This is a terrific 40-mile hike around Mt. Hood Oregon, USA. Three of us hiked the loop in three days. We’ll definitely do this again, but take at least four days the next time to stop and enjoy the scenery.
August 2016 update: Since 2006, the Eliot Glacier crossing has been washed out. The Forest Service is working on re-routing the crossing, which is expected to open in 2017. Until then, here is a discussion of the options. Here is an article about the original washout.
The three of us are in good physical shape and have done lots of hiking in the past. We heard how difficult this hike is and stories of folks who didn’t make it all the way around. We cheated a bit to make sure that this first attempt would be a success: By planning the two campsites close to access roads, we had our wives meet us with tents, sleeping bags and food. Next time we’ll do this in four days and take all the stuff along.
There are lots of opportunities to take wrong turns on this hike. I made a spreadsheet from the Mount Hood Wilderness map, which breaks the trail into short sections. Each section has an approximate time, mileage and things to watch for. This two-sided sheet is easy to check at every branch. Of course, it doesn’t replace the real map.
Here is the list of the things that we brought along. We started with someone Else’s list, which contained the weight of each item, but decided not to be that precise.
We started at Timberline Lodge and hiked counter-clockwise. Here are some pictures. Click on any to enlarge…
John crossing Newton Creek. We had trouble finding the trail on the far side. We fund it several hundred feet upstream by using John’s GPS as an altimeter and looking the altitude up on the map. The thing was right on!
Start of Day 2: Gerd going down to Eliot Creek. See note above.
Elk Cove. It looks even better if you’re standing there!
Continuing from here, you have the choice of going on the PCT or Timberline Trail. Be careful because the higher trail is shown as the PCT on my map, but it is now the Timberline Trail (#600). The lower trail used to be #784 and is now the PCT. I’m told this change was made because the PCT is supposed to be horse-friendly and the upper trail presents problems for horses. We chose the PCT to avoid two possibly difficult Muddy River crossings on the Timberline Trail.
We were seriously out of water. The map showed several stream crossings, but they were all dry. (My 2003-vintage Canon camera didn’t do justice to Mt. Hood and the clouds — sorry.)
We are all smiling, but apparently need a shower: Just after we took this picture, someone walked up and asked if we had just completed the whole loop – I don’t know how he would have known!
Updated: January 2017 Contact: Hoeren at Comcast dot net