In northern Oregon, Mount Hood looms 11,250-feet high overhead as one of the most iconic natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest. It’s surrounded by the lush Mount Hood National Forest, with miles of trails for both new and experienced hikers. You don’t even need to go hiking for views of this peak – just driving the Mount Hood Scenic Byway will take you past the massive volcano up-close. But if you do love a good adventure (especially ones that lead out to a pristine lake), try taking on some of these trails for the mountain’s most picture perfect viewpoints.
1. Trillium Lake
Both kids and adults can follow this easy hike around Trillium Lake. The level, 2-mile loop crosses through wetlands and around the alpine lake with unsurpassed views of the peak in the horizon. (More info.)
2. Paradise Park
Unlike the other hikes on this list, Paradise Park won’t lead you to a mountain lake, but rather through lovely alpine meadows that become dotted with vibrant wildflowers in July and August. It’s also not as kid-friendly as the last trail – this one climbs up switchbacks for about 6.7 miles total with a decent amount of elevation gain. (Read more on the National Forest Service website.)
3. Mirror Lake
Just off Highway 26, this trail runs for about 2 miles to a beautiful glacial cirque lake. It’s another easy, popular route for hikers of all ages, with only about 700 feet of elevation. Add it to your summer list – the trailhead parking’s closed up until April 30th. (Get directions.)
4. Cooper Spur
If you don’t mind taking a route that’s a bit steeper, try the 3-mile Cooper Spur Trail up the side of Mount Hood for even closer views. It kicks off from Cloud Cap Inn and climbs uphill through trees, before crossing through huge rock fields covered with snow. The trail’s lined with wildflowers in the summer, and also gives views of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Rainier up in Washington. (Get more details.)
5. Serene Lake
Appropriately named, this alpine lake in front of Mount Hood really does offer complete serenity. The hike spans for about 3.6 miles out-and-back, passing through old-growth forest and by the Lower, Middle, and Upper Rock Lakes before leading up to this gem. (Find directions and more info here.)
I can’t wait to start checking some of these off my list. What are some of your favorite hikes in Oregon for views of Mount Hood?