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Mt Hood National Forest

Google Map Coordinates: Latitude: 45.373512 / Longitude: -121.695915

The Mount Hood National Forest is located 20 miles (32 km) east of the city of Portland, Oregon, and the northern Willamette River valley. The Forest extends south from the Columbia River Gorge across more than 60 miles (97 km) of forested mountains, lakes and streams to the Olallie Scenic Area, a high lake basin under the slopes of Mount Jefferson. The Forest encompasses some 1,067,043 acres (4318 km²). Visitors to the Forest can enjoy fishing, camping, boating and hiking in the summer, hunting in the fall, and skiing and other snow sports in the winter.

Location – Directions

Mt. Hood NF
16400 Champion Way
Sandy, OR 97055

Directions From Portland, take I84 east 12.8 miles and take exit 16 and turn right onto 238th street drive. This becomes 242nd Drive and after 2.8 miles bear left on NE Burnside Road. This becomes US-26 (Mt. Hood Highway). Continue for 11 miles to Sandy, Oregon.

Mt. Hood National Forest Points of Interest & Attractions

At Mount Rainier, cyclists can enjoy bicycling that is both challenging and scenic. Bicycles are allowed on park roads but they are not permitted on any hiking trails and the park does not have any designated bike trails.

September and early October are generally excellent times for cyclists to visit Mount Rainier. During these months, there are usually fewer vehicles on the roads and fall colors enhance the scenery. However, many facilities and services are reduced or discontinued after Labor Day.

Climbing Mt. Hood

Mt Hood was first known to the Northwest Indians as Wy'East. Mt Hood's summit rises to 11,237 feet above sea level. Geologists agree that Wy'East , like all the Cascade volcanoes, may only be "resting" from more active volcanic activity.

As you ascend Mt Hood, you enter the Mt Hood Wilderness Area. The Mt Hood Wilderness, 47,100 acres protected under the Wilderness Act, is heavily visited, so please do your part to "leave no trace" when visiting the area.

Climbing Mt Hood is a technical climb. There are no trails to the summit.

Permits: Wilderness permits are required on the approaches from Timberline Lodge year round and on all other approaches from May 15 to Oct 15. These permits are free and self-issued. At Timberline Lodge, permits are available 24/7 in the Wy'East Day Lodge. For other approaches, permits are stocked in stations located on these wilderness trails from May 15 to Oct 15.

Get a permit if you are planning to enter the Mt Hood Wilderness even if you don't plan on summiting. Do not get a permit if you are not entering the Mt Hood Wilderness, only climbing to the top of the Palmer Snowfield, for example.

Group size: Group size is limited to 12. Consider climbing mid-week to enhance your opportunity for solitude.

Bagby Hot Springs

These natural hot springs are located among towering firs adjacent to a secluded tributary of the Clackamas River, forty miles south east of Estacada, Oregon. The springs are accessible by trail. They offer a unique recreation experience. No chrome fixtures here! Hand-hewn tubs and cedar plumbing are typical of the primitive facilities.

Lakes & Fishing

Glistening waters of over 150 lakes lie within the timbered boundaries of the Mt. Hood National Forest. Some of these lakes are easily accessible by car. Others bury themselves in the high country. On foot, or by horse, the sportsman must forge his way into these lakes to enjoy the solitude of the wilderness.

Most of these lakes were void of fish populations before the Department of Fish and Wildlife began an extensive stocking program. Heavily fished lakes are stocked annually, while more isolated lakes are planted every two or three years. Only those lakes that are fishable, either through stocking or natural reproduction, have been included in this guide. There are a number of other lakes which recreationists can enjoy, that do not contain game fish.

Fish populations and "fishing" is managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. They develop and implement the rules governing fishing in the Mt. Hood. National Forest, including all required fishing licenses, tags and permits. Because fishing regulations and season dates may change, it is best to consult the current Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, available at most sporting goods stores.

Historic Government Camp and Timberline Lodge

Government Camp is a small, private mountain community at 3,900 feet on Mt. Hood's south side. The community is a launching point for numerous outdoor adventures including skiing, hiking, mountain biking, huckleberry picking and exploring the Barlow Road. A trail system surrounds the community for both winter and summer use. The community has a tradition of winter sports dating back to the early 1900's. Developed skiing and snowboarding opportunities are available at Timberline, Summit, and Ski Bowl Resorts.

