Length: 9.7 miles loop
Elevation Change: 1400' cumulative gain
Season: Summer thru Fall
Permit: NW Forest Pass Required
This hike is actually several hikes in one. I've made a loop hike out of
it to give the user a broad view of the wonders of the Mt Hood Meadow area.
I choose to begin the hike near the Mt Hood Meadow nordic ski area on FR3545, and
proceed north as if going to Elk Meadows. At about 1 mile of basically
level hiking, you come to the junction of the Elk Meadows trail and the
Newton Creek Trail #646. Follow the Newton Creek trail to your left.
The trail becomes narrower and less used, but almost immediately offers
some new and exciting vistas. Soon the trail takes you to the very edge
of Newton Creek where you can see up to Lamberton Butte and a short
distance later you can see Mt Hood. You will then cross a small stream
and a area filled with large boulders. Then you begin to climb.
As the narrow dusty trail climbs what I refer to as Newton Ridge, you begin
to hike more in the open. After the only major switchback, you will see
the ridge line just above you. At any time it is well worth your effort to
leave the trail and scramble up to the ridge top for outstanding views. Be
sure to have your camera on this one.
After about 2 miles of climbing you will come to the junction of the Timberline
Trail. Bear left and follow the trail for next several miles. You will continue
to gain a bit of altitude, but from now on you will climb and descend repeatedly
as you cross several snow fed streams along the way. The first of these such
crossings is the most challenging. However, it is not dangerous.
The next three miles repeats this format to a lesser degree. Each stream crossing
is accompanied by fine floral displays and each climb out usually has short stretches
of hemlock forest. Many of the fields you cross will be bright with lupine, paintbrush,
and beargrass in season. You will pass beneath several chairlifts that are apart of
the Mt Hood Meadows ski area. This shouldn't distract you from the magnificent beauty
around you and the joy of the hike.
After a little over three miles of walking through this area you will cross a gravel
service road and immediately come to the junction of Trail #667 which you need to
follow back down to your vehicle. This rather steep descent takes you through fields
and forests and across the paved road to Mt Hood Meadows ski area. At about 1.7 miles
you will come to Umbrella Falls. Next you will come to the junction of Trail #667C.
If you choose this route back, you will pass by Sahalie Falls. After another mile and
a half or so you will cross a paved road which is the same road you are parked on. But
don't follow the road, stay on the trail for a short distance and you will come out
at the trail head where you began this fine hike.
Mt. Hood from the Meadows trail