Mount Hood Wilderness

Mt Hood Wilderness

Mt. Hood, Oregon's highest summit at 11,240 feet, is a volcano with 11 active glaciers. The top several thousand feet of the mountain is Wilderness and covered with forested slopes and alpine meadows. 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. Learn more about climbing Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood still vents sulfurous steam near the summit. Much of the area's annual 150" of precipitation 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. Be familiar with Mount Hood Wilderness regulations before heading out.

River Crossing Guide (pdf)

At a Glance

Permit Info:
  • Free, self-issued Wilderness permits are required when provided at a portal from May 15 thru October 15. Not all trails will have Wilderness portals.
  • As of January 1, 2024, Mt. Hood climbers traveling above 9,500 ft. elevation must carry a climbing permit year-round. A 3-day climbing permit counts as your wilderness permit; annual climbing permit holders must also complete this simple online form or a paper wilderness permit. Learn more on the Mt. Hood climbing page.
Closest Towns: Sandy, OR; Hood River, OR; Parkdale, OR
Passes: Some trailheads require a day use fee. View a list of available Recreation Passes that may be used in lieu of day use fee payment.
Information Center:

General Information


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

Topo Maps

Badger Lake, Bull Run Lake, Dog River, Government Camp, Mount Hood North, Mount Hood South, Rhododendron. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.

Looking for maps? 

Check out our Maps & Publications page.

Go to for online maps and other important Wilderness information.

General Notes:

Trails within Mount Hood Wilderness:


Mountain Climbing

Lake and Pond Fishing

River and Stream Fishing

Day Hiking


Horse Riding

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities