Timberline Trail Loop Backpacking

Government Camp, Oregon 97028

Timberline Trail Loop Backpacking

Timberline Trail Loop (Backpacking) Professional Review and Guide

"The Timberline Trail circling Mount Hood is probably the most famous footpath in the state. Guidebooks describing the finest hiking trails in the nation often include this spectacular route, so Oregonians must share the trail with people from all over the country (and even international travelers). Even before the official trail was built by CCC workers in the 1930s, this round-the-mountain tour had many admirers—and justifiably so.

The mountain views are stunning, wildflowers choke the meadows, and exceptional side trips abound. The enormous trail population is dominated by dayhikers, who have access to every corner of the mountain. The Forest Service is currently proposing to restrict the numbers of hikers and campsites—an unfortunate but probably necessary step. Because horses are banned from most of the route, the trails and meadows are still in good shape, despite the number of hikers."

Timberline Trail Loop (Backpacking) Reviews

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9/11/2009
Beautiful trip....traveled counterclockwise and camped around clark creek after a half day and about 6 miles. Second day crossed the Eliot drainage which is officially "closed" due to a washout in 2006 and hazardous conditions. There seems to be no enforcement of this closure and many groups are crossing. The safest, and my recommended way, around the washout is to follow the climbers trail along a ridge leading to Coopers spur (south side of drainage), just below the glacier is a trail leading down into the basin, take this and cross the basin (there will be little to no water flow here) to the north side and follow the climbers trail on the north side back down towards Cloud Cap where you will rejoin the #600 trail below the treeline. Allow an additional 1.5 to 2 hours. Alternately (much more hazardous) you may follow the climbers trail on the south side of the Elliot eastward towards Cloud Cap; just above the treeline you will come across a "trail" traversing across the steep scree slope down into the drainage. Before descending, look across to the scree slope on the north side where you will see a trail ascending to the top of the ridge (climbers trail); this will be your route. There are yellow ropes to assist to on both sides, nevertheless, this remains a hazardous route due to the steep scree slopes and potential for falls and rock fall.....be careful! We camped at Carin Basin the second night after about 12 miles. On day three we elected not to take the 600 trail from the PCT intersection to Ramona falls; the trail is washed out below the Muddy Fork of the Sandy. We instead took the PCT to Ramona falls. Fill up with water in the creek just after crossing the Sandy river if you plan on continuing to Paradise Park; this is a long climb with along the way until you reach Paradise. There is water and many great campsites here. back to T-line on day 4 Feel free to contact me if you have questions. moyda @comcast.net
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8/8/2009
Everything I expected and more. This is one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done. Mt. Hood seems so big now. Elliot Creek crossing is still washed out, but heading clockwise from the trailhead, we hiked down the ridge next to Elliot Creek, crossed the creek at the bottom, then climbed the mt. side to the top. At the top is Cloud Cap. The detour took us 1.5 hours.
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7/24/2006
I did the trail with two friends in three days, two nights, starting and ending at timberline lodge and hiking clockwise around the mountain. The trail had been washed out in many places by landslides and floods, and the one bridge over the largest river was gone along with much of the trail nearby. other than that, the directions from Backpacking Oregon were very helpful. Much of the trail is shaded and below the treeline, though between cloud cap and timberline it reaches 7300 feet and was often lost in snowfields. through much rock-hopping, we managed to avoid wading across all rivers but one, "coe creek", which was quite intimidating. We were on the trail in mid july, and it seems august would be a better month with lower water, though the wildflowers might not be as plentiful or the weather as cool.
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8/23/2005
Alpine Lakes were more like puddles, and the bugs were very thick
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8/26/2002
I love this trail. It was very well marked and easy to follow. Beautiful scenery the entire trip. I hiked it in four days. There is a lot of elevation change throughout the entire hike. A lot of canyons and good size streams that have to be crossed. Some streams you have to walk up about 50ft before you can find a place to cross at. There were plenty of nice campsites with fire pits and logs to sit on. Campsites were well spaced out except at Elk Cove. Plenty of places to get fresh water at(streams) except above the timberline. That is about 3hrs of hiking above the timberline. When it is clear you can see for miles. There are a lot of viewpoints of the top of Mt. Hood. The trail crosses above Meadows Ski Lodge and the ski trails. I understood why they called that place Meadows. The runs are all huge meadows of different flowers during the summer. Very beautiful scenery the entire trip. I highly recommend this trail.
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7/29/2002
Well laid out trail affords fantastic views of Mt. Hood, surrounding peaks and brilliant fields of wildflowers. My trip in late July was a bit early, lots of snow and trees down. This was comfortably done in 4 days/3 nights, with lots of ups and downs. Carry water shoes! Campsite described in guide at Rushing Waters is a beautiful (but illegal) site. Camp at Elk Meadows was my favorite. Head toward the shelter, just right after crossing log bridge on Meadows perimeter trail. Detour around Bald Mountain, to avoid Muddy Water washout is in good shape, but is mostly in the forest and has lots of elevation loss and gain.
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8/1/2000
This is somewhat of a challenging trail because of the altitude gain and loss. The trail keeps you between 3000' and 6000'. There are several fast running stream to cross, so you will get wet! Beautiful views, but watch out for the deer flies. They bite hard!
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Trail Information

Government Camp
Nearby City
41
Distance
8,600 feet
Elevation Gain
Loop/Lollipop
Trail Type
Difficult
Skill Level
3-5 days
Duration
Usually open mid-July to October; best early to mid-August
Season
Mount Hood Information Center
Local Contacts
Green Trails - Government Camp (#461) & Mount Hood (#462)
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018