Timberline National Scenic Trail
Hiking and Backpacking the Mount Hood Loop
Current Conditions for 2022
The hiking, backpacking, and trail running season is in full swing on the Timberline Trail, and especially on weekends expect to encounter lots of other hikers out enjoying the trail.
The section of trail on the north side of the Yocum Ridge above the Muddy Fork is still closed for the trail crews will be there working all summer, so please respect their safety and time as they continue the work to reconstruct and remove hundreds of trees from the trail. Take the detour, see more details below.
The ascent/descent on the west side of the Eliot Branch Canyon is still a challenge, but very much improved by the steady traffic. All the backpackers coming before have done great work to dislodge the unconsolidated material, focused on a route on the west side of the Eliot where cairns mark the way. Having poles to test rocks to see if they are firmly lodged in place for footing or not at all is still useful. As for crossing the creek, there are two boulders close that can be utilized in a jump, or still practice safe fording of the creek.
The Timberline Trail washed out to a cliff face on the south side of Newton Creek. There is a short reroute starting just back in the camping area, near the creek. Look north of the trail for some green flagging heading past one of the camp spots. There is a short section of corridor cleared that takes you to a small chute that is a slight scramble down to the creek. Coming from Newton Creek, look for a large red boulder against and break in the cliffs.
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.
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.
Large collection of logs with some rock stepping at a primary crossing is available.
Timberline Trail washout at Newton Creek
old trail on left, new route up chute behind large redish boulder on the right:
reroute location coming up from Newton Creek, and heading past camps site (between boulders in forest)
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
The section of trail between Yocum Ridge Trail No. 771 and the the upper Muddy Fork Crossing remains CLOSED. All hikers, backpackers, and trail runners should take the reroute, until the Forest Service formally announces the reopening of the trail.
The trail is 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 over 850 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.
It is essential that all visitors avoid the section and respect the closure for their own safety, and for the safety of trail workers who may be on site throughout the summer, engaged in complex and dangerous trail work.
If you fail in your navigation skills, and find yourself at the closed section, DO NOT press forward into the damaged area, backtrack to the proper route.
Timberline Trail Reroute Map
I highly recommend that everyone completing the loop, 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.