Length: 7.1 miles round trip
Elevation Change: 1000' gain
Season: Spring thru Fall
Difficulty: Difficult (due to stream crossing)
Permit: NW Forest Pass Required
Ramona Falls is historically one of the most popular hikes in the Mt Hood
National Forest. The loop hike is a great option in that it offers more variety.
After you leave the parking lot at the trail head, the trail wanders along the Sandy
River for nearly a mile before reaching Sandy river. The bridge (see third photo) that used to be supplied
by the forest service to cross the swift water no longer exists. This leaves you
to your own resources to cross the always muddy and deep swift water. Due to the high volume
of water, this is quite difficult and dangerous, if not impassible.
If you manage to successfully ford the river, you will
come to an intersection where the loop trail returns. Again, like all loop trails,
you have the option of which way to complete the loop. This description will follow
the trail counterclockwise, which means continue on straight ahead instead of turning
to the left.
The trail parallels the Sandy River, but only rarely gives you a glimpse of it. You
also begin to gain elevation. In season this part of the hike is lush and green with
lots of Rhododendrons. At about the 2.8 mile mark you will come to the junction of
the Pacific Crest Trail #2000 and the cutoff trail to the falls. Bear left at this
point and walk about a half mile to the falls. Be very careful to stay on the trail
at the falls due to the very fragile environment.
After you take all the photos you can afford, cross the little wooden bridge to begin
you journey back. Immediately, you will face the intersection of the trail to Yocum
Ridge and the route back to your car. Bear left, and follow this quaint little trail
along the little stream that forms Ramona Falls. As you hike along this trail you
will have many opportunities to enjoy little waterfalls and cascades, and lots of
flowers in the right season.
When you come to the intersection of Trail #784, bear to the left again, and you
will complete the loop part of Trail #797 after crossing the little stream that
created Ramona Falls. From this point, just follow the trail back across the
Sandy River and on to the parking lot and trail head where you began the hike.