Paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea) near the start of Lower Wizard Way (Trail No. 8). Photo by Josey Rice.
When the temperatures rise, it's time to head for higher elevation hikes, and this week's hot weather is a great opportunity to check out the upper part of our summer trail system at Meadows!
This week, we're highlighting Lower Wizard Way (Trail No. 8) and Middle Wizard Way (Trail No. 9), which are our highest-elevation trails -- the latter of which runs on a ridge parallel to our highest-elevation lift, Cascade Express, all the way up to 7,300 feet. The hike is also one of the most challenging in our permit area: while the two trails are only 2.2 miles in total combined length, you gain nearly 1,000 feet in elevation over that distance! It should be cooler at high elevations, but make sure you bring more water than you think you'll need, as well as snacks and good, sturdy footwear. And although the hot temperatures have largely melted the snow from our trails, you will still find a few patches of snow on Middle Wizard Way.
Blooming Sulphurflower Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum) along Middle Wizard Way. Photo by Josey Rice.
The reward for your grueling hike? Expansive views of the high desert, Mt. Hood, and other mountains in the Oregon Cascade range, along with numerous wildflowers. Summer Operations Manager Josey Rice noted that right now, the hike starts out with abundant Paintbrush near the bottom of Lower Wizard Way, then transitions to yellow Sulphurflower Buckwheat and purple Penstemon near the top of Middle Wizard Way -- all being tended to by some busy honeybees.
Although you can reach the beginning of the hike via other trails that start in the base area, we recommend taking a Scenic Chair Ride up Stadium Express, then head left off the top of the lift to link up with the beginning of Lower Wizard Way. The trail will cross the Timberline Trail (No. 7) and then eventually connect with the start of Middle Wizard Way, which is located near the Ski Patrol headquarters near the top of the Mt. Hood Express lift. Middle Wizard Way then climbs parallel to (but not right next to) Cascade Express (viewable on your left as you ascend the trail) and ends near the lift's upper terminal. You can view or download the Summer Trail Map by scrolling to the bottom of the Summer page on our website.
For special events this weekend, we'll have the Kids Balance Bike Race on Saturday! This race is open to young kids with pedal-less bikes, who will race on a course set up in the resort base area. Registration is full for the 2-3 year-old age division, but we still have spots open in both the morning and afternoon races for the 4-5 year-old age division. Click the link below for more info and to register!
Registration and more info on the Balance Bike Race