The hike up Yocum Ridge on Mt Hood’s western flank is a long one but ends with some of the most stunning and expansive alpine views available on the mountain. It ends staring up toward the summit rising above Sandy Glacier and the wide valley at its terminus. On the other side of the valley is McNeil Point with Ho Rock and Co Rock further up the ridge. The hike is over 19 miles long with greater than 4000 feet of elevation gain, so it makes a longer day hike or a great overnight.
The first leg of the journey is the same route as the popular Ramona Falls Trail- starting at the Ramona Falls Trailhead on the Sandy River Trail #770, crossing the River and following the Pacific Crest Trail straight till the Timberline breaks off toward the Falls.
At the Falls, you cross the bridge and keep following the Timberline uphill for 0.7 miles till the trail comes up onto the ridge and the Yocum Ridge Trail #771 heads up. In 2.25 miles there is a little lake off to the left.
In another mile the trail emerges out of the woods, and up onto the edge of giant canyon wall with the Sandy River 800 feet below and the headwaters of the river rushing down from the Reid Glacier spilling down from the mountain.
The trail cuts back and heads up and around the cliffs you see from the overlook. On the other side of the Ridge the expansive valley opens up, the beginning of the Muddy Fork below. From here the path depends on snow cover.
Early in the season snowfields may be present and require spikes or an ice axe for safety, but later the snow may be melted and you can cross below the cliffs on the talus and then get back up on the ridge, which continues up towards the mountain. Don’t go further than you’re comfortable or prepared for. I stopped before the snowfield, happy and overwhelmed by the scenery I’d already encountered.
The way down will feel like a breeze after hiking uphill all day. For a bit of variety on the return, take the Ramona Falls trail from the Falls and then the PCT south back to the Sandy River Trail.