Lonely Planet Writer

Hikers rejoice as Oregon's Timberline Trail reopens after a decade in disrepair

With the arrival of spring comes the return of a beloved Oregon hiking trail. After over a decade of disrepair, the Timberline Trail is finally complete and can once again be tackled in full. The repairs on the trail were officially completed last September, but this will be the first full hiking season in which hikers can tackle this typically four or five-day backpacking adventure.

Mt Hood pops into view over much of northern Oregon.
Mt Hood pops into view over much of northern Oregon. Image by Mt. Hood Territory tourism board

The Timberline Trail, which wraps around the base of the majestic Mount Hood, is forty miles of hiking splendour, with views that cover the impressive diversity of the state. Over the course of several days, hikers can see the Coastal Range, Portland and the Willamette River, high desert, and the many surrounding volcanoes of the Cascade region, including Mount St. Helen’s, Mount Rainier, Mount Jefferson, and of course, Mount Hood.

The Timberline Trail circles around the foot of Mt Hood.
The Timberline Trail circles around the foot of Mt Hood. Image by MtHoodTerritory.com.

In 2006, a debris flow took out a significant chunk of the trail, near the Elliot Glacier field. That portion of path was closed off by the U.S. Forest Service, and hikers had to reroute to more difficult stretches or cut their backpacking trips short. While some adventurous hikers continued to complete the Timberline Trail through creative approaches, the completed maintenance means safe and simple passage around a classic Oregon route.

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The Timberline Trail is once again a straightforward loop, but it’s still about forty miles of challenging terrain which requires preparation and hiking experience. For those looking for shorter adventures with similar views, there’s always the option to explore an out and back hike, starting at the trail head at theTimberline Lodge and going however far you choose. Any distance is a scenic one, in the shadow of Mt. Hood.