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Timberline Trail Around Mount Hood

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Mount Hood National Forest

Timberline Trail Around Mount Hood is a 41.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Mount Hood Parkdale, Oregon that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 41.4 miles Elevation Gain: 10,341 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

historic site

The incredible Timberline Trail, beginning at Timberline Lodge and circling the immense Mount Hood, is the backpacking trip of a lifetime. Covering about 40 miles, most people complete the trip in 4 days and 3 nights. Located in the Cascade region, this trip features stunning views of Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and the Three Sisters. Portland, the Coastal Range, and the Columbia River are also visible from the trail. With highlights like Ramona Falls and Paradise Park, the variety experienced along this route is truly incredible. Barren lava flows can be seen along with towering craggy glaciers. Traces of evidence from the geological processes that formed this unique landscape can be seen throughout the length of your trip. Blooming meadows of wildflowers and huge waterfalls are sure to make all of your climbing efforts well worth it!

hiking
3 days ago

What a great trail. There are a few sections less exciting than others. Did this in a 3 day trek and loved every minute. Added a short walk to Ramona falls and it made for a great last day. Only section I could live without is Zig Zag Canyon...

backpacking
bugs
muddy
over grown
snow
4 days ago

We began our trip on 6/25 for a 4 day 3 night trip with goals to complete the entire loop. Out of the lodge there is a good amount of snow around the South side of the mountain, as it is still early in the season, which can add difficulty and slow your mph considerably. Once you get through the snow the trail is pretty solid. We heard along the way about a lot of snow on the east and north east side making it un-passable. The rivers are running high with a lot of run off so be careful when crossing. We decided to camp and do a day hike up to McNeil Point and then turn around and hike out about 15 miles. Day 4 we saw a lot of rain/sleet/snow around 6,000’ so be sure to have extra gear for that as it is still very early and winter conditions can still roll in especially at considerable elevations. If you plan wisely and think critically you’ll be able to have a safe and fun trip. Otherwise the views were epic and the trail was solid when it was bare.

backpacking
23 days ago

A very cool loop and it's super close to Portland. I did this last summer and really enjoyed the experience. Parts of the trail can get a bit crowded, but it's not too bad. Here is a review I wrote that has all my pictures and more info about the loop. https://backpackers-review.com/trip-reports/timberline-trail-mount-hood-wilderness/

hiking
3 months ago

I’ve completed the trail once from here and it is worth it.

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

TOTALLY WORTH EVERY STEP. This trail was all it was hyped to be. The elevation changes and, sometimes difficult, water crossings made it long and grueling With that said, I would never consider not doing it! I completed this trail going clockwise beginning at Timberline Lodge in mid Aug over 4 days and 3 nights with a total distance of just shy of 44 miles, which included side trips and no shortcuts! What a treat and achievement that I can only compare to Army basic training. It was very tough and sometimes I wondered what I had gotten myself into, but it was rewarding and I am so glad I did it. Photo ops are everywhere on this trail but, curiously, very little wildlife other than the dogs other hikers had. The different sides of the mountain provided different environments and scenery, along with many opportunities to practice stream crossings. None proved impossible at the time of year I was there, but some were pretty difficult so be prepared with hiking sticks as they are a 100% requirement. I hear that in spring some of the crossings are impossible due to the volume and speed of the water. Plan for daily distance estimates, not specific locations for camping as the available spots may be occupied. I met some great people along the way too! Overall it was among the top outdoor experiences I've ever had!

hiking
snow
8 months ago

Went out September 28-29. Trail was beautiful and stream crossings not bad. However, we got snowed out pretty bad and decided to only spend one night. The trail was starting to disappear.

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked clockwise from Cloud Cap 9/24-9/26, camping at White River and then Muddy Fork. Wind was insane at White River, don’t know if that’s typical. My tent kept blowing down on top of me and a ton of sand blew up under my rainfly to coat everything in silty dust. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of Mother Nature’s power, though! Camped the following night at the North end of Muddy Fork and couldn’t have asked for a more perfect night. So I call it even. Only problematic river crossing was west fork of White River; the river itself was low, but it had carved out a 10’ canyon. Found a 5’ deep section a little up the river (North) that I could crawl into/out of with some scrambling.

hiking
9 months ago

Pretty fun. Did it in 3 days 2 nights and dropped out at the White River because it was extremely angry after a storm. Probably would've done this hike before the rainy season if I could redo it

hiking
9 months ago

One of the most varied and beautiful trails I have ever hiked. I split the 40 miles into two days but I can see three days as being the sweet spot for this trek. I hiked the Timberline back in September when the river crossings were tame w

