Timberline National

Historic Trail

Hiking and Backpacking

the Mount Hood Loop


Aerial View from 11 July 2023.


Current Conditions for 2023

CAMP CREEK FIRE east of Mount Hood is now around 1000 acres and moving smoke about the area. Smoke levels and activity will be driven by wind direction. Visit this AlertWildfire.org site to view a camera located at Timberline Lodge that can show timelapses of current views.


Hiking and backpacking season is here! Many backpackers and day hikers out enjoying the trail. Be sure to avoid setting up camp on anything grassy or meadowy, as the Forest Service is taking note of the resource damage. These ecosystems are fragile, and take a long time to recover. If your intended camp location is full, continue looking for established, or low impact camp sites not on vegetation.  If you are concerned about finding some, check out the Timberline Trail map (more info below) which shows a large amount of the camp spots outside of the standard camping areas.


With high nightime temperatures, creeks run fast, especially in the afternoon, and Eliot has been a challenge for some, although there is a log this year some are carefully crossing on or using to help ford alongside.


There is still lots of blowdown in the Dollar Creek fire area on the north side, the accumulation of years worth of logs and plenty new ones from last winter. Between Elk Cove and Eliot is the most significant accumulation.


The Yocum Ridge section of trail above the Muddy Fork that had been closed is open, but many backpackers are choosing to take the reroute (or saying they wished they had) because of the large amount of blowdown to navigate, mostly crawl under, which can be challenging and slower with a larger pack.


From the Forest Service, basically the storm damaged section along Yocum Ridge is open, but still very challenging, and will keep requiring work:


"June 2023: Significant blowdown between Muddy Fork and Yocum Ridge remains. It is recommended that thru-hikers bypass this area. It's navigable, but not easy to hike. Despite trail crews clearing downed logs, an estimated 100 trees are still down between Muddy Fork and Yocum Ridge as of Fall 2022"



Check out my gallery of Timberline Trail photos and explorations blog posts to get excited for hiking and exploring around the mountain, and if you want lots of tips on planning, to learn more about the historical and geologic nature of the trail and utilize the most modern, up to date map covering the trail (including campsites) considering grabbing one of my Timberline Trail Field Maps, available in my Map Store.  Map (and sticker) purchases support my continued efforts to keep this website running and up to date, and to produce more maps and collect more field data.


Maps are also available locally in Portland at Mountain Shop on Sandy, Foster Outdoor and at the Portland Audubon Society Nature Store.

Early Season Trip Planning and Snow

When will the trail be free from snow and open for safe backpacking? June? July?

It depends, and will vary every year

Unfortunately, planning early season trips can be complicated by the potential for lingering snow pack that creates situations where otherwise uncomplicated, easy sections of trail become very dangerous slopes of steep packed snow with disastrous consequences for slips and long stretches of the trail obscured complicating navigation.


The amount of snowpack received on the mountain and the temperatures and sun in May and June combine to create different snowpack conditions for every year. Do not rely on dates of trip reports from previous years to indicate when the trail will be open specifically. Know that extensive snowpack can linger late into July, or be nearly melted away in June, based on the unique conditions of each year. If you are planning a trip in early July, consider having a backup plan or route (such as in the Badger Creek Wilderness) in case snow levels remain at high levels across the Timberline Trail. Check in with this site for snow updates and imagery as summer draws near.


The imagery sliders below are good examples of the variance in snow levels year to year, first satellite imagery of early July and then a trail photo of the same spot separated by a year and a day.


Photos 8/18-8/19 2022

Sandy River

Logs in place near to where the trail enters the flat going CW, look for cairns to lead indicate the exit amongst the brushy west side.


Coe Branch

Rock hopping or a ford, and has been quite full and fast late in the day when higher temps. Photo is a cooler morning. Scouting up the creek may provide less better boulder stepping or hopping options, and the exits on either side are brushy, so check for cairns.


Eliot Branch crossing.

Rock hopping or a potentially thigh deep ford. Note the cairns highlighted in the image below that indicate the most traveled route currently in/out, although there are potentially other exits up stream.


Newton Creek

Large collection of logs with some rock stepping at a primary crossing is available.


Timberline Trail washout at Newton Creek

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old trail on left, new route up chute behind large redish boulder on the right:

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reroute location coming up from Newton Creek, and heading past camps site (between boulders in forest)

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White River

Two channels, rock hops or minor fords depending on flow levels. Noticed some flagging that may have been leading them travelers further north enter/exit the western branch, but there is a solid  approachable entrance/exit easy to pinpoint from afar, its just right against where the high cliff rises along the river.


Detour around the Yocum Ridge Closure

From the Forest Service:

"June 2023: Significant blowdown between Muddy Fork and Yocum Ridge remains. It is recommended that thru-hikers bypass this area. It's navigable, but not easy to hike. Despite trail crews clearing downed logs, an estimated 100 trees are still down between Muddy Fork and Yocum Ridge as of Fall 2022"


So, still lots of trees, and narrow washed out drainages to cross, but open and crossable. If you're uncomfortable with little extra scrambling, ducking under big logs and exposure, (most annoying if you've got a large pack) the detour route is still a great option.


The trail had been closed for clearing and reconstruction while trail crews undertake the immense work of restoring the trail, relying on their skills with crosscut saws and hand tools to remove hundreds of logs and rebuild tread as the entire length of the closure is within the Wilderness Area. Most of this work is being accomplished with volunteers organized by the Pacific Crest Trail Association- PCTA, which oversees the trail here due to the historical nature of the route as a former section of the PCT. So far nearly 1000 trees have been removed from the trail corridor, and hundreds of feet of destroyed tread reconstructed, but there is still an immense amount of work left. Consider donating or volunteering with the organization.




Forest Service Timberline Trail Status

Timberline Trail Reroute Map

If you are taking the detour, I highly recommend regardless of heading in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction, utilize the Bald Mountain Cutoff Trail and take the Timberline Trail along the south side of Bald Mountain to enjoy the spectacular viewpoints along the trail there.


Trail Damage along Timberline Trail


More Adventures

More Adventures

Beautiful Benson Plateau and Beyond

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Criterion Tract Above the Deschutes


Mapping the Timberline Trail

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To The Pinnacle


Vista Ridge Snow Trek


Changing Seasons on Mount Hood


Utilizing Lidar in Mapping Trails


Chehalem Ridge Nature Park


A Lookout Mountain Night


Coe Glacier as Winter Draws Near