This was hands-down one of the most breathtaking hikes I have ever done in my life! And I have done a lot of hiking in my days. My friend has hiked around America, Europe and South America and he said the same!
Mount Hood is Located just outside of Portland Oregon. You can see it’s peak while you sip on a patio beer down town.
Every turn on this was a new and stunning view!
I’ll be going over the trailhead, parking, the hike, safety, and nearby accommodations (aka the most cozy Air BnB ever).
Getting to the Trail Head
You spend a good while driving up the side of Mount Hood up a windy, gravel road. There are no guardrails, some of the sides are a long drop! Be careful. There’s no phone service so make sure to start your GPS before you start heading up the hill.
Apple Maps and Google both work without service if you start them while you have service! You can get the exact directions to the trailhead on the AllTrails app, by Typing in McNeil Point, Mt Hood.
I always screen shot the details before too, just incase. And bring an extra portable battery pack to charge my phone. I also bought a solar charger that folds up and fits in your backpack, it works amazingly! I was personally recommended this brand by a fellow outdoorsy friend, click here. It can directly charge your phone, or you can charge power banks. It can also hook to the outside of your backpack so that you can charge it while you hike!
There is no parking lot, you park along the side of the gravel road. It did appear that you needed a parking pass. Mt. Hood is part of a National Forrest, so my National Park Service pass worked! (the fine print on the back says it works for any federal land parking).
The Adventure Up!
Even within the first short bit of the hike the views are stunning! You could see multiple waterfalls, a river and the peak of Mt Hood at the first tree break.
Almost the entire hike is lined with wildflowers. I was in heaven! I took so many photos on it because every turn was something new and amazing.
Even in the tree covering areas you can see so much beauty! Oregon is extremely lush and has areas of rainforest. You can find mossy waterfalls all over. We had to cross them many times, and each time we were taken aback by their beauty.
Eventually you reach an open part of the trail again where you’re looking out to the other side of the mountain. From this side, you can see Mount Rainier, which is insane! We hiked until we found a spot we could put the hammock. One side we had a view of Mount Rainier, the other was Mt. Hood. It was heavenly! I drew, while my friend Reese read! We chilled for over an hour before starting the rest of the trek to the top.
This hike gets you so high up on Mount Hood, without needing any crazy mountaineering gear, that you think you’re at the end like 20 times (that’s not an exaggeration) before you actually get to the end. It just keeps going and keeps getting more amazing.
It’s a super hard hike. My legs felt like complete jello. There were so many times where I wanted to turn around, but them I would see the view and keep pushing.
When we got really close to the top, there were a bunch of people camping. It was beautiful to see all of the tents right by the peak of Mt. Hood! We snapped a pic there.
We continued again and found more amazing viewpoints. It gets kind of chilly at the top, make sure to pack some warm clothes, even on a hot day!
We found a “climbers trail” to go back down on. This is not for the faint of heart. It was very sketchy and dangerous. We are both experienced hikers and athletes so we felt comfortable. I would go the long way down if you aren’t. We only went this way because we didn’t think we had time to go the long way before it got dark.
Make sure to leave super early for this hike!
Tips and Safety
Bring A LOT of water. We were idiots… we thought the hike was half as long as it actually was so we did not bring enough water, don’t make this mistake. The hike is long and hard!
Ever since this experience, I always bring my 40 oz Hydroflask and my 70oz Camel Back so that I have plenty, and make sure that my friends bring a lot too if they join. You can always put the bladder in your regular backpack and pull the hose through the zipper too!
Bring food. This hike is long and strenuous. I would recommend bringing a full on backpacking meal (which are actually quite good!) and making it with a Jetboil. Both are extremely lightweight and easy to bring on your hike!
If you don’t have those, bring some high calorie bars and some fruit to have some extra sugar! I like to bring Cliff Bars, apples and bananas. They all provide a lot of energy.
This hike is hard and long! Give yourself plenty of time. I would leave at first light.
Bring bear spray! I always have mine with me as back up. You never know in the mountains. Black bears are pretty harmless for the most part unless you startle them or get in the way of them and their babies. There have been more and more grizzly bear siting’s in the Pacific North West, so just be cautious!
Accommodations Close By
My friend and I rented a quite and quaint tent Air BnB right on a riverbed. It was about 30 minutes from the trailhead.
The tent was propped up on a platform. It had lighting, seating area and a hammock right on the water! It was so peaceful.
We woke up to nothing but the sound of the river!