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Head into the canyons for our Hike of the Week

Categories: Guest Connection SummerBlog

Looking up the rocky Clark Canyon, creek in the foreground, Mt. Hood in the background
Looking up Clark Canyon toward Mt. Hood. Photo by Josey Rice.

You don't always have to hike up to higher elevations to get amazing alpine views. Our latest Hike of the Week is a great example of that, showcasing some of the most striking, scenic vistas in our permit area without having to climb to the top of it.

Last week, we highlighted the Timberline Trail, but primarily the section that runs southwest from the top of the Stadium Express lift to its intersection with the Umbrella Falls Trail. This week, we'll be highlighting the other side of the Timberline Trail, specifically the section that runs northeast from Stadium down through Heather Canyon and into Clark Canyon.

As we mentioned in our previous Hike of the Week post, we aren't talking about hiking the entire Timberline Trail here, which is an arduous 3-4 day hike totaling 41.5 miles, and travels far outside the Mt. Hood Meadows permit area. Instead, this out-and-back hike totals about 2.5 miles, featuring 440 feet in elevation change (essentially, 440 feet down while hiking into the canyons, then 440 feet up hiking back out). It's a moderate hike that should take anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours to complete (take a Scenic Chair Ride up the top of Stadium, turn left off the lift to head up the spur trail to the Timberline Trail, then turn right to head down the Timberline Trail toward the Heather and Clark canyon area). However, multiple other trails at Meadows connect to the Timberline Trail, offering numerous opportunities to extend your hike (download our Summer Trail Map for more info).

Flowers with Upper Heather Creek Falls in the background
Wildflowers alongside Upper Heather Creek Falls, as viewed from the Timberline Trail. Photo by Josey Rice.

Dipping in and out of the forest, the trail passes alpine streams and waterfalls festooned with wildflowers, none more impressive than Upper Heather Creek Falls, located right along the Timberline Trail. The hike does take you across Heather Creek just above the waterfall, which Summer Operations Manager Josey Rice notes, "is still running pretty high, so unless you have a long reach, expect to get your feet a bit wet on the crossing."

The hike terminates at Clark Canyon, which offers amazing views of Clark Creek, distant waterfalls, and Mt. Hood, as well as some hardy Penstemon (below photo) that has made its home in the volcanic rock. Clark Creek/Canyon marks the turnaround point of this hike, although the Timberline Trail continues on for many miles.

Purple Penstemon in Clark Canyon, with the top of Mt. Hood visible in the background
Penstemon in Clark Canyon with Mt. Hood in the background. Photo by Josey Rice.

As always, remember to bring sturdy footwear, plenty of water, and snacks on your hike. Also, be aware of current fire restrictions in the area in which you're hiking: the U.S. Forest Service just put in new restrictions prohibiting open campfires in the Mt. Hood National Forest due to current hot and dry conditions; you can get complete information on their website.

Weekend Special Events

Graphic with chili peppers and cactuses that says "Culinary Tour of Mexican Cuisine"

The second of our Culinary Experience Tours is happening this weekend! Join us in the Sahale Lodge August 13 from 2-5 PM for the Culinary Tour of Mexican Cuisine: a food festival where you'll get to enjoy dishes from different regions of Mexico, including Aguachile (North Pacific Coast), Pacholas (Central region), Tlayuda (Southern region), Huachinango (Gulf), and more! Get your tickets online in advance by noon Thursday to save some money off the day-of price. We'll also have live music from local artist Megan Alder happening that day on the Paradise Sun Deck from 3-5 PM.

Get tickets for the Culinary Tour of Mexico

On Friday, we'll have the last of our Stargazer Dinners this season, and on Sunday, the second of our Mushroom Hunt Series, but both those events are sold out. On Sunday, we'll continue our Summer Music Series with local artist Jenny Lee, who will be performing on the Paradise Sun Deck from 3-5 PM. We hope to see you up here!