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Bald Mountain from Top Spur Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mount Hood spreads out before you from the summit of Bald Mountain. (Tom Kloster)
The Top Spur trail climbs through beautiful, old-growth noble fir forests. (Tom Kloster)
Watch for this unmarked junction, where the Bald Mountain spur heads uphill from the Timberline Trail (Tom Kloster)
Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum) on Bald Mountain (bobcat)
  • Start point: Top Spur TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Bald Mountain
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 2.0 miles round-trip
  • Elevation gain: 550 feet
  • High Point: 4,591 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: July–November
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No.
  • Crowded: Only to the Bald Mountain Spur Trail



This hike begins at one of the more crowded trailheads but quickly moves to one of the most forgotten spots in the Mount Hood Wilderness. At the summit of Bald Mountain, you'll not only be treated with a stunning view of Mount Hood, but you will also see traces of an old fire lookout that stood here in the 1940s. You'll likely have the summit to yourself.

From the Top Spur Trailhead, climb through handsome, old-growth noble fir forest for one-half mile before joining the Pacific Crest Trail (#2000). Turn right and immediately arrive at the signed junction of four trails and a Mount Hood Wilderness registration box. The trail to the right, and downhill, is the continuation of the Pacific Crest Trail (#2000) and is marked with a sign to Timberline Lodge. The route to the left is the northward section of the Timberline Trail (#600), with a sign to Cairn Basin. The trail straight ahead, and uphill, is the southbound section of the Timberline Trail (#600), with a sign to the Muddy Fork, and is the route to Bald Mountain.

From the registration box at the junction, continue on the Timberline Trail toward the Muddy Fork for about 450 feet, and then watch for an unsigned trail, heading left and uphill, between two large trees. (Ignore another boot path just beyond the junction, near a large stump, that dead-ends in the brush.) This is the historic Bald Mountain Trail. Follow this rustic path over a couple of logs as you climb parallel to the Timberline Trail. After a few hundred feet, switchback left and soon reach the more open forest on the slopes of Bald Mountain. The tread is always obvious, though you'll step over a number of fallen logs that have accumulated over the decades since this trail was maintained. They present only minor obstacles along the way.

As you approach the summit, you'll re-enter a band of huckleberries and false azalea, and the trail will quickly level off on the broad, forested top of Bald Mountain. Walk through an opening in the woods where concrete blocks mark the location of the former lookout. Here, the 40-foot trees around you mark the time that has passed since the lookout stood here in the 1930s and the summit was open. There's a view to Mount Adams off to the left. The final few yards to the viewpoint at the east end of the summit curves through a thicket of alder and mountain ash. The trail suddenly ends at a steep overlook of the Muddy Fork valley and a stunning view of the west face of Mount Hood, towering above.

There are convenient rock outcrops at the viewpoint for sitting down and enjoying the spectacle, and photo buffs will want to time their visit for late afternoon, when the scene is most dramatic. From the viewpoint, you can also see a section of the Timberline Trail just below, where the steady stream of hikers will pass your lofty perch, oblivious to your location.

To complete the hike, simply follow the same route back to the trailhead—and take a moment to clear twigs and brush from this beautiful old trail on your way down. This is the only maintenance that the trail gets, but it's just enough to keep it open for all to enjoy.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Top Spur Trail #785 (USFS)
  • Green Trails Maps: Government Camp, OR #461
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood Wilderness
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass (or America the Beautiful Pass) required at trailhead. Pass must be acquired beforehand as they are not sold at the trailhead.
  • Self-issued wilderness permit
  • Wilderness rules apply

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A


  • PDX Hiking 365 by Matt Reeder
  • Off the Beaten Trail by Matt Reeder
  • Day Hiking Mount Hood: A Year-Round Guide by Eli Boschetto
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • Hiking Oregon's Mount Hood & Badger Creek Wilderness by Fred Barstad
  • 105 Virtual Hikes of the Mt. Hood National Forest by Northwest Hiker

More Links

Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.