toughest creek crossings on Hood

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
Post Reply
User avatar
Chip Down
Posts: 1403
Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

toughest creek crossings on Hood

Post by Chip Down » August 30th, 2018, 6:48 pm

I was going to post this in response to a TR, but decided it makes more sense as a general topic.

What's the toughest crossing on the Hood loop? Obviously, a hiker can't visit them all in a short time span, so comparisons are difficult.

I think Coe probably has the worst reputation, but I've never had a problem with it.

I've only been turned back by Sandy and Newton, when it was cold and the rocks were iced over (no, I will not wade when it's 25 "F-that" degrees :shock: ).

Zigzag might be the most demoralizing. Imagine going clockwise from Timberline Lodge, dropping into that canyon, failing at the creek, and having to climb back out, tail between legs! Fortunately, it's not a terrible crossing, so that probably doesn't happen often.

The only time I've had to do wet-foot crossing was on Rainier, Kautz Creek.

[BTW, I recognize I've probably been lucky, don't claim to be a gifted creek crosser]

User avatar
Guy
Posts: 3208
Joined: May 10th, 2009, 4:42 pm
Location: The Foothills of Mt Hood
Contact:

Re: toughest creek crossings on Hood

Post by Guy » August 31st, 2018, 5:37 am

For Hot Summer afternoon Crossings I think the Coe can be the worst, I've seen it double in water volume and size between an early morning and a late afternoon Crossing.

I haven't done the new Elliot crossing yet but the old one often required wet feet. White River used to be bad 10 - 15 years ago but doesn't seem to have the water volume it once had.

Last Sunday the Muddy Fork had as much water as I've ever seen in it (on a cool day too) Too wide for a rock hop or Jump but luckily we found two old trees across the creek quite a ways up from the trail.
hiking log, photos & maps.
Ad monte summa aut mors

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 12261
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: toughest creek crossings on Hood

Post by retired jerry » August 31st, 2018, 5:43 am

In addition to what you guys said, White River can be bad

Yeah, depends on when, September is usually the best, except that one year there were four days of rain and that lady died on the Sandy.

JustSomeHiker
Posts: 8
Joined: July 4th, 2017, 9:26 pm

Re: toughest creek crossings on Hood

Post by JustSomeHiker » August 31st, 2018, 9:16 pm

I think this is one of those questions that is going to be very subjective. Not only does it come down to the actual river/weather conditions when the crossing was done- but also how the individual hikers was feeling when they attempted the crossing.

I just did the loop for the first time earlier this week. I opted to do it as one super long 'day' hike, starting from Timberline Lodge and heading clockwise it took me 20 hours and 53 minutes. I just managed to make it across the Muddy Fork before it got completely dark and it didn't get light out again until I was passing Cooper Spur.

Of the crossings I did in the dark, I think Coe was the most difficult for me as it took a little bit to find the best point to actually cross, but once I found some rocks to hop across it wasn't very difficult. The actual crossing of Elliot was nice and easy as there was a giant log down to cross the river on, but descending the super dusty trail to the actual crossing was a bit jarring on my knees.

Overall the most difficult crossing for me was actually the White River Crossing. I would be inclined to say it was likely due to fatigue for hiking over 20 hours straight, but I arrived at the crossing with 2 other Timberline hikers and we all struggled a bit to find a good crossing point. Of all the crossings, this was the only one where I got my feet wet!

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 12261
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: toughest creek crossings on Hood

Post by retired jerry » September 1st, 2018, 5:08 am

21 hours, wow!

I guess if you don't take a tent or sleeping bag or ... your pack is much lighter :)

Word Nerd
Posts: 39
Joined: July 9th, 2017, 12:18 pm

Re: toughest creek crossings on Hood

Post by Word Nerd » September 2nd, 2018, 1:42 pm

I'm sure it differs from year to year and morning to evening, but I would say Coe was the worst with Eliot as a close second. I found a spot to ford White where it was just at my ankles and calm last August. I brought water shoes and forded about half the crossings since my balance with my pack wasn't great last summer when I did it.
The only time I've had to do wet-foot crossing was on Rainier, Kautz Creek.
Having just finished the Wonderland, I am surprised by this! Makes me wonder when you did it. It was an easy crossing this year, but we also had the benefit of going when all the foot bridges were in place and things were fairly dry until halfway through our trip. There are just so many variables on water crossings!

Thuja
Posts: 43
Joined: February 10th, 2018, 8:19 pm

Re: toughest creek crossings on Hood

Post by Thuja » September 3rd, 2018, 5:47 pm

Just finished, and would say the Elliot was the hardest for us. But talking to other hikers in retrospect, we discovered that it was entirely time-of-day. Apparently at 10am, the log crossing was great and non-sketchy. We crossed around 4pm and the logs were sketchy and under water. Two hikers who had just crossed showed us a wet-feet crossing that did not go deeper than the knee, but required passing by a little fast-water chute and required some careful foot placement (and the water was ICEY). Definitely sketched me out more than I wanted.

Crossed Newton early in the day, with a great dry logjam, no problem. Crossed White River around noon, with a ankle deep mellow wet crossing and then a rock-hop (had to go a bit upstream to find this).

BigBear
Posts: 1530
Joined: October 1st, 2009, 11:54 am

Re: toughest creek crossings on Hood

Post by BigBear » September 5th, 2018, 8:21 am

I agree with "time of the day" being a major consideration in assessing a creek crossing. The colder night means less snow melt which means less water at the point of crossing. Additionally, there is more water in the creeks in June and in August due to the amount of snow still on the slopes, and rainfall also contributes to a creek's depth.

Mt. Hood's creek crossings are much easier than Mt. Rainier's. Thus, if you are planning a trip on the Wonderland Trail and found Mt. Hood's Timberline Trail challenging, you may wish to rethink your plan for the longer loop up north.

User avatar
Chip Down
Posts: 1403
Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: toughest creek crossings on Hood

Post by Chip Down » September 5th, 2018, 7:45 pm

Word Nerd wrote:
September 2nd, 2018, 1:42 pm
Having just finished the Wonderland, I am surprised by this! Makes me wonder when you did it.
Must have been in the late '90s. Oh, okay, it was probably early summer, late afternoon. I think I was able to cross it dry-footed in the morning.
BigBear wrote:
September 5th, 2018, 8:21 am
Mt. Hood's creek crossings are much easier than Mt. Rainier's. Thus, if you are planning a trip on the Wonderland Trail and found Mt. Hood's Timberline Trail challenging, you may wish to rethink your plan for the longer loop up north.
Rainier's creeks are indeed more difficult, but aren't they almost entirely bridged? Have they stopped replacing the seasonal log bridges that invariably wash out seasonally?

User avatar
RobinB
Posts: 740
Joined: September 9th, 2013, 11:29 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: toughest creek crossings on Hood

Post by RobinB » September 11th, 2018, 2:12 pm

Another vote for Coe, followed pretty quickly by Eliot. In late summer, or when it's cold, both are fine. But, on a hot afternoon, they can be a little scary.

As an aside, it seems like, when people get into trouble, it's often because they try to do something dry and fall, rather than walking through relatively mellow water. I know that getting wet kinda stinks, but it seems like it's often the safer option.

Post Reply