall hike!

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