hiking
9 months ago

Done from 9/19 to 9/21. This whole trail is incredible, but being my solo first multi-overnighter, I was also terrified most of the time. Will I fall in a creek and die alone? Will I be mauled by a cougar and die alone? Will I freeze to death at night and die alone? Some less morbid things I noted: No bugs, no snow (on the trail). Fall colors just starting at higher elevations. I started from Timberline, going CW. Had lunch at Ramona Falls (10 mi), slept at Cairn Basin shelter (17 mi -- no phone signal), lunch the next day at Cooper Spur shelter (26 mi), slept at Mt Hood Meadows (34 mi --yay phone signal), and then finally a quick 4-5 mi out on the third day. The trail was relatively easy to follow and in good condition (not too rocky except near Gnarl Ridge, not too steep except some switchbacks leading down to creeks/rivers). Even on the first day, I was stuck in a cloud with low visibility and I didn't struggle to follow the correct route. I used Gaia gps with a pre-downloaded track (https://caltopo.com/m/4R0E) as my sanity check, and screenshots from the oregonhikers trail description as my back-up sanity check when my GPS was being wonky. Most of the creek crossings were not terrible, with the only 2 exceptions being the Elliot and the White River. The White was not actually difficult to cross, but I couldn't find the "popular" way so just had to kind of wing it across its multiple forks. The Elliot I crossed a small stable log to get on a overhang. However, climbing out of this overhang onto the river bank was terrifying as I had to lift myself up quite a bit using unstable rock/dirt that was falling away into the river. In general, if you're willing to get your feet wet the crossings might be easier but I opted to stay dry since the temps were in the 40s. Backpacking things. Glad I packed toilet supplies, gaiters (for water and for dust), and things like hand warmers and an extra pair of wool socks to keep me relatively warm/dry at night.

hiking
9 months ago

Thoroughly enjoyed this trail. Hiked 9/12-9/15. Trail is well maintained and lovely views when the skies are clear. We caught a bit of moisture our first night as we camped just short of Sandy River and it lingered around with low clouds/mist for most of Friday, until about half-way to Elk Cove where we set up camp. The weather Friday morning made for a less than stellar hike to Elk Cove but the views at Elk Cove more than made up for it. Clear skies at night, full moon.. almost no need for a headlamp! Saturday was great. Perfect weather for hiking, clear, dry and not too warm. We hiked from our camp at Elk Cove to Cloud Cap for lunch and then pushed on up to the highest elevation just past Coopers Spur for a quick break and then it was on to Mt Hood Meadows for our last night. We decided to push past Newton Creek to avoid as much of the bad weather coming in Sunday as we could. For the most part both creek and river crossings we very manageable, Only section we felt was a bit sketchy was down at the White River crossing. We had rain for a while leading up to this crossing and there were concerns of some rising water but we were able to hop across without any issues. It was grueling rain / wind / elevated hike back to Timberline though.. let’s just say the lodge parking lot was the most welcoming sight at the end. Popped in to the lodge for some food, a tall beer and a little warmth by the fire to cap off our 40.1+ miles. If you’re planning this one, make sure to check the extended forecast, trail conditions / water crossings and report your trip to family or friends! And don’t forget to take breaks along the way, there’s so many great views you will want to soak it all in.

hiking
9 months ago

I love this Trails so much that I did backpacking at this place not only ONCE but 3X in 3 weeks last month in August. I will be coming back one last time this coming Thursday before I call it good until next summer. Ps To Andy Stevens - hows the White river crossing looks like? 2 weeks ago it was really sucks and the also the one before Newton creek. LOL

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked clockwise in 2 days, 1 night. 9/11-9/12. Plenty of water sources. I’d say carry 2L at a time. River crossings were fairly easy even late in the day. No need for microspikes yet, only spent 15feet crossing snow at the high point. Started at timberline and hiked 21m to Elk Cove to camp. Water source there. Then hiked 20m back to timberline the next day. Trail is fairly well marked, but if you feel like you might be off trail you’re probably off trail. I’d recommend saving the hike so you can access it from the trail. Weather was great, amazing views of rainier, Adams, St. Helens, Jefferson, south sister.

hiking
9 months ago

I hiked this trail Aug 30 and 31st. Took one night and most of two days to complete. I would recommend taking two nights and three days especially if you aren’t hiking solo. Trail was absolutely beautiful. Lots of different terrain. I camped near a beautiful meadow that was so many shades of red it looked like fire. I laid on a log and looked at the stars. It was the most overwhelming beautiful and spiritual experience I’ve had in years. I could see millions of stars. It made the trip something I’ll never forget. River crossings can be a challenge. Be prepared for at least 7ish of them. There’s a few pretty substantial uphill grinds but nothing too crazy. Well marked but signage is really old and sometimes confusing. Have a map. I took a wrong turn and added some unnecessary miles that lead to a paved road. It was definitely a low point of the day. I’ll be hiking this one again before winter sets in fully. Absolutely wonderful.

hiking
9 months ago

My husband and I hiked this trail clockwise in 4 days in mid August ‘19. We had mostly good weather (cool and misty the first day.). The trail is easy to follow with lots of ups and downs. The views and wildflowers were spectacular! The water crossings were doable although I was a bit nervous! I chose to get my feet wet by wading Eliot as we were there in the afternoon and it was flowing fast! I also waded another creek as I was tired and did not trust myself to stay on the two skinny logs others were using. Cairn Basin camping was particularly beautiful and enjoyable. The last day was quite the slog uphill in the sand but was not as bad as I had heard. Wonderful lunch at Timberline Lodge at the end!

