Lamberson Butte Loop from Elk Meadows Trailhead
This is a difficult, yet very rewarding hike to Gnarl Ridge and Lamberson Butte along the Timberline Trail around Mt. Hood. Lovely forests, flower-studded meadows, glacier and waterfalls views keep hikers awe-struck during the 2400' climb.
From the Elk Meadows trailhead, gradually ascend 1.1 miles on the Sahalie Falls Trail and then the Elk Meadows Trail to Newton Creek. There is no bridge at Newton Creek, cross on a log or ford Newton Creek. Climb on switchbacks up to the junction with the Gnarl Ridge and Bluegrass Ridge Trails. Turn left on the Gnarl Ridge Trail and ascend, sometimes steeply, to the junction with the Timberline Trail and continue climbing. The Timberline will contour around Lamberson Butte and Gnarl Ridge, past an old rock shelter on the left to a small saddle overlooking Newton Creek. Continue hiking the Timberline Trail or turn around at the saddle, either back on the Timberline trail or cross-country up and over Lamberson Butte and back cross-country to the Timberline.
Back at the Timberline-Gnarl Ridge junction continue on the Timberline to complete a loop. Newton Creek has to be crossed again and this crossing is generally more difficult than the lower crossing. Climb up to the Timberline-Newton Creek trail junction and descend along the stunning Newton Creek trail and back to the Elk Meadows Trail and trailhead.
The route starts at the Elk Meadows Trailhead. From Government Camp take Highway 26 east for 2 miles, then take OR 35 north for 7.8 miles. Turn left on a road with a Hood River Meadows Nordic sign. Keep left to the trailhead in 0.3 miles.
A $5 fee or Northwest Forest Pass is required from May 15 through October 1. A Snopark Pass is required during winter months.
There is a privy at the trailhead.
Not appropriate for children. A tough, steep hike.