We are coming into the absolute prime time of the Portland hiking season!
- The flowers are blooming in the alpine meadows
- The bugs are just about gone
- The weather is ideal — assuming you can dig 10 days of sunny and in the 70s.
- Any trail you want to hike … you can hike it right now.
Here are some highlights from recent trip reports and news items:
- Paradise Park (see the Timberline Trail section of my 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Portland book) was rocking with flowers on August 11. The ZigZag River crossing is reported as no problem.
- I was just at McNeil Point (also in 60 Hikes) on August 7, and the flowers were going there, too — as was the heather up around the point. There were some black flies, but they weren’t biting too badly.
- An August 11 report from Dollar Lake (Vista Ridge in 60 Hikes) indicated the black flies were even dying off. Good riddance.
- On the Elk Meadows hike, reports are that the creek crossings are easy.
- There are some road closures to know about: The Cooper Spur Road is still closed, but you can do the hike from the ski area, which adds about 4 miles to it. Anyway, you could do it as a backpack like these folks.
- Part of Lolo Pass Road is also closed. This doesn’t affect stuff like Ramona Falls or ZigZag Mountain, but if you’re going further up, like to McNeil Point or Vista Ridge, check the easy detour on this map.
- Speaking of Ramona Falls, why not consider something new (and challenging) and extending that hike up to Yocum Ridge. Just know that another possible extension to that hike, the Muddy Fork section of Timberline Trail, is tough.
- The asters should be rocking Elk Cove (also Vista Ridge) right about now. These pictures are from July 28. Just remember that Vista Ridge now goes through a burned area.
But that’s just at Mount Hood! Why not go another hour-ish and hit Mount Adams? It’s a lot less-visited. The Oregonian reported August 8 that the lupine is peaking right now.
- Check out this report from Hellroaring Meadows, for example. Weird name for a beautiful place.
- Just on the other side of Adams, Goat Rocks is awesome.
- And heck, why not make a three-hour drive to Mt. Rainier and hike around Paradise?
- Or make a longer drive and do Canyon Creek Meadows down by Santiam Pass.
- And finally, there’s a road closure in North Cascades National Park, cutting off access to the popular Cascade Pass trailhead.
Looking for a campsite?
This new website claims to have all of them in Oregon.
Okay, see you out on the trails! If you’re ever gonna hike at Mount Hood, now is the time.