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McNeil Point Trail

HARD 190 reviews
#6 of 151 trails in

McNeil Point Trail is a 8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Rhododendron, Oregon that features a lake 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
8.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,404 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

muddy

rocky

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
3 months ago

I did the trail for the first time today and it was a beautiful, though chili hike. The entire trail is snowed in so come prepared. The road itself leading to the trailhead is covered in snow, though lots of exposed ice throughout would make it unsuitable for non AWD vehicles without snow tires. Temperatures hovered around 25°F, with clouds rolling in and out, and occasional cool wind gusts/mild snow fall. This was despite a forecast of clear skies. Overall, the hike is very enjoyable, and I plan on doing it again later this winter.

3 months ago

Great hike, but definitely need spikes to get to the shelter. It may be better now, but when we went all the snow was iced over and there was no traction whatsoever. Longer than 10 miles, but worth every step. We took the trail that added an extra 0.6 mile to get that glorious view of Mt Hood, and an extra mile going to Cairn Basin. The trek down to Cairn Basin after the shelter is worth it.

3 months ago

Went there yesterday. Gorgeous hike challenging but not annoyingly difficult. Some ice patches but I easily broke through most of it. A good pair of treaded hiking boots should be fine. If you are under 130#s maybe some shoe spikes might be in order.

hiking
4 months ago

Amazing hike, but come prepared for icy and snowy trail conditions starting halfway through the hike! It’s difficult hiking in ice up and down hill. Bring boot traction chains and hiking poles. They’re absolutely necessary. Hiked November 10th 2018.

4 months ago

Top hike to get near Hood; love it!

4 months ago

Nowhere near 7.7. Plan for more like 10.5 if you make it all the way to the point. It's an amazing, and beautiful, hike, but definitely plan for something more substantial than the description indicates.

The gray jays and ravens made it even more fun!

hiking
4 months ago

This definitely is not 7.7, my Garmin measured 9.5 miles going with the shortcut. Do. Not. Do. The. Shortcut. It’s so so steep and not worth it, especially with my dog. The in and out way is so much more pleasant and scenic. I loved this hike enough to do it again without the terrible shortcut.

hiking
4 months ago

Very great hike. I would rate hard, but it is on the longer side, with steady incline throughout. Must do if wanting to get up close and personal with Mt. Hood, and wanting a decent hike!

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful t-shirt weather, no bugs, perfect day! Met many great people. I got to witness and take a photo for a couple from Minnisota who were in outright disbelief as they viewed a real mountain up close for the first time. A good reminder of how lucky we are to live here and see it often.

5 months ago

Did this yesterday (Friday) and LOVED it! Not many people on the trail at all. We found the trail a little confusing but figured it out in the end. Ended up keeping left on both loops going up and doing the other way down. This takes you the gradual way up to McNeil Point and we ended up going down the steep way. We agreed that we would have preferred climbing up the steep way over down- tough but it was pretty sketchy going down. If you go up the gradual way, don't feel like you need to wait until you get to the shelter to stop for views. We didn't sit in the shelter at all because it's enclosed so you miss much of the view. Wish we'd stopped to eat on one of the big rocks coming up!

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful day on the trail yesterday. The weather was perfect, even though the Mt. Hood view from the point was a bit socked in. Still a few strangling wildflowers and great fall reds, oranges, and yellows on the foliage. Such a well worth it hike!

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked this trail on a weekend with some friends. It is much busier than a weekday, so try your best to get to the trailhead before 8:30 AM. Also, if you can, try to hike it on a clear day. There's so much more to see.

6 months ago

No idea where the 7 miles came from but it’s around 11. No black flies yesterday which was a bonus

hiking
6 months ago

This hike is what hiking in Oregon is all about. I’m still in awe with how beautiful, challenging, and centring it was to do alone. The parking lot is incredible easy to get to, but this hike is NOT 7.7 miles if you go the accessible way—by not using the climbing trail. My total was 10.7 miles on the trail, and they were all wonderful. There are plenty of hikers around, so if you have any issues, ask others for help! Finally, be sure to pack layers—because it can be cold at the top. According to my watch, it was 39 degrees at McNeil point. Otherwise, enjoy this incredible hike that will offer really stunning landscapes and geographies, even when it’s cloudy.

hiking
6 months ago

This is a beautiful hike up to the base of Mt. Hood. The trail takes one over two small waterfalls, though small alpine lakes, and past a rushing snow melt stream. On a clear day, one can see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Rainier. The shelter at McNeil Point is a great place to stop for lunch and take in the view. Taking the Bald Mountain option (right at the first fork option on the map) is highly recommended for amazing views of Mt. Hood and its valleys. When we went in July there were plenty of wildflowers blooming, as well. This is a great hike to experience the Mt. Hood National Forest and views of prominent peaks in the Cascade Range.

