Take this 12 mile loop for incredible views of Mount Hood, the wildflowers surrounding it and other cascades nearby! 

The hike begins at Timberline Lodge, which sits on Mount Hood at 6,000 feet of elevation. Find the Timberline trail behind the lodge by following any of the maze of trails heading east and you will be on your way! After 1.2 miles, you reach Little Zigzag Canyon where you will descend approximately 1000 feet to reach the bottom before heading straight back up again. This portion of the trail is really not a treat on the way back out, but the views are incredible and the water gushing through the canyon is a welcome break when you reach the bottom. 

Continue following the trail and you will start seeing signs for the Paradise Park Loop 3.9 miles into your hike. Following the advice of a stranger, we opted to hop on to the loop at the third junction, which provided us with stunning views of Hood the entire way around. Definitely would recommend going in this direction. On the loop itself you will see tons of wildflowers (if you go in July or August) and waterfalls. On an extremely clear day (which we were lucky to have), you can see Mount Jefferson, The Three Sisters and Mount Rainier. 

The loop has multiple spots for camping if you would prefer backpacking the loop at South Fork of Lost Creek and North Fork of Lost Creek. Would definitely consider doing this next time just to enjoy the scenery longer and not because doing it in one day was too overwhelming. You will finish up the loop right back near Zigzag Canyon and meet back up with the Timberline trail in order complete the hike. 

The total mileage is 12 miles, but luckily most of the elevation for the hike is going in and out of Zigzag Canyon. That means during the hike itself, I spent most of my time just enjoying the views! Highly recommend this hike. It has been one of our favorites of all time.  

Pack List

  • Water (2.5-3L pp)
  • Hiking Boots
  • Poles
  • Snacks/lunch
  • Camera
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RT Distance 12 Miles
Elevation Gain 2300 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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