Whether you’re an experienced mountainside hiker looking for a new challenge, a casual day hiker looking for some great views, or a newbie on your very first hike, Mt. Hood has something to offer you. The gorgeous area, less than two hours from Portland, is known for its cascading waterfalls, diverse set of trails, and steep cliffs.
Though the Mount Hood area certainly does boast scenery that can be enjoyed by any outdoor enthusiast, it’s a particular gem for more experienced hikers, due to its steep inclines and deep gullies as the trails move up towards the mountainside itself.
Here are three spectacular hikes in and around Mount Hood that we love, expertly curated by our team here at Oregon Adventurer. From its easy day hikes to its dizzying mountainside trails, Mt. Hood consistently dazzles hikers all year round.
Ramona Falls Trail
The Ramona Falls Trail in the Mt Hood National Forest is a must-see for any novice hiker or a seasoned outdoorsman looking for a gentler walk. Despite its light slope and walkable terrain, the trail leads to some of the best views in this gorgeous national park.
This looping trail takes hikers on a scenic trip around the base of Mt. Hood up to Ramona Falls and back. Though the south side of the trail tends to be more densely wooded, the trail opens up at the falls.
After marveling at the spectacular waterfall, the trail follows Ramona Creek on the north side, taking visitors beside high cliffs and beautiful greenery. Though the trail is considered fairly easy for any semi-experienced hiker, be aware of the elevation change and rest if you need it.
Distance: 7.1 miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation Gain: 980 feet
Pinnacle Ridge Trail
Note: This is just a random picture of Mount Hood. No, it’s not a picture from the Pinnacle Ridge Trail, but we just wanted to include another picture of the mountain to show you just how awesome it is. And yes, the Pinnacle Ridge Trail is great as well (with a view of the mountain, of course!).
This dynamic trail along the north side of Mt. Hood takes viewers through some steep inclines, spreading views, and even bogs and swampland. Hikers in the spring are likely to see dozens of wildflower species, most notably the lovely white avalanche lily.
Small streams, pleasant alpine meadows, and clear mountain views provide plenty of opportunities for wildlife watching as well as a moderately difficult hike.
Some hikers report that while most of the trail is easy to follow, as the elevation increases, there are spots where it’s a little more difficult to keep track of. Still, the changing views more than make up for a little trail-seeking now and then.
Distance: 11.2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Elevation gain: 2,040 feet
Yocum Ridge Trail
This challenging hike to dizzying alpine viewpoints is best for the seasoned backpacker.
Well worth the effort, at its peak the Yocum Ridge Trail’s clear atmosphere and great height leads hikers to stunning views of nearby peaks such as Saddle Mountain and Elk Mountain. This is one of the best spots for panoramic views of Mt. Hood, wildlife encounters, and tough terrain.
Coming off the more family-friendly Ramona Falls Trailhead, the Yocum Ridge Trail starts off by crossing the Sandy River. Be careful, the seasonal bridge that once ran across the river is gone, so be sure to wear shoes with good grip since you’ll have to rock-hop your way across.
A Northwest Forest Pass is required for this hike. However, this pass allows hikers to explore miles of untouched wilderness and serene countryside, and is well worth the price (truth be told, it’s not that expensive anyway).
Some hikers may even choose to set up camp at one of the various campsites or meadows along the way. In just 16 miles of trail, Yocum Ridge manages to provide wildlife encounters at its creeks and ponds, plus plenty of rigorous climbing to keep even the most seasoned hiker busy.
Distance: 16 miles
Elevation gain: 3600 feet
The Mount Hood area is one of the most popular and diverse areas of scenery in Oregon. There are hundreds of gorgeous hikes, and if you’ve got one of your own personal favorites, please share it in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.