Best Hiking Trails in Mount Hood National Forest

Overview

Spanning south from the Columbia River Gorge to Olallie Scenic Area, Mount Hood National Forest's mossy-covered trees and Cascade Mountains are worth a visit. Mount Hood National Forest, east of Portland, Oregon, encloses its namesake mountain. Mt. Hood itself is an active volcano perpetually covered in multiple glaciers. Mount Hood rises tall among the foothills at 11,249 feet (the highest in the state) and can be seen from miles away.

Hikers, mountaineers, mountain bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts find plenty of things to do throughout its 1,071,466 acres. First established of as a forest reserve in 1892, Mount Hood National Forest merged with Cascade National Forest in the early 1900's before changing to its present name in 1924.

Getting Started

Most enter Mount Hood National Forest along U.S. Route 26 to Government Camp, which leads to many trailheads and connects you to Timberline Lodge and Ski Area and the popular south climbing route to the summit.

U.S. Route 30 (Interstate 84) drives along the northern border of the National Forest on the Columbia River. Look across the river to Washington state. Access the popular Tunnel Falls via Eagle Creek Trail #440 for plush green forests and various waterfalls. This area was damaged severely by wildfires in 2017 and sections are still closed to the public.

Four ranger districts make up Mount Hood National Forest: Barlow, Clackamas, Hood River, and Zigzag. Watch the National Forest's Conditions Report for trail and road closures throughout the year.

The forest is bordered on the east by the Pacific Crest Trail.

Permits

Some areas require a day use fee or wilderness permits, especially if you decide to climb the south side climbing route of Mount Hood from the Historic Timberline Lodge. Pay at a trailhead or purchase an Annual Interagency Pass or Northwest Forest Pass/Sno-Park Pass, depending on the season, and display the pass on the dashboard of your vehicle.

Resources

Seasonal Popularity