When the snow starts falling on Mt. Hood, many people's thoughts turn to hitting the slopes. But there's another group that look forward to a peaceful excursion on a trail in the woods: cross-country skiers. When you see incredible Mt. Hood National Forest views that you can only get from a Nordic skiing excursion, you'll quickly understand why it's so exciting.
If you're new to the sport or don't know the area, it's best to go out on a guided trip. Mt. Hood Outfitters offers a selection of cross-country skiing adventures; they'll even provide the equipment if you need it. Plus, your guide can show you basic techniques, so you can quickly get out there and enjoy the winter wonderland.
If you're more of a seasoned pro and ready to head out on the trails with some friends, there are some particularly gorgeous trails you will want to try.
Trillium Lake Loop Trail is a popular spot in the summer, offering cool blue waters and one of the most iconic views of Mt. Hood around. During the winter months it can only be accessed by snowshoes or cross-country skis, meaning you will be sharing the view with a lot fewer people. The journey starts along the Trillium Lake Trailhead which is near the northwest corner of the parking lot. The first bit has a fairly significant, 500-foot drop in half a mile, so newer skiers may want to walk that part if they're not comfortable. The trail then meets up with the Timberline Loop Trail for a scenic journey around the lake.
Probably one of the best known trails is the Crosstown Ski Trail. It's the longest and most accessible trail of all the options in Government Camp. There are numerous ways to tailor your trip with various options for alternative routes throughout the trail. It's relatively flat, with only one elevation change worth noting, which is near Summit Sno-Park.
The Enid Lake Trail is probably one of the best-kept secrets in all of the Mt. Hood National Forest. This small lake offers an incredible view of Mt. Hood, rivaled only by the view from much more popular Trillium. This trip begins at the Crosstown Trail and ends at Glacier View.
In addition to Mt. Hood Outfitters, you can also rent equipment from Valian's Ski Shop in Government Camp, Meadowlark Ski and Snowboard and Otto's Ski & Mountain Bike Shop in Sandy or Mountain Sports in Welches.Have a great time out on those trails and remember, always practice leave no trace principles.