Hood River Mountain Trail

Views of the craggy mountain, rustic barns, and fields of wildflowers may have you singing "the hills are alive..."

By Brian Barker June 3, 2013 Published in the June 2013 issue of Portland Monthly

Why it’s great: Yodeling rarely feels so appropriate as atop this 2,000-plus-foot rise south of Hood River where alpine panoramas unfold as if spliced from The Sound of Music. Mount Hood’s craggy spire dominates a yawning valley populated by farms and orchards, rustic barns, and grazing livestock. And come May and June, flowers take center stage. After a short climb through thick woods, the narrow trail breaks into an open double-track path surrounded by one of the area’s brightest wildflower displays. Shoots of lupine, larkspurs, and red paintbrush complement a sea of pinwheel-like yellow balsamroot. Adding to the trail’s appeal is an off-the-beaten-path, locals-only feel: the trail skirts through SDS Lumber Company land (the company has traditionally taken a benevolent view of hikers), with little signage. Still, the route is straightforward. Once atop the ridge, continue along dirt tracks to a trail intersection near a small, gated structure. Follow the path to quiet, bucolic Old Dalles Road, which loops back to the trailhead, or retrace your steps. 

Don’t forget: While no motorized vehicles are allowed on lumber company property, mountain bikers are welcome to take a spin. 

Post-hike watering hole: Solera Brewery Opened last spring, this welcoming brewpub breathes life into the former Elliot Glacier Public House space, a longtime Parkdale hangout. Grab a handful of popcorn and order house-made pours like the bracing Soul Apricot sour beer or guest taps from Everybody’s Brewing before basking on the sun-drenched patio with eye-popping Hood views. 4945 Baseline Dr, Parkdale; 541-352-5500 

Trailhead directions: From Portland, take I-84 east to Hood River. Take exit 64 and head south on Highway 35. Drive .4 miles and turn left on East Side Road. Continue 1.5 miles and turn left on Old Dalles Road. Go approximately 2 miles and look for the trailhead on the right side of the road. A small SDS Lumber sign marks the path. No fees or permits required. 

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