Perched above Government Camp (and accessible by paved road) is Timberline Lodge. A National Historic Landmark, Timberline Lodge was constructed during the Great Depression of the 1930's by craftspeople working under the Federal Works Projects Administration. This stately Cascadian building was constructed of stone and large timbers and has been thoughtfully maintained. Publicly owned, and privately operated, Timberline Lodge is open to the public as a hotel, restaurant, and ski resort. Nearly two million visitors from all over the globe enjoy the lodge's warm hospitality each year. Forest Service interpretive staff provides tours of the lodge.

Climbers and hikers headed into the Mt. Hood Wilderness Area frequently begin their ascents here. Due to its high elevation (6,000 feet) and proximity to the Palmer Snow Field, Timberline Ski Area is unique in its ability to offer year-round skiing and snowboarding.

Timothy Lake Recreation Area

Timothy Lake is one of the most popular family camping and fishing destinations in the Mt. Hood National Forest. The lake's south shore features four developed campgrounds and boat ramps. Two other nearby campgrounds accommodate equestrians. Three smaller, less developed campgrounds are found in the north. A trail system for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians circles the lake. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail also traverses the area along the east side of Timothy Lake.

The tributaries that feed Timothy Lake have outstanding wetlands habitat. Oak Grove Fork Meadow by Clackamas Lake, Timothy Lake's North Arm and Little Crater Meadow are great places to spot wildlife which depend on wetlands. Timothy Lake is an artificial lake constructed by Portland General Electric in 1958 for hydroelectric power. The State of Oregon stocks rainbow and brook trout in this 1400 acre lake. Motorboats are allowed, and a 10 MPH speed limit is in place.

Clackamas Wild and Scenic River

In 1988, Congress designated 47 miles of the Clackamas River, from its origins in the Olallie Lake Scenic Area to Big Cliff, as part of the Federal Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Outstanding scenery and proximity to Portland make this section of the Clackamas River one of the most popular recreation areas in Oregon. The river has carved a deep gorge with rocky cliffs and tree-laden slopes. Whitewater boating and year-round hiking and riding are among the many recreational pursuits here. Facilities are available for day-use and overnight camping beside the river.

The Clackamas River contains diverse fish habitats, vital to a productive fishery. In addition, over 1,040 miles of fish-bearing streams and rivers flow into the Clackams River. Anadromous spring Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon, and Steelheard Trout use these waters for spawning, rearing, and migration. Resident fish include Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, and the threatened Steelhead and Chinook Salmon species.

Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness

The 39,000 acre Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness (first designated as the Columbia Wilderness in 1984) is a land of sharp contrasts. Rocky, wind-swept ridges near 5,000 feet elevation cradle shaded stream bottoms with ancient Douglas-fir and Cedar trees. Over the ages, vegetation has been greatly affected by fire. For thousands of years, Native Americans intentionally burned the ridges to perpetuate the huckleberry crops. In the early 1900's, fires accidentally started by the railroads in the Columbia River Gorge burned up the steep drainages. Tens of thousands of acres were consumed as evidenced by the dense second-growth stands of Douglas-fir. Only the wettest riparian areas survived the flames.

For an area so close to a major metropolitan area, the Mark O, Hatfield Wilderness offers outstanding opportunities for solitude. The headwaters of Eagle Creek and upper reaches of Tanner Creek are rarely visited, and some trails see fewer than 10 persons per year. On the other hand, from the top of Tanner Butte you can watch jets land at Portland International Airport. If you want a true wilderness experience, visit this place with a good map and compass, and avoid the popular areas of Wahtum Lake, the Eagle Creek Trail and the Rainy and North Lakes areas.

The Barlow Road

Arriving at The Dalles in 1845, Samuel K. Barlow learned that he would have to wait weeks for passage down the Columbia River. He decided instead to attempt crossing the Cascades. Barlow and Joel Palmer led a wagon train south to Tygh Valley and successfully explored for a wagon road around the southern slopes of Mt. Hood. In 1846, the "Barlow Road" was opened to emigrants as a toll road. Tolls ranged from a promise to pay $5 per wagon, 10 cents per head of loose stock, a shirt, a cow or a blanket. This road completed the Oregon Trail as a land route from the Mississippi Valley to the Willamette Valley and was still in use as a wagon road as late as 1919.

You can still travel the same route once forged by the hardy first settlers to Oregon. The eastern portion of the road from Tygh Valley to Barlow Pass has been little altered, and high clearance vehicles are still recommended for today's travelers on the Barlow Road. At several locations, interpretive signs describe historical events, and there are six camp ground for overnighting. For more information, you may contact the Barlow or Hood River Ranger District Offices.