This is a moderate lollipop loop hike to Elk Meadow along the flanks of Mt Hood. A beautiful and popular hike, highlights include crossing glacier-fed Newton Creek with views to Mt Hood and expansive grassy Elk Meadows.
From the trailhead, gradually ascend 1.1 miles on the Sahalie Falls Trail and then the Elk Meadow Trail to Newton Creek. There is no bridge at Newton Creek, cross on a log or ford Newton Creek. Climb on switchbacks up 0.8 miles to the junction with the Gnarl Ridge and Bluegrass Ridge Trails. Continue straight for 0.2 miles to Elk Meadow. Loop around Elk Meadow clockwise or counterclockwise. Be sure to check out the Elk Meadow Shelter on the NE side of the Meadow and look for elk or other wildlife. Flowers should be blooming in early summer.
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.
Appropriate for older children if caution is taken at the Newton Creek crossing. The water may be high and fast in early summer.