Mount Hood, Oregon's highest summit at 11,240 feet, is a dormant volcano covered with 11 active glaciers. This snow covered peak lies at the heart of the Wilderness and is covered with forested slopes and alpine meadows. More than 10,000 climbers a year come seeking the top of the state, making Mount Hood's summit the most visited snow covered peak in America. All climbing routes on Mt Hood are technical, including the "easier" southside climbing route, with crevasses to cross, falling rocks, and often inclement weather. Ropes, crampons and other technical gear are necessary. Review Mount Hood Summit for information about climbing Mount Hood.
Dormant but not dead, Mount Hood still vents sulfurous steam near the summit. Much of the area's annual precipitation of 150 inches falls as snow between October and April. A forest of Douglas fir covers much of the lower elevations, supported by an understory of Oregon grape, salal, rhododendron, and huckleberries. More than a dozen waterfalls are within the river valleys that lie in the shaded forest. Listen for the chirps and whistles of pikas and marmots on the rocky slopes at the tree line.
The very popular Timberline Trail #600 encircles the mountain for 38 miles. It crosses multiple alpine meadows and travels through the many glacial creeks and rivers that flow from the mountain flanks. Crossing the glacial creeks and rivers that do not have bridges during snowmelt in early to mid-summer, or when heavy or sustained rains fall, can be dangerous. Hikers should use caution and have a backup plan if rivers are too high to cross. Multiple trails wind their way through the Wilderness to join the Timberline Trail. Most visitors are day hikers who visit on the weekends. Hikers visiting mid-week or camping overnight generally see few other visitors.
At a Glance
Trails within Mount Hood Wilderness:
River Crossing Guide (pdf)
Mount Hood Wilderness is about 50 miles east of Portland via US-26 and about 35 miles south of Hood River via OR-35.
Trailheads that access Mount Hood Wilderness:
Maps of 2009 Wilderness Additions
Badger Lake, Bull Run Lake, Dog River, Government Camp, Mount Hood North, Mount Hood South, Rhododendron. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.
Buy maps online
Go to the National Forest Store.
Go to Wilderness.net for online maps and other important Wilderness information.