Newton Creek, Timberline Trail, and Gnarl Ridge Trail Loop

HARD 42 reviews
#45 of 156 trails in

Newton Creek, Timberline Trail, and Gnarl Ridge Trail Loop is a 7.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Mount Hood Parkdale, Oregon that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from June until October.

Distance: 7.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1,443 feet Route Type: Loop


nature trips

bird watching



no dogs

Directions from Hood River: Travel south on Highway 35 for approximately 33 miles. Turn right at the Hood River Meadows Nordic ski area sign and drive to the trailhead parking lot on the right.

5 days ago

Great trail, amazing views of Hood, snowy but melted in some spots. I only did the Newton Ck trail portion, there was a tree was down about 0.5mi into Newtons trail from Elk, completely blocks the trail but I was able to find a way around eventually.

27 days ago

Great hike in the woods. Deviated slightly and followed Elk Meadow perimeter, it added less that 1/2 mile of flat hiking (see recording). Socked in just below Timberline Tr. or may have rated it a 5. My favorite part today was walking out Newton Creek, very serene.

3 months ago

6/15/2019 - Trails are easy to follow. Creek is easy to cross with some balance, cairns mark the trail. Still too much snow on trail for me to trek up to Lamberson Spur, but snow really only on Timberline portion of the hike. Blowdowns have not been cleared this year, had to crawl under/over some trees. Elk Meadows trail is crowded, but only saw a few other hikers elsewhere. Camped at Elk Meadows

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Completed this trail on 6-3. Absolutely beautiful with amazing views of Mt.Hood. The map can be confusing to follow. Turn left onto Newton creek trail before you hit the river and follow the loop. There was still a few sections of snow on 6-3 about 4ft in height in the higher elevation near a ledge. I was able to pass in my trail runners.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Did 5/21 - unfortunately wasn’t able to do the whole loop. I took the counter clockwise way up via elk. Trail was very snowy! Not sure what I expected. Either way I made it up to the top but once I started my way down on the loop there was way too much snow. I tried to follow the faint tracks left in the snow but eventually my feet sunk in about a foot deep one too many times along with the stress of trying to stay on the trail so I turned around. Maybe wait a month or two for some more snow to melt? The views were gorgeous at the top though! And I saw one other hiker the whole time. Would love to do the loop by even the out and back was great. Definitely broke a sweat but not too challenging physically.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Fun trail, super snowy day. We tried to take the Newton Creek trail up to Timberline Trail, but it was too difficult walking on the steep grade of the last mile of trail.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

was great. alittle bit confusing signs but we got it right. excellent view once at top. just follow the little Rock piles when down at river crossings.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Go early to avoid the crowds. Nice trail, well marked, and the wildflowers are amazing! You will need to cross the river either through it or on a log.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

One of my favorites. Going counterclockwise crossing the river is simple, even with my dog but once at the top I haven't found a good way to cross with my dog in order to finish the loop. Going counterclockwise, follow the trail left whenever it veers off to other marked trails. Amazing views and being so close to Hood for a moderately challenging hike is awesome.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Take the loop counterclockwise for a more challenging switchback hike, clockwise is a little easier. crossing Newton Creek is not bad, there are downed logs to walk on, though it was a hot day so we waded through the knee-high water while holding onto the log...refreshing and actually easier. The lupines along the entire hike were gorgeous!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

The turn off from the elk meadow trail has two large trees down at the entrance. Technically the loop is not even close to the meadow. Not a "hard" hike but challenging enough.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Did the Meadows loop. About 6,5 miles. Nice hike. The view at the meadow is worth the pain of the climb !!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Did this June 2016, beautiful view of Hood from a side you don't normally get to see. Saw about 15-20 people the whole hike which now a days is good. The meadow itself is a great place to stop halfway for lunch or a break. Some areas in the meadow have more bugs than others so it's worth checking it all out before settling in. Day use permit required, 5 dollars at the parking area.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Elk Meadows Loop will be 9 miles unless you add on Gnarly Ridge and that will add a couple more miles. Plenty of water falls but little else.

Monday, October 26, 2015

One thing of note on this trail. Newton creek can vary in size depending on the day. It can go from easy to cross in the morning to almost impossible for some folks in the mid afternoon, depending on the season.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Coming from Portland, drive past Mt. Hood Meadows for about a mile and take a left at the Nordic Ski Area. You'll see Nordic to the right and there is a road to the left. Go down the road to the left. The trail head is obvious and on the right, about 1/4 mile down. The trail is somewhat flat for a while, then after crossing the Newton creek it starts gaining elevation. When you come to the creek, there are some small logs that you will cross over. At first we didn't know we were crossing the river so we turned left, because it looks like the trail goes to the left. Don't turn. Cross the river. The trail will continue. There are plenty of trail signs throughout the hike. There are plenty of campsites as well for backpacking. The sites we saw circled the Elk Meadows Perimeter loop. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Great Day hike with stunning views of Hood. We camped overnight which was nice too. Plenty of water.

Friday, July 13, 2012

This trail is moderate to difficult depending on what section of the loop you choose. I recomend pushing up along the east side of the meadow and than looping back arround. The meadow is large and has some amazing photo oppurtunities. There is a waterfall in the area but didnt feal like seeing it this trip. At the north part of the meadow there is a trail that carves in to the center giving way to many shady rest areas to have lunch with the view. We took the far west connecting trail in an attempt to take the infamouse wiped out section trail which is all but after the large flood that occured some years ago. We had to forge accross Newton Creek that is not very safe. Luckely someone managed to mark the in trail with orange ribbon so we found our way across. After crossing much of the trail was under snow with little sighn of previouse foot traffic. We finally connected with the 600 trail that took us back to the parking lot along the ridge.

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