The Top Spur Trailhead has some parking, but make sure to get there early. We arrived around 6:30 AM on a Saturday and it was already starting to fill up. We finished up around noon, and biting flies had come out. Start early to avoid most of the bugs. The trail is very accessible for dogs and consists mostly of rooty soil. This trail is very steep in some segments. At the 3 mile mark, the right fork is a very steep scramble to McNeil Point. We chose to take the more gradual left fork as an out and back instead of a loop.

With this hike being through National Forest, make sure to have the proper recreation permit. This trail head does not have a fee drop box, but Northwest Forest day passes can be purchased online and printed at home.

hiking
6 months ago

Probably the best around the Mt. Hood. You won't regret. Rewarding. The hike does not end at the shelter. Goes up to the ridge. Did it at the end of June with remaining snow up there. Met only one couple on the way down. I recommend the steep way up (counter clockwise). If hiking in snow - be careful on the ridge.

hiking
7 months ago

Hardest hike I've done since Yosemite few years back. Highly recommend hiking poles due to the elevation climb; little to no switchbacks on the trail. Note that you need a recreation pass visible in your car at the trailhead, and that there is a registration box a little ways up with a form that needs filled out. Other then the copious amounts of black flies at higher elevations, the hike was amazing. Still got some good views of Mt. Hood even with some smoke haze in the air.

hiking
7 months ago

This trail is pretty tough. I left early hoping to beat some of the heat but that didn’t really pan out. I followed the map posted above. When I left the parking lot from the Top Spur trail I headed up a bit to a second junction. Left will take you down the PCT towards Lolo trailhead, right takes you to a nice little head scratcher of a junction (which is where you need to be). After you fill out your permit you can head left and get right into the hike or do what I did and take what I thought was the direct trail - but it’s a side trail- WITH AN EPIC VIEW. This path leads around the side of a ridge and is so worth taking either in your way in or on your way out. This meets up with an trail cut off that put me back on the proper trail that heads up to McNeil. I took the long way round, instead of the questionable looking side trail that ends up taking through quite the scramble (I’ll be honest I didn’t know that was the trail that takes you straight up) I opted to take the slow painful workout that goes along the back side of the ridge. I was better for it, there’s 3-4 water sources which were essential on a day like yesterday. The flies were $&@!?@& terrible. Don’t take your pup unless you have pup shoes, that dirt in direct sunlight can be really tough on them!

hiking
7 months ago

This is a hard trail. Very rewarding views. Flies are horrible! We did the rock side down and it was really difficult. A scramble that never seemed to end.

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked it on 7/29. Enjoyed the flowers and the amazing beautiful views. Didn't have any issues driving a Prius slowly through the potholes. Flies are still there. They're everywhere and they do bite. As soon as you stop, they swarm you. Some of us accidentally swallowed some. Bug repellents with DEET or Picadirin didn't help at all. Someone please report when they're no longer there, so we can go back and enjoy the hike fly-free.

trail running
7 months ago

Hiked/ran this on 7/22. Beautiful views and forest. Started at 8:30. I recommend doing the top loop counterclockwise. We did it clockwise and going down was tough on the steeper section. If you go all the way the McNeil point, it's around 10 miles total (not 7.7). Lots of flies in the lower forest on our way down around noon.

hiking
7 months ago

My friend and I both loved this hike and it's the best I've ever been on. The drive up isn't too bad, but like previous reviews have said, drive slow and watch for potholes. We took a MINI Clubman up to the trailhead and had no problems, but if you aren't paying attention, or if you're going too fast you will bottom out in lower clearance vehicles. The bugs were pretty bad, and you will have to deal with them for multiple miles of wooded trail, but most of them didn't bite. We were using 40% deet and it didn't deter the flies in the slightest. Picadarin would probably be a better alternative. The trail is definitely rough, I wouldn't consider myself to be in the best shape, but I did it with a few breaks for pictures and snacks along the way. It took us about 3:15 to the top and 2:25 back down. The view is definitely worth it! Words honestly can't express such sights. 5/5 would definitely do battle with armies of flies again.

hiking
8 months ago

On the way up we stayed right to Bald Mountain and could see all of Mt Hood before taking the shortcut trail back to the main trail. Did the loop at the end clockwise up to the point. The descent from the peak is quite steep for the first 1/2 mile as the elevation drop is 1000ft, with a little scree. Phenomenal views all around.

hiking
8 months 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
8 months 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.

8 months 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
8 months 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
8 months 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
8 months 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!

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