05/03/2021 | Know Now, Recreation, Trails

12 Diverse Trails In Mt. Hood Territory

Pup Creek Falls Trail: currently access to the trail as well as the trail itself are closed due to the 2020 Riverside Wildfire. Please check Clackamas River Road closure notices on the US Forest Service website for updates.

Mt. Hood Territory is home to over 1,000 miles of trails, which is a lot to consider when determining your next adventure. 

With that in mind, we've curated a collection of 12 trails and hikes that range from a casual walk through urban parks to some more lengthy, moderate and even difficult-`rated hikes, for the seasoned outdoor enthusiast. For those of you more familiar with Mt. Hood Territory you'll notice some of the most well-known locations were left off this list, and that was on purpose. In trying to stay cognizant of the issues with overuse on our popular trails, we prioritized a better overall experience featuring our diverse landscapes, less crowds and just as impressive views. Enjoy these hidden gems!

1 - Mary S. Young Park: Distance - 4.5 miles, Difficulty - Easy, Elevation - 300 feet.    

A peaceful park along the Willamette River with forest, a vibrant bird life, sandy beach areas and picnic spots.                                                    

Gems: River views - Dog friendly areas - Beavers - Sports fields - River beaches - Fishing

2 - Camassia Nature Preserve: Distance - 1.4 miles, Difficulty - Easy, Elevation 160 feet. 

A preserve that provides habitat and protection for several bird species and other sensitive wildlife, with views of the Willamette Valley. 

Gems: Bird-watching - Spring wildflowers - Seasonal butterflies - Riparian areas

3 - Mount Talbert Nature Park: Distance - 4 miles, Difficulty - Easy to Moderate, Elevation 750 feet. 

A volcanic butte that is the largest in a string of extinct volcanoes and lava domes and a unique urban forest oasis that doesn't feel like it's right next to the city...even though it is! 

Gems: Shaded hikes - Trail running - Bird watching - Hiking close to town - Interpretive kiosks - Geocaching

4 - Hidden Falls Nature Park: Distance - 1.7 miles, Difficulty - Easy, Elevation - 265 feet.

Recently opened to the public after decades of being inaccessible, it features a beautiful natural waterfall and completes a vital link in the Mt. Scott/Scouters Mountain Loop.  

Gems: Hidden waterfall - Short elevation gains - Paved paths - Resting areas along trails 

5 - Molalla River Rim Trail Loop: Distance - 6.5 miles, Difficulty - Moderate, Elevation - 1,550 feet.

Part of the Molalla River Recreation Area which has been through a recent transformation featuring more trails, day-use areas, swimming holes and new campsites. This trail winds through old growth forest and past the Annie's Cabin landmark. 

Gems: Old growth trees - Bird watching - Secluded trails - Well shaded hikes - Wild berries

6 - Wildwood Recreation Site: Distance - 2.5 miles, Difficulty - Easy, Elevation - 100 feet.

Connected to the Wild & Scenic Salmon River with natural stream and wetland ecosystems and a special underwater fish viewing chamber.

Gems: River views - Exploring aquatic life - Boardwalks - Interpretive signs - Picnics - Shaded hikes

7 - Milo McIver State Park: Distance - 14 miles, Difficulty - Easy,  Elevation - 150 feet.

A mixed-use area that boarders the Clackamas River and Estacada Lake and features hiking and horseback trails, boat launch, fishing docks, picnic areas and campgrounds. 

Gems: Well marked trails - Diverse ecology - River views - Disc golf - Water recreation - ADA friendly facilities 

8 - Burnt Lake Trail: Distance - 6.6 miles, Difficulty - Moderate, Elevation - 1,420 feet. 

The trail takes you past a multi-tiered waterfall and culminates at an alpine lake that sits below a towering Mt. Hood. Enough said, right?

Gems: Alpine lakes - Waterfalls - Mountain views - Meeting other hikers - Photography

9 - Flag Mountain Loop: Distance 6.8 miles, Difficulty - Moderate, Elevation - 1,060 feet.

The hike up takes you through secluded forest roads and delights you with views of Mt. Hood along the shaded trails near a 2,500 foot ridge. On the way back, walk the path the Oregon Trail pioneers took and pass a replica of an actual tollgate from the 1850's. 

Gems: Hiking the Oregon Trail - Less populated trails - Photo opportunities of Mt. Hood - Ridge hikes

Woman in front of Pup Creek Falls Clackamas River Trail Mt. Hood National Forest

10 - Pup Creek Falls (Clackamas River Trail): Distance 8.7 miles, Difficulty - Moderate, Elevation 1,627 feet. 

 A mostly forested trail with views of the Clackamas River and waterfalls, flat areas for camping, picnicking and fishing as well as beautiful riverside beaches. 

Gems: Stunning waterfalls - Old growth forest - Shaded trails - River views - Wild berries

11 - Cool Creek Trail to Devil's Peak: Distance - 7.6 miles, Difficulty - Challenging, Elevation - 3,200 feet.

A leg-burner of a hike covering 3,200 feet in the first 3.8 miles! You'll be delighted once you reach the summit with views of Mt. Hood and other mountains in the Cascade range (on a clear day) and a cool, old fire lookout.  

Gems: Elevation training - Wild flowers (seasonal) - Historic fire lookouts - Shaded hikes

12 - Horseshoe Ridge Trail: Distance - 10.8 miles, Difficulty - Challenging, Elevation - 2,700 feet. 

Far less busy than nearby trails with just as spectacular of views of Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams on clear days. A great full-day adventure.

Gems: Wild flowers (seasonal) - Stunning Mt. Hood views - Practicing river crossings - Shaded hikes

Helpful Tips:

PLAN AHEAD - Hike early or on weekdays, don't hike alone, let someone know your plans, check the weather

PREPARE - Pack appropriately: sunscreen, light source, first aid kit, plenty of water, snacks/lunch and sunglasses

DRESS RIGHT - Bring lots of layers for the ever-changing Oregon weather, shoes with good tread (hiking boots), hat, rain gear (it is the PNW after all)

PACK IN/PACK OUT -  Dispose of waste properly, pack an extra bag for any waste and remember poop bags for your dogs on trails they're allowed

RESPECT - Plants and wildlife, stay on trail and let plants grow. Respect seasonal closures and give trails time to regrow 

"take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time" ― Aliyyah Eniath, The Yard

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