For those not built to go up our iconic volcano, there is an equally satisfying alternative: go around it. The 40-plus-mile Timberline National Historic Trail #600 circumnavigates the mountain and provides equally spectacular scenery. If Cheryl Strayed can hoof it through the High Sierra, you can conquer this route—especially with a little bit of training and proper planning.  

Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, the Timberline Trail traces Hood’s snowless-in-summer flanks at about 6,000 feet and is replete with rushing waterfalls, rocky ridges, moss-covered basalt lava beds, and alpine meadows chock-full of wildflowers. Most hikers take three to five days to complete the circuit, heading clockwise from Timberline Lodge. The route isn’t without some risk, of course: there are three major and many minor stream crossings, which can be treacherous with high water and unexpected storms. And the Forest Service has yet to formally reroute a section on the peak’s north side after a flood in 2006 wiped out the creek crossing. So you’ll have to get creative. (We’ve offered a suggestion.) 

Here, we map out the possibilities to help you plan an epic Mount Hood adventure.

Mount hood circumnavigate n7pz3i
This article appeared in the July 2014 issue of Portland Monthly.
Filed under
Show Comments