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Mountaineer Trail Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Paved trail going up from Timberline Lodge. You can see the groomed Palmer Glacier ski area. The several buildings to the left are Silcox Hut. (Jerry Adams)
Raven and prey (Golden-mantled ground squirrel), Mountaineer Loop (bobcat)
Partridgefoot (Luetkea pectinata) is a common flower seen along the trail (cfm)
Illumination Rock from the Mountaineer Loop (bobcat)
Mountaineer Loop shown in red (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Timberline Lodge TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • Ending Point: Silcox Hut
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 2.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1065 feet
  • High Point: 6,925 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer and early Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes, for older kids
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Summer weekends



Timberline Lodge is unique because there is such an easy road that goes so high on the mountain. At other places, you have to drive miles on a gravel road and/or walk several miles to get up to the alpine areas. Consequently, this area is very crowded. The lodge is known world wide, so there are a diverse group of tourists. You can stay overnight at the lodge and there are a couple restaurants. The easiest hiking opportunity is to just stroll in any direction you feel like. There are a few paved trails and many gravel trails. If you go up about 75 feet of elevation gain on any convenient trail you select, you will reach the Timberline Trail/Pacific Crest Trail. You can walk a mile in either direction, or further - see Zigzag Overlook from Timberline Lodge Hike or the Mount Hood Meadows via White River Canyon Hike.

For a more difficult hike, try walking up the Mountaineer Trail #798 to the Silcox Hut. This is at almost 7000' in elevation, almost as high as any trail on Mount Hood. You get great close up views of Mount Hood, the Cascades to the south, and the Coast Range to the west. The hut is open to paying guests only.

Head up the steps across from the parking lot area and go right after 20 yards. At a second junction, go right again for the Timberline Trail, Mountaineer Loop Trail, and the Silcox Hut. Cross a small creek and head up on a rubbly tread among mountain hemlock, subalpine fir, and whitebark pine. In late summer the Newberry’s fleeceflower is turning red on the pumice slopes. Reach the four-way Timberline-Mountaineer Trail East Junction and keep straight.

The trail passes through a copse of mountain hemlocks and then heads around the old water tower to a road. From here, head up the road, which rises steeply up alpine fell fields. There are views up to the summit of Mount Hood and south along the Cascade crest to the Three Sisters. To the left is a snowy draw. As you keep rising, features of the mountain, such as Illumination Rock, the Hogsback, Crater Rock, the Palmer Glacier, and the White River Glacier icefall become clearer. The Silcox Hut, built in 1939, offers a bench outside for a rest, but the hut itself is usually locked as paying guests may stay here.

From the hut, traverse west across a snow gully and between two chair lift terminals and down a road to the first bend. Find the trail leading down from here. The path drops among rocks and alpine vegetation along the ski area boundary. There are views of the Multorpor and SkiBowl areas below. Reaching whitebark pine and mountain hemlock parklands, the trail runs down along the edge of a draw, braiding at one point, and then reaches the four-way Timberline-Mountaineer Trail West Junction.

Go straight here and pass a short spur to the site of the old Timberline cabin. A few broken pieces of the chimney remain. Traverse through mountain hemlock parklands, cross a ski run and drop under a ski lift. Cross another ski run and pass the Mountaineer-Timberline to Town Trail Junction. This latter is Trail #756, used by mountain bikers and hikers. The trail rises across more ski runs, passes the Mountaineer-Glade Trail Junction, and reaches a chair lift terminal. From here, you walk along a road and below Timberline Lodge to the parking area.

If the hike is too much for you, you can take the Magic Mile ski lift up and/or down. Hours of operation vary. There is a fee to use the lift. The lift takes you near Silcox Hut. You can then walk to the hut or walk around and enjoy the views.

In addition to summiting the mountain, you can hike farther up the slope to the White River Glacier on the east or Illumination Rock on the west.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails: Mt. Hood, OR #462
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area
  • Geo-Graphics: Mount Hood Wilderness Map
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest North
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood Wilderness
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • Stay on trail to protect fragile alpine ecosystem

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Around & About Mount Hood by Sonia Buist with Emily Keller
  • Hikes & Walks on Mt. Hood by Sonia Buist & Emily Keller
  • Day Hiking Mount Hood: A Year-Round Guide by Eli Boschetto
  • Hiking Oregon's Mount Hood & Badger Creek Wilderness by Fred Barstad
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland /Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • Trips & Trails: Oregon by William L. Sullivan
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland (4th ed.) by Paul Gerald
  • Portland Hikes by Art Bernstein and Andrew Jackman
  • Oregon's Columbia River Gorge: Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Best Trail Runs: Portland, Oregon by Adam W. Chase, Nancy Hobbs, and Yassine Dibboun
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Megan McMorris
  • 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.

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