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Take a wildflower tour across Meadows with our Hike of the Week

Categories: Guest Connection SummerBlog

Meadow of Western pasque flowers with Mt. Hood in the background
Meadows of Western pasque flowers, false hellebore, and aster with Mt. Hood in the background. Photo by Josey Rice.

The recent spate of hot weather has coaxed even more wildflowers out of hiding at Meadows, and you'll see quite a nice variety on our selected Hike of the Week.

We're highlighting the Timberline Trail (No. 7 on the Meadows Summer Trail Map, but referred to as Trail #600 by the U.S. Forest Service) this week, or rather, the 3.3-mile section of it that cuts across the middle of the Mt. Hood Meadows permit area. In its entirety, the Timberline Trail is 41.5 miles long, circumnavigating Mt. Hood for an epic, extremely challenging hike that typically takes 3-4 days to complete.

In the stretch that goes through our permit area, the trail crosses under six of our chairlifts and gives a great sample of what hiking and summer at Meadows is about: great views of Mt. Hood and other mountains in the Cascade range, alpine streams, deep canyons, dense coniferous forests, and some incredible meadows full of wildflowers -- especially right now.

Penstemon and paintbrush along a stream with the Blue lift in the background
Penstemon and paintbrush along a mountain stream, Blue chairlift in the background. Photo by Josey Rice.

"The late spring and this new heat wave have created the most amazing flowers. It is unbelievable the number of flowers that are in bloom right now: blankets of Valerian, Paintbrush, Lupine, Penstemon, and Western Pasque flower," reports Meadows Summer Operations Manager Josey Rice. "It is breathtaking. The hike took me twice as long because I kept stopping to take pictures!"

Download our Summer Trail Map

The Meadows portion of the Timberline Trail is rated "More Difficult" on our trail map, as there are some stream crossings and some significant elevation changes, particularly if you're venturing into the spectacular Clark Canyon, which provides a great turnaround option for your hike. There are a number of ways to reach the Timberline Trail, but if you're just interested in hiking the trail itself, the quickest and easiest way to get there is to take a Scenic Chair Ride up the Stadium Express lift, then hang a left when you get off the lift and follow the signs for the Timberline Trail, accessed via a short spur trail adjacent to the lift. Once you reach the Timberline Trail, heading right will take you down to Heather and Clark canyon, while heading left will take you on a tour through the heart of the resort, under lifts, and through arguably the best concentration of wildflowers in the resort. Turn around when you reach the junction with the Umbrella Falls Trail (USFS #667), or continue left onto the trail to head down to Umbrella Falls and/or back to the base area for a longer hike (Umbrella Falls Trail is rated on our trail map as "More Difficult," and the total length of the trail is 3 miles).

Field of Valerian with Mt. Hood and the lower terminal of the Cascade Express lift in the background
Valerian carpets a meadow in South Canyon beneath the lower terminal of Cascade Express. Photo by Josey Rice.

Keep in mind that the listed 3.3-mile length of the Meadows portion of the Timberline Trail does not account for doubling back on the trail, so make sure to factor that in when calculating the length of your hike. Also, please note that trail distances our estimated on our map. As always, we recommend bringing more water than you think you will need, snacks, good hiking boots or shoes, and for this time of year -- bug spray.

Weekend Special Events

Mt. Hood Meadows presents movies on the deck Friday evenings in August 2021
Guests enjoy a Friday night Movie on the Deck.

It's going to be a busy one this weekend at Mt. Hood Meadows, with events happening Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

We'll start things off Friday night with the first of our Movies on the Deck series, The Karate Kid (1984)! These movies start at dusk (around 8:45 PM) outdoors on the Paradise Sun Deck behind the South Lodge. We'll have seating available, but feel free to bring your own chairs and blankets. Scenic Chair Rides will be going until 7 PM, and the Paradise Grill will be open for snacks until 15 minutes before showtime (please, no outside food or beverages). Tickets are just $8 for kids and $10 for adults; head to the link below to purchase tickets and check out the rest of our upcoming movies!

Get Movies on the Deck tickets!

On Saturday and Sunday, we'll be hosting Daybreak Racing for the Mt. Hood Trail Games, which is a relay race with varying course options/lengths throughout the Meadows permit area. Registration is closed, but come on up to watch the action!

On Sunday, we'll have the first of our Mushroom Hunt Series, led by our very own Jason Roberts, who will be taking guests on a hike to learn about how to find and identify mushrooms of the bolete or porcini famiy in the Meadows permit area. Sunday's event is sold out, and almost every other Mushroom Hunt is sold out too, but as of this writing Wednesday morning, we still had a few spots left in our September 4 hunt, so register soon before they're gone!