First Time in Oregon - Which Hike Should I Choose?

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
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lbrandon
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First Time in Oregon - Which Hike Should I Choose?

Post by lbrandon » August 7th, 2019, 12:26 pm

I'm headed to Portland, Oregon in early Sept and want to spend a day in the Mt Hood area. I've narrowed it down to two hiking options but can't decide on which one to do. I plan to get out there early so I can spend a few hours hiking and still have time for a stop in Hood River in the afternoon.

Option 1: Timberline trail from Timberline Lodge to Zigzag canyon. If I do this option I may also include a short stop at Trillium Lake.

Option 2: Mirror Lake Trail to the top of Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain.

I am a casual hiker in decent shape looking for a moderate hike of 5-8 miles. I am also a female hiking solo if that makes either of these options a better choice.

Any input to help me decide is appreciated.

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adamschneider
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Re: First Time in Oregon - Which Hike Should I Choose?

Post by adamschneider » August 7th, 2019, 1:03 pm

Definitely Zigzag Canyon. It's pretty cool to be right up on the mountain. If you want to add a little distance, you can hike up the east rim of the canyon a bit.

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teachpdx
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Re: First Time in Oregon - Which Hike Should I Choose?

Post by teachpdx » August 7th, 2019, 3:09 pm

Second to Zigzag Canyon.
Hike up the east rim to about 6200' on the user trail, then cut cross-country above the trees back SE to Little Zigzag Canyon where you can rejoin the trail. It's pretty easy-going, just do your best not to trample sensitive alpine vegetation.
*Only do this if you are comfortable with off-trail navigation*
instagram: @robo_remy

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BigBear
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Re: First Time in Oregon - Which Hike Should I Choose?

Post by BigBear » August 8th, 2019, 1:25 pm

You've picked two winners (Tom-Dick Mtn & Zig Zag O/L), unfortunately other hikers are picking them too. I used to have not problems finding a parking spot for Tom-Dick Mtn, but the last 3-4 years have been a different story. Even Timberline Lodge parking lot attracts a lot of summer snowboarders which limit the parking opportunities.

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adamschneider
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Re: First Time in Oregon - Which Hike Should I Choose?

Post by adamschneider » August 8th, 2019, 1:29 pm

BigBear wrote:
August 8th, 2019, 1:25 pm
Even Timberline Lodge parking lot attracts a lot of summer snowboarders which limit the parking opportunities.
Yeah, but have you ever NOT been able to get a parking spot at Timberline? There's room for hundreds of cars.

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oldandslow
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Re: First Time in Oregon - Which Hike Should I Choose?

Post by oldandslow » August 8th, 2019, 7:50 pm

Zig Zag Canyon is a great destination. If you go, you should take some time to look inside Timberline Lodge--wonderful building. I hope you have in mind that bad weather is possible and neither of your hikes would be pleasant in bad weather. I'm too old to hike in bad weather so I will leave it to someone else to suggest alternatives.

squidvicious
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Re: First Time in Oregon - Which Hike Should I Choose?

Post by squidvicious » August 9th, 2019, 6:13 am

Worth noting that Timberline's about to open their bike park Monday. Probably not enough to change the parking situation, but it may be a change to the summer atmosphere up there.

I'm clearly in the minority in not caring much for the hike to Zigzag canyon. I mainly see it as something to get through on the way to Paradise Park (or really, curse through on the way back from, when it suddenly turns into an uphill that wasn't there on the way in!). I would have said Tom Dick & Harry, if we're talking about a weekday at least. Especially since you say you're starting early. Parking should be fine then. Then maybe stop by Timberline for a bite afterwards.

Have you looked at YouTube? So many people video their hikes and post them, it's a good way to get a feel of what a trail is like and which looks more appealing to your interests. Anything older than the last year will look a bit different for the start of the Mirror Lake hike, but that's minor.

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BigBear
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Re: First Time in Oregon - Which Hike Should I Choose?

Post by BigBear » August 9th, 2019, 8:15 am

Question asked: have I ever not found a parking spot at Timberline Lodge?
answer: no

Have I seen "parking lot full" signs for Timberline Lodge?
answer: yes

Is parking getting more difficult to find?
answer: yes

Will there be a day when i won't be able to find parking at Timberline?
answer: looks likely

lbrandon
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Re: First Time in Oregon - Which Hike Should I Choose?

Post by lbrandon » August 11th, 2019, 4:45 pm

Thanks for the advice. I'm probably going to go with ZigZag Canyon and will definitely check out the Timberline Lodge. I have a couple days to choose from while I'm in the Portland area so I will check weather and go on the day that looks best.

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Chip Down
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Re: First Time in Oregon - Which Hike Should I Choose?

Post by Chip Down » August 13th, 2019, 5:12 pm

Zigzag, absolutely! Unless you prefer a woodsey walk to a lake with a view of a distant mountain. Echoing above advice, follow east edge of canyon as far up as you care to, turn east, go to little zigzag, descend back to trail, or pass above little zigzag and descend other side, possibly on mountaineer trail. I agree with the admonition to be gentle with offtrail travel, stick to snow/rock when possible (yes, there will be snow). Hard to get lost, you'll be in an industrial development, if you go "too far" east you'll hit ski lifts. Even so, study maps, maybe cary gps, just to be absolutely sure. Weather should be fine, chance of clouds, slim chance of rain. Report back!

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