Trail Stewardship

There are over 1200 miles of trails on the Mt. Hood National Forest. Maintaining these trails is a core part of the volunteer effort on the forest. While most volunteers participate as part of a sponsored group, some volunteers contribute on an individual basis.



What experience do I need?

Some assignments are technical in nature, while others are well suited for someone new to the task. The work done on trails includes: brushing and tread work (maintaining the walking surface), maintaining drainage by checking dams, ditches and water bars, removing trees that have fallen across the trail, signing the trails, litter clean-up and providing trail condition reports to supervisors and the general public.

Forest Service Volunteer Opportunities

Individuals who are not part of a sponsored group tend to do quick maintenance sweeps of a trail or have long term commitments to maintaining a specific trail.  If you are interested in volunteering as an individual steward for a specific trail or area, please contact Mark Engler of the Zigzag Ranger District at 503-622-2024 or Ron Kikel of the Hood River Ranger District at 541-352-1206.

Forest Service Partner Volunteer Opportunities

Most trail stewardship work is done through the sponsored groups listed below.  If you are new to trail maintenance, meeting up with one of these groups is a great way to get started. See the group links below for more information.  Typically they welcome non-members for any trail work party.


Hiking | Equestrian | Off-Highway Vehicles | Mountain Biking | Other

Recreational Hiking Organizations

  • Pacific Crest Trail Association was formed to protect, preserve and promote the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail as an internationally significant resource for the enjoyment of hikers and equestrians, and for the value that wild and scenic lands provide to all people. They have many volunteer opportunities available as well as a local Mt. Hood chapter that hosts many trail work parties. 


  • FREE PCT VolunTours through the Mt. Adams Center Make this YOUR summer to give back! AmeriCorps' Northwest Service Academy (NWSA), in cooperation with the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) and the United States Forest Service (USFS), is actively recruiting volunteers for this summer's trail work projects on the Mt. Hood National Forest. No experience is necessary and all meals, tools, and training are provided FREE of charge. 
  • 44 Trails The 44 Trails Association (44Trails) is actively involved in the planning, building, maintenance and stewardship of the trails accessible from the FS44 road in Wasco and Hood River Counties and the surrounding Columbia River Gorge area. 44Trails is a non-profit 501(c)3 community service corporation, staffed entirely of volunteers and financed by membership dues, fund-raising events and donations.
  • Mt. Hood Stewardship Council - The organization's goal is to preserve the natural beauty and integrity of the mountain community through the protection and restoration of its forests, rivers, and streams. The Mt.Hood Stewardship Council, a 501 c3,   is located in Welches Oregon. We have been co-developing the Barlow Wayside Park with Clackamas County Parks & The Bureau of Land Management, Salem District. Development began in earnest in 2009.
  • American Hiking Society organizes and coordinates nationally-recognized outreach, stewardship and recreation programs such as Volunteer Vacations and National Trails Day®. Whether your interest is getting dirty, getting fit or simply getting outside, they've got exciting opportunities that engage you in your local trail community.
  • The Mazamas - Trail Tending The Mazamas, founded in 1894 on the summit of Mt. Hood, is a nonprofit mountaineering education organization located in Portland, Oregon.  Mazamas offers over 700 hikes and 350 climbs annually.  Mazamas also organizes trail maintenance work.  There is no charge to participate on trail tending activities.  Members and non-members are welcome to join in trail tending.  Check out the Trail Trip Schedule, trail tending work parties are highlighted in red.
  • Oregon Nordic Club - Portland Chapter This group was formed as a non-profit volunteer organization in 1968 by a handful of Nordic ski enthusiasts interested in using public lands for recreational cross-country skiing. The Portland Chapter hosts trail tending parties on the Mt. Hood NF.  Most trail tending parties involve light brushing, limbing, and the hanging of blue trail diamonds. Information on trail tending volunteer opportunities is listed under Day Trips
  • Oregon Nordic Club - Teacup Lake Chapter Teacup Lake chapter of the Oregon Nordic Club, manages specifically the trails at Teacup Lake Sno*Park under a volunteer agreement with the Mt Hood National Forest. Volunteers maintain the trails and facilities and organize cross country ski events and races. Trail maintenance opportunities are listed on the Events Calendar
  • Trail Keepers of Oregon The group was founded in 2007 by a group of concerned hikers who wanted to reverse the detrimental effects of trail disrepair. Volunteers with this group work on trail maintenance among other activities meant to promote ethical hiking.

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Equestrian Organizations

  • Oregon Equestrian Trails - Mt. Hood Chapter OET is a non-profit organization whose members are dedicated to promoting , preserving, and maintaining horse camps and trails in Oregon. The Mt. Hood Chapter meets monthly in Gresham and organizes trail maintenance parties during the summer.  Check out their site for contact information and their Chapter Calendar.
  • Backcountry Horsemen of Oregon - Columbia Gorge. Local men and women dedicated to the preservation of our right to the common sense use and enjoyment of pack and saddle stock in Oregon's wilderness and backcountry. Check out the Activities Calendar for info on trail work parties and get local contact information as well.

Off Highway Vehicle Organizations

  • Oregon Off Highway Vehicles Association This group sometimes hosts trail work parties.
  • Mt. Scott Motorcycle Club Mt. Scott motorcycle club is the oldest motorcycle club in the state of Oregon. The club meets every Thursday. Contact club for time and location.  Trail work parties are hosted throughout the year.
  • Oregon State Snowmobile Association Use the contact information listed here to see what volunteer opportunities are available with these local snowmobile group.
  • Mt. Hood Snowmobile Club Since 1978, MHSC has been grooming the trails around designated snowmobile areas in the Mt. Hood National Forest.  Volunteer opportunities may be available, check their calendar
  • Columbia Gorge Off-Road Assoc. 1406 12th Street, Hood River, OR 97031 (541)387-3223 

Mountain Bike Organizations

  • International Mountain Bike Association The International Mountain Bicycling Association is a non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers worldwide.
  • Gorge Freeride Association Gorge Freeride Association is an IMBA affiliated organization focused on development and stewardship of public freeriding.
  • Columbia Area Mountain Bike Advocates (CAMBA) is an affiliate club member of IMBA, working to maintaine and improve existing trails in the region.  Many work parties are organized each year.

Other Trail Volunteer Opportunities

  • National Trails Day American Hiking Society's National Trails Day ® (NTD), held the first Saturday of every June, is America's largest celebration of trails and the outdoors. Organized trail steward events take place on the forest, keep an eye out for more information as the day gets closer.
  • National Public Lands Day National Public Lands Day is the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands. In 2006,  100,000 volunteers built trails and bridges, planted trees and plants, and removed trash and invasive plants.  Visit their site to get involved.

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Key Contacts

General Volunteering Information Contacts:

For general information about volunteering to work on Mt. Hood National Forest, please contact Mark Engler of Zigzag Ranger District at 503-622-2024 or Ron Kikel of Hood River Ranger District at 541-352-1206.