Special Places

Mt Hood National Forest Wildernesses

Wildernesses are lands designated by Congress to be protected and preserved in their natural condition, without permanent improvements or habitation. There are eight Wildernesses, encompassing 311,448 acres, located in the Mt Hood National Forest. 

Historic Government Camp and Timberline Lodge

Government Camp is a small, private mountain community at 3,900 feet on Mt. Hood's south side. The community is a launching point for numerous outdoor adventures including skiing, hiking, mountain biking, huckleberry picking and exploring the Barlow Road. A trail system surrounds the community for both winter and summer use. The community has a tradition of winter sports dating back to the early 1900's. Developed skiing and snowboarding opportunities are available at Timberline, Summit, and Ski Bowl Resorts.

Perched above Government Camp (and accessible by paved road) is Timberline Lodge. A National Historic Landmark, Timberline Lodge was constructed during the Great Depression of the 1930's by craftspeople working under the Federal Works Projects Administration. This stately Cascadian building was constructed of stone and large timbers and has been thoughtfully maintained. Publicly owned, and privately operated, Timberline Lodge is open to the public as a hotel, restaurant, and ski resort. Nearly two million visitors from all over the globe enjoy the lodge's warm hospitality each year. Forest Service interpretive staff provide tours of the lodge.

Climbers and hikers headed into the Mt. Hood Wilderness frequently begin their ascents here. Due to its high elevation (6,000 feet) and proximity to the Palmer Snow Field, Timberline Ski Area is unique in its ability to offer year-round skiing and snowboarding.

Accessible Recreation in the Mt Hood

Accessible Recreation Video SeriesWatch videos, view an interactive map and learn more about premier accessible recreation sites in the Mt Hood.

Timothy Lake Recreation Area

Timothy Lake is one of the most popular family camping and fishing destinations in the Mt. Hood National Forest. The lake's south shore features four developed campgrounds and boat ramps. Two other nearby campgrounds accommodate equestrians. Three smaller, less developed campgrounds are found in the north. A trail system for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians circles the lake. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail also traverses the area along the east side of Timothy Lake.

The tributaries that feed Timothy Lake have outstanding wetlands habitat. Oak Grove Fork Meadow by Clackamas Lake, Timothy Lake's North Arm and Little Crater Meadow are great places to spot wildlife whch depend on wetlands. Timothy Lake is an artificial lake constructed by Portland General Electric in 1958 for hydroelectric power. The State of Oregon stocks rainbow and brook trout in this 1400 acre lake. Motorboats are allowed, and a 10 MPH speed limit is in place.

Clackamas Wild and Scenic River

In 1988, Congress designated 47 miles of the Clackamas River, from its origins in the Olallie Lake Scenic Area to Big Cliff, as part of the Federal Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Outstanding scenery and proximity to Portland make this section of the Clackamas River one of the most popular recreation areas in Oregon. The river has carved a deep gorge with rocky cliffs and tree-laden slopes. Whitewater boating and year-round hiking and riding are among the many recreational pursuits here. Facilities are available for day-use and overnight camping beside the river.

The Clackamas River contains diverse fish habitats, vital to a productive fishery. In addition, over 1,040 miles of fish-bearing streams and rivers flow into the Clackamas River. Anadromous spring Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon, and Steelhead Trout use these waters for spawning, rearing, and migration. Resident fish include Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, and the threatened Steelhead and Chinook Salmon species. 

The Barlow Road

Arriving at The Dalles in 1845, Samuel K. Barlow learned that he would have to wait weeks for passage down the Columbia River. He decided instead to attempt crossing the Cascades. Barlow and Joel Palmer led a wagon train south to Tygh Valley and successfully explored for a wagon road around the southern slopes of Mt. Hood. In 1846, the "Barlow Road" was opened to emigrants as a toll road. Tolls ranged from a promise to pay $5 per wagon, 10 cents per head of loose stock, a shirt, a cow or a blanket. This road completed the Oregon Trail as a land route from the Mississippi Valley to the Willamette Valley and was still in use as a wagon road as late as 1919.

You can still travel the same route once forged by the hardy first settlers to Oregon. The eastern portion of the road from Tygh Valley to Barlow Pass has been little altered, and high clearance vehicles are still recommended for today's travelers on the Barlow Road. At several locations, interpretive signs describe historical events, and there are six camp ground for overnighting. For more information, you may contact the Barlow or Hood River Ranger District Offices.

Highlighted Areas

Timberline National Historic Trail #600

Link to Trail Description and Map (PDF File)

This trail enters the Mount Hood Wilderness and is a classic Pacific Northwest trail circumnavigating Mount Hood with alpine vistas, waterfalls, alpine meadows and west side Cascade forest.  It was constructed primarily by Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s and encircles Mount Hood at or near treeline. The segment of trail between Timberline Lodge and Yocum Ridge overlaps the Pacific Crest Trail #2000.   

This trail can be accessed from many different points. The trail climbs in and out of glacial fed drainages throughout its length.  Most hikers find the fast moving river fords to be the most challenging part of the trail.  Newton, Coe, Muddy Fork, Sandy and White Rivers are typically the most challenging fords but are typically not more than knee deep.  

This trail accesses the Mt Hood Wilderness.

Wilderness restrictions apply.

River Crossing Guide (pdf)


For trail conditions contact the nearest ranger district office:

Hood River Ranger District Sections:

Zig Zag Ranger District Sections:

The Timberline Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail are the same on the Zigzag district except for the section between Ramona Falls and Top Spur.

Bagby Campground

Bagby Hot Springs Campground is situated along the Hot Springs fork of the Collawash River. The campground is set among towering Cedar and old growth Douglas Fir. The site is a wonderful base to experience Bagby Hot Springs and access wilderness trails in the Bull of the Woods Wilderness.

The Bagby Campground provides camping with new tables and new fire rings. Site capacity, like other campgrounds, is 6 people and 2 vehicles.

Mt Hood Meadows Ski Resort

Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort operates on a special use permit on the Mt. Hood National Forest, offering some of the most spectacular skiing and snowboarding in the Northwest. Meadows is a full-service winter resort providing everything you need for a refreshing and memorable day on the mountain. Base facilities are housed in North and South lodges (easy access to five lifts) and includes equipment rental and demo centers, sport shops, restaurants, adult and children's ski schools and daycare. Also a satellite base lodge and skier services center at Hood River Meadows.