McNeil Point Trail

HARD 134 reviews
#7 of 143 trails in

McNeil Point Trail is a 7.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Rhododendron, Oregon that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,417 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

scramble

snow

The beginning of hike is through a beautiful forest setting and is quite relaxing. In some areas you are walking through close-in brush. At higher elevations you are above the treeline and it is quite steep/strenuous. Lunch stop at old rock shelter (McNeil Point) where one can see Mt. Ranier and Mt. Adams on a clear day. Quite worth it.

hiking
33 minutes ago

this hike was spectacular, by far the most rewarding hike i’ve done in oregon. was a bit of an ass kicker though! have to go all the way to the top and do the little loop. the views are unreal. only down side was the flies were REALLY bad at the bottom portion, but they don’t bite. enjoy!

backpacking
14 hours ago

Started from the Top Spur trailhead Saturday afternoon around 2PM and started hiking to McNeil point to camp for the night as our goal. We soon encountered the worst swarming of »BITING« flies I have ever experienced in my life. They were unrelenting and unphased by bug repellent. The entirety of the Top Spur trail and the short section of the PCT you hike for a second and the Timberline Trail as well was completely plagued by the pests. It wasn’t until we got above tree line on the McNeil Point trail did we find any respite. If not, we would’ve definitely bailed. The flies didn’t seem as bad coming back down which could’ve been due to our faster pace because they still did swarm if we stopped or slowed down at all.

Oh! And to top it all off when we got back to the trailhead we discovered our car had been broken into and everything, even just stupid stuff had been ripped off— yay...

Really too bad about the flies and the theft because McNeil Point is beautiful and we enjoyed a rather spectacular sunset and time above treeline. However, I don’t think I’ll be coming back to do this trail again anytime soon because of the flies on the approach and the criminal acts of others.

22 hours ago

Incredible hike except for flies on lower part. Views were amazing and you must go to the end up to McNeil Point. So close to Mt. Hood.

hiking
9 days ago

Amazing hike!! Some of the most majestic views of Mt. Hood I’ve seen yet! Total trail was over ten miles and it was an ass kicker but so worth it.

hiking
12 days ago

Truly a gem of a trail. Avalanche lilies, trillium, other wildflowers and especially bear grass everywhere. Stunning views of Hood's imposing NW face reveal themselves at 2 or 3 spots until it's there for good at the shelter. We continued up past it (the regular end of the trail) on a very steep, no-switchback trail along the ridge to a promontory overlooking Glisan Glacier and a spectacular, looming view of Mt Hood. Exhausting, but worth it.
All the notes about deep potholes on 1528 are true - drive slowly.

hiking
12 days ago

Favorite trail in Oregon! It has it all! The views: Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier while constantly seeing the glory of Hood itself. Forrest, meadows, ponds, lakes, streams, glaciers, tree trunks to climb over, rock piles to scramble on, mud, dirt and even snow! At the summit point the old rock shelter created a setting to sit, relax and marvel at the magnificence called Nature. #amazed #hiking #rvlife #YOLO #nature #dateday❤️

We went on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, and the parking lot was full when we finished (we were the 2nd ones on the trail that morning)

A few notes:
1. mark your GPS before turning into Lolo Pass because otherwise you’ll likely get lost on the way to the TH. lots of potholes, but if you go slow you can get around them.
2. Bring trekking poles if snow is still on ground. The snow is fun with poles ... can’t imagine doing that much snow without them.
3. Download the AllTrails map so that you don’t get lost on the trail. For some of the actual trail we had great service (Verizon), but not always.
4. Several people had to ask us directions as there are a few not well marked turn offs. Know your route.
5. Have fun - this is a marvelous hike!

hiking
13 days ago

Beautiful trail, great views. Take an actual trail map to help find the way for a great summer hike. The road to the Top Spur trailhead from Hood River was rough, and when we reached the parking area all of the vehicles were low to the ground 4-door cars — no SUVs — the drive is doable. From Top Spur trail head, the trail ends in a T, take a right. There is a large trail sign with a permit box, go to the right, uphill on the Timberline trail. After passing a few vistas with great views and hearing back into the pine forest, look for the cut off trail and take a left over the short ridge to find the Timberline trail — turn right and continue to McNeil Point.

