The Timberline Trail is the Ultimate Pacific Northwest Backpacking Trip, and it’s only open until October 15th, so if you want to try it out, you better start planning.
Stretching 38 miles around the majestic Mt. Hood, the Timberline Trail is a difficult, but-endlessly-rewarding trip that will provide you several days of hiking and backcountry camping through some of Oregon’s most scenic sights, from glaciers to wildflower meadows to nearly endless vistas of Mt. Hood and the Cascades. It’s not easy, with tons of steep climbs, descents, and heavy river fording. But if you’re ready to tackle it, this trail is a classic Pacific Northwest backcountry experience and one you won’t regret.
Located in the Mt. Hood Wilderness, the Timberline Trail will give you an elevation gain of about 9000 feet in about 4 days of hiking. It’s best attempted in the Summer, June through September, as heavy snow will not be gone until June then. (It doesn’t close until October, though, so if you’re up for a shoulder-season trip with colder temps and chance of weather, it’s still possible). Summer will provide you with mild temperatures, tons of wildflowers and flowing rivers, and of course, tons of bugs. The flowing streams also mean there’s a ton of available water for a multi-day hike this time of year.
The trail is, for the most part, well-marked and maintained, making it easy to follow. You’ll need an overnight wilderness permit, but they can be picked up for free at most trailheads. Generally, backpackers start at the Timberline Lodge, and head clockwise, but it is a loop and can be attempted from any trailhead and direction desired.
So, pack some DEET, a water purifier and the rets of your gear, and prepare to take on one of the Pacific Northwest’s best, most pristine backpacking trips with views of an iconic mountain this summer. It doesn’t get much better.