Elk Meadows Trail #645

This trail enters the Mount Hood Wilderness on the east side of Mount Hood.  The trail features views of Mt. Hood and wildflowers July through August. Several connecting trails can be taken to extend the hike.

From Pollalie Trailhead, the trail begins with a short steep climb to a ridge, passes a short spurt trail to an overlook and climbs gradually to the junction with Tamanawas Falls Tie Trail #650B (3,560’) (1.2 miles).   From the junction the trail climbs very gradually for 0.8 mile to the junction with Lamberson Spur Trail #644 (3,760’). Make the left turn heading south onto #645 and descend 0.3 mile to the junction with Bluegrass Ridge Trail #647 (3,680’).  The trail leaves the junction continuing south on the ridge for the next 4.1 miles to the north end of Elk Meadows and the junction with Elk Meadows-Bluegrass Tie #647B (5,120’).  #647B is a 0.3 mile trail heading east to Bluegrass Ridge Trail #647.  There are several trails on and around Elk Meadow.  If this is an overnight trip, many fine campsites can be found in the trees surrounding the meadow.   The trail continues south along the south end of Elk Meadows and after  0.6 mile the trail reaches the junction (5,280’) with Gnarl Ridge Trail #652 (heading northwest) and Bluegrass Ridge Trail #647  (heading southeast).   Continue straight on #645 and descend several switchbacks to Newton Creek (4,600’).  Cross Newton Creek and travel 0.6 mile to Clark Creek (4,560’).  Cross Clark Creek and continue 0.1 mile to the trail’s end at the junction with Umbrella Falls Trail #667 and Sahalie Falls Trail #667C.  Follow Sahalie Falls Trail #667C south for 0.4 mile to reach the Hood River Meadows Trailhead parking area at Forest Road 3545.  

Link to Trail Description and Map (PDF File)

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Cleared of fallen trees from northern trailhead to wilderness boundary as of 6/4/23.
Open Season: June
Usage: Light
Restrictions: Wilderness restrictions apply
Closest Towns: Hood River, OR
Passes: A Recreation Pass is required at Polallie trailhead. 
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Hood River Ranger District

General Information


From Portland, OR travel 31 miles east of Sandy on US Hwy 26 to Oregon Hwy 35.  Turn north onto Oregon Hwy 35 and travel 16.5 miles north to Polallie Trailhead, approximately 0.7 miles north of milepost 73, and turn left (west) into the pullout just south of Cooper Spur Road.  East Fork Trail #650 leaves from the pullout.  Follow this trail 0.1 mile to its junction with Elk Meadows Trail #645.  

From Hood River, OR travel  22.2 miles south on Oregon Hwy 35 to Polallie Trailhead, approximately 0.3 miles south of milepost 74, and turn right (west) into the pullout just south of Cooper Spur Road.  Follow the directions above from the parking area to the trail.


Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Viewing Plants

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Plants: See day hiking description

Viewing Scenery

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Scenery: See day hiking description

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
9.3 miles

  Elevation : 
4500 - 5900