21 days ago

Beautiful trail. This is a must hike. Beware though the road going to the trail is riddled with potholes and just barely fits two cars, probably want to keep your headlights on for safety. The last mile or more is gravel and fits one car with all the potholes. The trailhead is easy to see. There is still a lot of snow where the loop begins, I did not finish the trail because of the steep drop offs in the snow and sounded like there was going to be a gushing stream crossing and snow, but still clocked in 11.6miles. Also beware that at no point on the trail are there any signs that say mcneil point. The signs are sparse. There are also a lot of downed trees at the beginning of the mcneil trail that you need to climb or shimmy over. Cairn basin/timberline is the trail you want to take for mcneil point loop trail. I took an unmarked trail in the beginning and it added 7+ miles to my trip. Lots of bugs on the trail right now so put on your big spray before you hit the trail, every part of the trail the bugs were on me like glue. When I got to the waterfall viewpoint I put my bugspray on and at least they weren't buzzing in my ear like they were before! Hiked for 5.5hrs today. Didn't see a soul until I was heading down the trail around 11am. 5 people on the trail, 4 in the parking area and 6 heading up in their vehicles. So glad I went around 4:30am on 6/18/18

Amazing hike. It was a great work out for my family of 5 and I. My 12 years old son did great even thought this hike was tuff for all of us.

Things you must know. We had a hard time finding this trail. The dirrections took us at the begening of TOP SPUR trail ( witch is an other trail) with no indications for Mc Neil point trail.
You just need to start on that trail Top Spur trail and wen you come up to a big white sign after a mile or so. You take the TIMBERLINE trail on the left going down for a bit then up the all way to Mc neil point. . We went in mid june and we still had the walk on top of many snow patches. The day was splendid and once you get past the forest and the clearing open up on a spectacular view of the Mt hood, it only gets better from there all the way up to Mc Neil point where you will find a shelter made of stone. The view is breath takeing. If it is a clear day, you will see Mt st Adam, Mt st Helene, Mt rainier and Mt Hood very clearly.
We did not find many signs to help us, mostly we followed trails and foot prints. The all hike took about 7 h maybe more? So worth it!!
Marjolaine (from France)

1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful views once you get towards the top- not just Mt Hood, but also Mt St. Helens, Mt Adams, and even Mt Rainier (we had a clear day) However, we just went this past weekend- May 27-and there is still way too much snow to see the trail once you are a few miles in, we got lost from the trail multiple times. Would definitely do this trail again, but wait until at least July or you'll be hiking in feet deep snow

hiking
7 months ago

Tried to go up today. Unfortunately our vehicle could not make it up due to snow getting too thick on the roads. We still had about 2 miles left until the trailhead.

hiking
8 months ago

Hiked up to McNeil 11/1. Fun day, have always loved that hike.

Saw some snow, mostly high up. Did the steep climbers trail, gps track didn’t record the whole time for some reason or would have posted it. Was windy with maybe 50ft of visibility at the shelter. Be safe out there folks.

8 months ago

Went a couple days ago and it was my second time hiking the trail. There was some snow but the trail was even more beautiful than when I hiked it in mid summer! It's one of my favorite Mt. Hood trails and I never get tired of it. The viewpoint of Hood at the first major clearing out of the forest is my absolute favorite.

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked up to around 5800 feet. Too much snow on the first boulder field to cross safely (my opinion), short of McNeil Point by about .25 mi. Beautiful day. Trail was incredibly quiet and beautiful.

hiking
10 months ago

A must do hike in the Mt Hood area. Not only do you get a feel for the Oregon forests which you are in for a duration of the hike but you also spend a majority wandering above the tree line where you'll find streams, wildflowers, a wondrous vista of Hood but also of Rainier, St. Helens and Baker?. It is long, but it is very doable for all ages. Pack lots of water!

10 months ago

A few things that I wish I had known:
At the first trail split go right, and the second multi-trail split go left for the direct route to the shelter (Cairn Basin) or right for the Bald Mountain viewpoint, which connects somewhere that I never found and ended up all the way to the Muddy Fork River on the wrong trail.
Here's the second part to this story:
The trail on the left, the more direct route, is lovely and varied in landscape, and takes you to the shelter and trail to the ridge. That final mile blast up to the summit is a total ass kicker. Following the GPS map from previous hikers I continued on the loop trail which picked up just south of the shelter through the shrubs to a boulder/rock/gravel/sand scramble, which straight up sucked. I guess if you were going up that way it would be easier, but I never saw where that trail started when going via the long way. Had I realized what a bummer it would've been, especially alone I would've gone the long way back. I'm thankful I had poles, but I would certainly not opt to take it again.
But all in all it's a great hike!

hiking
10 months ago

Smokey with low visibility, still beautiful though and made for an awesome sunrise. Planning to return earlier in the season when it's not as dry.

hiking
10 months ago

I made it to the top in time to watch the sunrise this morning. Although there was low visibility on the horizon, the trail was beautiful and the surrounding landscape showed its massive scale quite brilliantly.