hiking
9 months ago

Hike 9/13-9/15 in 3 days 2 nights, clockwise starting at Timberline Lodge. Day 1: Start at timberline and camped near Bald Mt. at the Timberline cutoff. Day 2: Hiked at the base of Gnarl ridge. There are many streams to filter water from. Water crossings are manageable but be smart (you shouldn't need to get your feet wet). There are no camping opportunities between Cloud Cap and Gnarl Ridge. Gnarl Ridge is incredibly windy. When you lose the trail for stream crossings, keep and eye out for stacked rocks. I was not bothered by bugs for the entirety of the hike. The hike was very enjoyable and a nice challenge. I would recommend for anyone interested in a backpacking opportunity.

backpacking
9 months ago

Did this loop Counterclockwise 10-16 August. We had absolutely perfect weather for our trip. We didn’t want to rush and wanted to take time to “smell the roses” so to speak! Glad we did. We had so many stunning and amazing views. I took over 400 pictures alone and had to hold back from taking so many more! The nice thing about this trail is it is national forest land not national park land. Therefore, you can camp just about anywhere. But because of the terrain, that’s not as easy as it sounds. If you are a hammock camper, it’s much more possible than if you’re a tent camper. So take that into consideration when planning. With that, we had no trouble making it to campsites. Just remember, can’t always just grab a spot off the trail. Many water crossings on the trail. Most can be done easily, but a couple were a little hair raising for me! All were do-able with no problems. Couple of them you may have to choose the route or logs that you’re comfortable with, some you just have to use what’s there! Saw several hikers just walk through the water and not even worry about rocks or logs! Water was not an issue. Many opportunities to get water along the trail. I made the mistake of carrying way to much. Should have done the squeeze method like most and saved a ton of weight! Lots of little waterfalls on the sides of the trail to grab a drink and fill a bottle. Also, the water feels great ton the face and head if it’s warm out! Would wet my hat every chance and seemed to keep me a little cool! If you’re looking for a loop trail that can be easily completed, this is it! Just know your limits and plan accordingly. Would be a great test run if you are thinking of doing the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier someday! Definitely a must do for anyone who loves this stuff!

hiking
10 months ago

We were on the trail Aug 26-29. It can easily be done in 3 days but we had awesome weather and wanted to take our time. Many stunning views of Mt Hood throughout and the wildflowers were everywhere! Water crossings weren’t too bad (didn’t get feet wet once), but there are several. Part of our group witnessed a wall of water coming down the White River after crossing, carrying car sized boulders along with it (heavy down pour as we were finishing up caused a bit of flash flooding) so keep your eyes peeled if crossing during rainy weather. Plenty of campsites along the way. We had a group of 5 so had to be a little bit more picky, but didn’t have any trouble. The trail was extremely forgiving, usually having switchbacks during inclines, and several flat areas mixed in to let your legs catch a break. Absolutely beautiful hike!

hiking
10 months ago

Four day, clockwise from timberline lodge, finished August 29th. Trail is in great shape. Camped at Muddy fork, elk cove, and newton creek. Mileage was 13, 10, 10, and 9 for the four days. Hardest day was day three with the coe and Elliot crossings and the exposed climb up to Lambert’s spur. Paradise loop and the areas around elk cove were our favorite. Had a great time and enjoyed meeting everyone along the way, including some amazing PCT hikers.

backpacking
rocky
scramble
10 months ago

Incredibly scenic! Definitely bring trekking poles for difficult river crossings

hiking
10 months ago

On August 6th I went hiking/backpacking in Timberline trails around Mt. Hood. This 41 miles hike is tough for sure but anybody can do it with proper essential gears and enough foods. First and foremost I had a blast even though I did not have a complete stuff I needed to go for this hiking. My second day I ran out of food and my water filter sucks. I didn’t expect to stay 2 nights that’s the reason why I ran out of foods , luckily some nice hiker gave me something to eat 10 miles towards exit thanks to (Greg) for giving me food! If you are a first timer hiking this Trails you must have proper gears and enough foods to last you during endeavor or else you are completely screwed like I did (Please do not follow my mistake it could compromise your trip and possibly your life , so, please bring a lots of foods with you. Now because I wasn’t satisfied my first attempt I have decided to attempt do it again this coming August 22nd and this time I am fully preferred for what’s ahead and I am very excited to finally head out for the 2nd time around.

hiking
10 months ago

Did it in 3 days. Water crossings weren't a problem. Fantastic views throughout the hike.

backpacking
muddy
no shade
rocky
snow
10 months ago

Messed up my recording about 2/3 the way through, but did the loop clockwise from Timberline in 3 days and two nights. I opted for the Paradise Park alternative, which I would highly recommend! So beautiful up there... None of the river crossings were all that bad, but Eliot is a little sketch getting down to the crossing. Kept my feet dry the whole trip. Overall, great scenery and amazing weather, especially nice since all the wildflowers are in bloom. Would recommend doing in 4 days as 3 was a bit of a push, especially on day 2 coming up Gnarls Ridge. Gnarly indeed...

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