If renowned yogi Rodney Yee decided to ditch the tropical beach backdrops that adorn the covers of his best-selling yoga DVDs and unfurl his mat amid some Pacific Northwest splendor instead, he could do a lot worse than Elk Meadows. Tucked up against the 5,500-foot-high Bluegrass Ridge, this half-mile-wide span of blooming bear grass is one of Mount Hood’s finest sights. In snowy years, you might not get your boots on this trail until late July, but it’s worth the wait.
ROUTE: The path winds past tart huckleberries and bright red thimbleberries before delivering hikers to Newton Creek, whose chilly waters must be forded to reach Elk Meadows. Note that such an endeavor is best undertaken in the wee morning hours, when the creek levels are at their lowest. Just as well. An early start ensures that, even without your yoga mat, you’ll have plenty of time for quiet reflection. Maps: Green Trails No. 462.
DIRECTIONS: From Hood River, take Hwy 35 south for 7 miles and turn right at the sign for the Mt Hood Meadows Nordic Center. The trailhead is a half-mile down the road on the right.