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Mt Hood Ramble (PCT and Timberline Trail) - Glorious

4 nights and days to ramble the north side of Mt Hood following either PCT or Timberline trail at the same time as last year’s ‘Loop Hike’ … the plan was fairly simple: Timberline Trail full north (east / west) side (including Cooper and Barrett spurs) and PCT from Timberline to Whatum Lake.

Plans need ‘on the ground’ clues to improve based on actual conditions – a riff on the original plan. What changed? A) the PCT north of Lolo Pass is boring and the black-flies were biting; B) all the first day hikers I met were going to McNeill Point (why not me?), and C) Elliott and Coe Creeks were raging and I did not want to cross either after noon (original plan had crossing them late afternoon 2nd time).

The actual hike went like this:

Day 1 – Leave car at Top Spur Trailhead, hike up Timberline Trail to Cooper Spur and then to Cloud Cap for camp

Day 2 – Cloud Cap on Timberline to PCT to Romona Falls for camp

Day 3 – Romona Falls on PCT past Lost Lake and then down to Lost Lake for camp

Day 4 – Lost Lake on PCT to Timberline to McNeill Point and to Cairn Basin for camp (Day 5 back to car)

Summary: North side of Mt Hood is spectacular the last week of July. Wildflowers, blowdowns, creek crossings and great people are the key take-aways from this year. Compared to last year, there were materially less people and I only saw 2 trail runners (PCT) the entire time. Wildflowers were close to peak, the glaciers were melting fast all day and the creeks raging from 10-11am, and the Labor Day 2020 windstorm created blowdowns on every trail with some closed.

People on both PCT and Timberline had a hard time understanding my hiking plans – Rambles; however, once they took the time to listen and understand, they were mostly jealous of my freedom to take hikes / destinations with limited constraints (time, energy and food). I absolutely love the north side, but on PCT once to Lolo Pass going north, turn around and spend the time on Hood.



Full trip report and photos are here: 

2 Replies

@mdf59 - Wow! Thanks so much for sharing this. I took at look at your page for the full report and it was loads of great information! 

I especially liked the photos of the full moon sunrise and the stone mountain hut!

Glad to see you had such a great time. When someone else in the community comes asking about this stretch of the PCT and Timberline, we'll be sure to tag you so you can share your expertise!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Excellent ... OR PCT between Crater Lake and Lolo Pass are pretty well known and travelled