10 months ago

9/3/17- Tried to do this hike today and It's super smokey in the area. I wouldn't attempt it due to the lack of visibility and smoke inhalation. Disappointed but we'll be back!

hiking
11 months ago

I would not consider this a loop. It is defiantly an out and back. It was a rear kicker. Make sure to bring lots of water, we ran out on the way back.

hiking
11 months ago

It was long but definitely worth it. So many beautiful views! I went yesterday and loved going through the snow.

11 months ago

great hike! beautiful wildflower displays right now and only a couple of small snowfields to cross. if you go the bald mountain side, be sure to go up across the cutoff trail, not downslope or you will add a couple miles to your trip like I did!

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Fantastic hike! Note that after you pass by the sign marked for the "cutoff", it's about .25 miles before you reach a junction with McGee Creek Trail. If you want to go to McNeil point, you need to veer right as opposed to left. There is no sign, and the thru trail to McNeil is visibly obstructed by about 3 large downed trees. You can easily climb over them, but the trail beyond is easily missed if you aren't looking Worst case, know that if you find yourself going downhill for a while, you went the wrong way at the junction! Enjoy!

hiking
Tuesday, July 04, 2017

hiking
Monday, July 03, 2017

The hike was epic: 360 degree view with several peaks in addition to the looming Mt Hood, also abundant wildflowers, many runoff streams. There were several teaser views along the way with a big payoff at the end. There was a lot of snow for July: the upper 3rd of the trail was dominated by snowfields with interspersed bare trail (we took the short, steep way up because it was snow-free, then looped back). There were also a lot of downed trees. Overall it made for a fun hike: my dog (an athletic German Shorthair Pointer) and I enjoyed the obstacles and it made the payoff that much better. However, several people turned back early including backpackers that had planned more extended trips on the Timberline trail.

Note: you have to take Lolo pass to reach the trailhead after the muddy fork turnoff. Muddy fork is impassable by car or truck.

hiking
Friday, June 02, 2017

We attempted this hike three days ago. finding the trailhead was relatively easy though the road you take there is a bit worse for wear--be careful of potholes! We had to walk 1.4 km or so to the trailhead as there was too much snow to drive all the way there. The trail seems to have a lot if potential and it's a beautiful area but we couldn't finish it because the snow was too deep and we lost the trail after a while. Since the snow is melting it's also a little dangerous because the snow banks are soft and you can sink through unexpectedly to the ground. At the moment you definitely need a GPS to complete it. So my 3 stars is just based on our experience in the current conditions not really a complete/fair assessment.

hiking
Monday, May 29, 2017

hiking
Monday, May 29, 2017

Could not drive all the way to the trailhead by car as this year's snow still covers the road. Also note that you have to take Lolo Pass road to Lolo Pass trailhead before turning onto 1828 as the Muddy Fork road side is marked as closed to vehicles.

We parked about 1.5 miles from the trailhead and walked on the closed road over the snow. The trail itself is almost impossible to stay on where the snow is. This year any south/west-facing side is in snow. Once the trail shifts to the north/east side of Bald Mountain it's easy (but was hot). For the snowy sections you will need a waypoint or GPS device to stay on track. Lots of down trees on the trail but there are obvious ways around them.

The view is amazing. If it's not a clear day - this hike won't be worth the effort though.

hiking
Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Difficult HIke but worth the view. Take a map as some of the signs are not marked well. I have done this twice and the first time I did take a wrong turn at the lakes. Use GPS if you have it. Wear proper hiking gear as it is not a good trail in some areas. You will be crossing lava beds and walking through brush.

hiking
Saturday, October 29, 2016

Beautiful hike, with lots of different terrain and segments of the PCT and Timberline Trail. Woods, rocks, valleys. Half-way, there's an incredible place to stop for lunch, with an amazing view of Hood. I hit plenty of snow, which made for a beautiful final few miles of this hike. Incredible views looking North to Ranier and Adams (and Jefferson).

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