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Boy Scout Ridge Snowshoe Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

(Redirected from Boy Scout Ridge Snowshoe)
Mount Hood from the lower viewpoint (Tom Kloster)
Climbing above "The Bowl" (Tom Kloster)
Upper slopes of Boy Scout Ridge (Tom Kloster)
Boy Scout Ridge Snowshoe Map (click to enlarge)
  • Start point: White River West Sno-ParkRoad.JPG
  • End Point: White River Viewpoint
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 5.0 miles round-trip
  • Elevation gain: 1,800 feet
  • High Point: 5,700 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Late November through March or early April
  • Family Friendly: Yes (to the lower viewpoint)
  • Backpackable: Yes (snow camping)
  • Crowded: To the lower viewpoint on weekends



This classic snowshoe trip climbs the west shoulder of White River Canyon, known as Boy Scout Ridge for the nearby Boy Scout lodge. In summer, the ridge forms the route of the Pacific Crest Trail from Barlow Pass to Timberline Lodge. In winter, the snowshoe version of this hike begins along the White River, and climbs 1,800 feet to a soaring overlook of the White River Canyon and Mount Hood. A shorter version of this trip for beginning snowshoers and families ends at the lower viewpoint. This 3.6 mile option avoids a lot of climbing, and has only 800 feet of elevation gain.

Begin the trip at the northeast corner of the Sno-Park, following a wide, nearly flat path along the west side of the White River valley floor for 0.4 miles passing a junction with a road coming in from the left. This section is well-traveled in winter, so easy to locate and follow. At the 0.4 mile point, the route reaches a broad, treeless slope known as "The Bowl", and climbs the south ridge somewhat steeply for 200 yards, with the first good views of Mount Hood unfolding ahead. Upon reaching the top of the slope, the route enters open lodgepole forest, and curves around the top of "The Bowl", soon reaching a usually well-defined nordic ski track at a "T" junction. Turn right (north), and follow the track uphill, observing the snowshoer courtesy of walking to the side, where possible, to protect the nordic track. This section of trail is well-marked with silver diamonds all the way to the lower viewpoint.

At the 1.6 mile mark, the route drops into a shallow ravine for a short distance before reaching an open bench above the White River at 1.8 miles, beneath the broad, open slopes of Boy Scout Ridge, above. This is the lower viewpoint, and a fine destination for beginning snowshoers or families, with spectacular views of Mount Hood and the White River canyon and a nearby play-slope for kids.

To continue to the upper viewpoint, head straight up the steep edge of the tree line on Boy Scout Ridge, to the west, usually following well-defined snowshoe tracks. You will get a good workout on the way up, but can look forward to sliding down on your return trip. Once at the top of this 200-foot climb, begin following the broad ridge crest from the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail through increasingly sweeping views of Mount Hood and the broad White River Canyon. As the ridge narrows, the Salmon River canyon comes into view on your left, along with Timberline Lodge across the canyon. Stay clear of both the White River and Salmon River canyon rims as you climb along this section, as both are precipitous and have the potential for blind cornices and are prone to avalanches. At 2.5 miles, reach an especially dramatic viewpoint that is the destination for this snowshoe trip. You will know you've reached this spot, as beyond this point, the ridge narrows and is briefly forested where the sloped walls of the Salmon River and White River Canyon converge.

After enjoying the fine view, retrace your steps to the White River West Sno-Park.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Mt. Hood, OR #462
  • Green Trails Maps: Mount Hood, OR #462S
  • Geo-Graphics: Mount Hood Wilderness Map
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood Wilderness
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area

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Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Snowshoe Routes - Oregon by Shea Andersen

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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.

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