“This mid to late summer trail keeps you mostly above timberline on the slopes of Mt. Hood where you'll see snow in July!”
— Kathleen Walker
Views · Wildflowers
This trail is obliterated by snow generally from late June/early July to early November. Higher sections may be covered in snow even in later summer.
The Mountaineer Loop Trail is less than a three mile loop, but with a 1,000+ foot gain in the first half of the trail, the views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, Three Sisters, and mountains in the coast range are worth the climb!
Need to Know
The Mountaineer Loop Trail is covered with snow most of the year and has patches of snow throughout the year. The trail may be difficult to follow with fresh snow. Skiing occurs in most summer months until at least 1 p.m.
The trail begins at Timberline Lodge. Find the outdoor pool and run west. The first 1000 foot section of the Mountaineer Loop is shared with the upper part of the Timberline to Town Mountain Bike Trail, so mind the bikes. Stay to the right at the junction, and head uphill.
In the lower elevations, you cross through mountain hemlock, white bark pines, and western red cedar when you get into the draws, but just as you cross over the Pacific Crest Trail, you are soon above timberline with subalpine plants transitioning to alpine plants. Head north and gradually (and at times not so gradually!) uphill towards the top of the Magic Mile and bottom of the Palmer chairlifts. At this point, you may encounter skiers and snowboarders who can ski almost year round. You can take the trail between the two chairlift buildings, or skirt both on the downhill side and continue east. (Spoiler alert! - you can ride the chairlift to this point). At this point, you finally start the downhill part of the trail.
Continue east towards Silcox Hut. This place is rented out but you can take pictures at the site. Head downhill and as you approach timberline, you'll see the water tank to the right. Continue down to the trees and recross over the Pacific Crest Trail. After that point, you have some choices. If you want to return to your starting point at the pool, cross over the paved road and continue around the trails at the back of Timberline Lodge towards the amphitheater and then drop down to the pool where you started.
Flora & Fauna
The Mountaineer Loop Trail has alpine and subalpine wildflowers. Beargrass, lupine, alpine aster, partridge foot, Newberry fleece flower, alpine phlox, monkey flower, purple pussypaws, and more. They all have a very short growing season so be careful where you step. Chipmunks and ravens are common sightings.
History & Background
The historic site of an old cabin is located along the trail just below the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail.