“Summit Trail is the south part of a large loop in the Government Camp Trail System.”
— Kathleen Walker
Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers
The Summit Trail is open to mountain bikes, so care should be taken. Bikes should yield to pedestrians. Be sure to have your dogs leashed to avoid conflicts with bikes. Stay off of fee trails in Skibowl. Summit Trail is usually snow free from early June to late November. It can be skied or snowshoed in winter.
The Summit Trail makes up the south side of a larger loop trail around the community of Government Camp, or it is a fun trail in itself. Begin the trail in the Nordic Trailhead which is at the east end of the Skibowl West Sno-park. The trail heads south and soon crosses two tributaries of Camp Creek with large bridges. The bridges were designed to pass a trail groomer for winter cross-country skiing. The trail continues southeast towards Multorpor Fen, a large wet area between Skibowl and Highway 26. As it skirts the wet area, you can see skunk cabbage and other signs of approaching wetlands. The trail then comes out to the base of the Multorpor chairlift and the Lake Road. There are some points where Skibowl's fee mountain bike trails may be encountered from here to the east.
Turn left and follow the Summit Trail. The Lake Road splits. Bear to the right, follow the road/trail and pass under another chairlift. Continue east skirting above some buildings and below a yurt. Keep heading east on the Summit Trail until you pass the buildings at about mile 1.3, and head east down the old road with forest on both sides. The road climbs a hill, and when you get over the other side, you pass a powerline corridor on your right (south) with access to a Skibowl fee Powerline Trail.
Just after that, there is a connector trail between Summit Trail and the Barlow Trail #601A
. The Summit Trail then swings north heading towards Highway 26. The trail passes an A frame building that houses generators for Portland General Electric. The trail can be followed to the highway where it comes out across from the Summit Ski Area Sno-Park, just east of the yellow blinking light intersection with the Government Camp Loop
Road. If you don't want to cross the highway, you can stage a car at the ODOT Maintenance area Sno-park. If you do this, take the trail just south of the PGE A-frame building that heads east towards the old Forest Service compound. The ODOT parking lot is located just above the compound.
Summit Trail is a great place to pick huckleberries, but the locals in Government Camp get there quickly so the early bird gets the worm. Skibowl has some great places to get meals and drinks.
Flora & Fauna
The Summit Trail passes through forests of Douglas fir, western and mountain hemlock, western red cedar, Alaskan yellow cedar, larch (tamarack), noble fir, silver fir, vine maple, alder, and big leaf maple. The forest floor is covered in oxalis, dog wood, sword fern, salal, Oregon grape, huckleberry, salmonberry, skunk cabbage, bear grass, rhododendron and a variety of other wildflowers.