This route leaves Lolo Pass, a gateway to logging activities to the north, climbs a ridgeline to the skirt of Mt. Baldy and a junction with the Timberline Trail before descending steeply to the Muddy Fork and the Sandy River Valley. The return trip includes one major climb back up to the Mt. Baldy Ridge.
NW Forest Pass required at the trailhead.
The valley floor is less treed and is considerably hotter than the more shaded sections of the trail.
This entire route is on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). At the Lolo Pass Trailhead, go south away from the power lines. The trail climbs steeply to the Mt. Baldy ridge. Once atop the ridge, the trail affords good views of the logged valley to the north with Mt. Adams in the distance and a little later a close up view of Mt. Hood.
At the skirt of Mt. Baldy, the trail junctions first with the Top Spur Trail and later with the Timberline Trail (an around the mountain trail). At the Timberline Trail junction, the trail enters the Mt. Hood Wilderness. There is a permit station at the junction.
Continuing south (or right) at the Timberline Trail junction, the trail descends gradually for almost a mile before dropping steeply via switchbacks into the Sandy River Valley. At the valley floor, the trail crosses the Muddy Fork via two stacked, fallen trees. A rope has been fastened to aide crossing.
The trail then meanders across the valley floor past the first turn off (to the left) towards Ramona Falls
and the second turn off (to the right) to the Ramona Falls
parking lot and trailhead before gently ascending the valley to second Ramona Falls
trail junction. This section affords peak-a-boo views of the top of Mt. Hood. The second Ramona Falls
junction is the turn around spot for this run.
Douglas fir. Chipmunks. Flickers.