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Laurel Hill Chute Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Looking down the Laurel Hill Chute (bobcat)
Interpretive sign, Laurel Hill Chute (bobcat)
Trail junction with the Mt. Hood Loop Highway, Laurel Hill Chute (bobcat)
Oregon Trail route, Laurel Hill Chute (bobcat)
  • Start point: Laurel Hill Chute TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Laurel Hill Chute
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 0.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 230 feet
  • High Point: 3380 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No



This short trail leads up to the bottom, and then the top, of one of the steep chutes down which Oregon Trail pioneers on the Barlow Road lowered their wagons. There are interpretive signs along the way and this short hike is well worth a pit stop on the way to or back from a longer hike. There’s a large sign at the Laurel Hill Chute Trailhead to give some background on this historic site.

Head up a flight of stone steps on Trail #795A and reach the paved surface of an abandoned section of the Mt. Hood Loop Highway. Go right 40 yards to see the trail heading up the salal cloaked slope. To the left of the trail sign is the Laurel Hill Chute, one of five known chutes in the area where Oregon Trail “prairie schooners” were either winched down using ropes or inched down with trees tied behind as a drag. Signs along the trail explain the process. The trail winds up rather steeply under Douglas-fir and western hemlock with an understory of salal, bear-grass, and rhododendron. At a junction, go left for the viewpoint. The viewpoint trail drops into a small loop that reaches the top of the steep, rocky Laurel Hill Chute, used in the 1850s until it became too eroded to allow safe passage.

Back at the junction, continue straight to complete the loop. The trail drops through rhododendrons (The pioneers identified these as “laurels”) and switchbacks twice. You will see a track heading up to the left which is the route of the Oregon Trail (If you like, you can hike up this rut to the road bed of the Mt. Hood Loop Highway, go right and head down in a wide loop to make a longer hike). Switchback down three more times before reaching the Mt. Hood Highway. Go right 120 yards to the top of the stone steps.

For a longer hike, go left at the four-way junction, and head up the slope towards Highway 26. You will pick up the road bed of the Mt. Hood Highway and loop down to the top of the stone steps to return to the trailhead.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • none


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails: Government Camp, OR #461
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area
  • Geo-Graphics: Mount Hood Wilderness Map
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest North

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver (2nd edition) by Douglas Lorain
  • Hikes & Walks on Mt. Hood by Sonia Buist & Emily Keller
  • Hiking Oregon's History by William L. Sullivan
  • Oregon's Columbia River Gorge: Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill

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.