Best Time of Year to Hike Timberline Trail

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
hikinglover4life
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Best Time of Year to Hike Timberline Trail

Post by hikinglover4life » September 1st, 2020, 11:22 am

Hi all- My wife and I did an overnight on Hood a couple years ago for our anniversary (thanks to the help of many of you in planning!). We fell in love with Hood. We'd like to go back next year (2021) and do it again - hopefully this time the full Timberline Trail. Two years ago we went June 23rd and just nailed the weather perfectly (enough fear of snow pack so that it wasn't crowded but not enough actual snow to disrupt our trip in anyway - and no bugs at all!). I wanted to see if any experienced Hood hikers has a recommendation on the best time of year to go. Not knowing the snow pack obviously makes it difficult. I feel like we just got lucky two years ago. Any recommendations? Is September the safest month to go? We don't love crowds or bugs!

Thanks for any thoughts!

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retired jerry
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Re: Best Time of Year to Hike Timberline Trail

Post by retired jerry » September 1st, 2020, 12:04 pm

Late August, September are good because the snow is melted. Stream flow is lower. Easier to find the trail. Bugs are less.

On the other hand, September can be rainy. Several times recently people have been killed crossing the Sandy River. You have to watch weather reports.

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adamschneider
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Re: Best Time of Year to Hike Timberline Trail

Post by adamschneider » September 1st, 2020, 2:36 pm

retired jerry wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 12:04 pm
Several times recently people have been killed crossing the Sandy River.
The 2014 death was because of a freak summer storm.

Aimless
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Re: Best Time of Year to Hike Timberline Trail

Post by Aimless » September 1st, 2020, 2:43 pm

retired jerry wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 12:04 pm
Several times recently people have been killed crossing the Sandy River. You have to watch weather reports.
As I recall it, one backpacker died fording the Sandy River after several days of heavy rains had swollen it. During a different year, a second day hiker died when he stepped onto a temporary, unanchored wooden bridge trying to cross as the river was rising rapidly from a flash flood caused by a thunderstorm higher up the mountain and both the bridge and the hiker were swept downstream.

The first incident was in late August of 2004. Article here: http://www.traditionalmountaineering.or ... rowned.htm

The second incident was in 2014: Article here: https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/ ... 3-71331840

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Charley
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Re: Best Time of Year to Hike Timberline Trail

Post by Charley » September 1st, 2020, 9:28 pm

Fall is gorgeous and uncrowded! There's an autumnal bittersweetness in the air.

On the other hand, if you're traveling to the region, the weather is unstable after some point in September. Could be warm days and crisp nights, 45 and rain the entire time, or snowstorms! So it's a bit risky.

All photos are of September trips:
IMG_2448.jpg
IMG_2341.jpg
timberline310.jpg
IMG_2170.jpg
IMG_2058.jpg

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retired jerry
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Re: Best Time of Year to Hike Timberline Trail

Post by retired jerry » September 2nd, 2020, 5:44 am

yeah, you have to look at weather reports

I think it was last September it was pretty rainy the whole month, I never did get a trip in

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drm
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Re: Best Time of Year to Hike Timberline Trail

Post by drm » September 2nd, 2020, 7:03 am

Yeah, a lot depends on whether you are relatively local and have a flexible schedule or not. Those who must plan far in advance and set their days in stone will want to aim for mid-summer. Also, if you are slow, long days help.

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retired jerry
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Re: Best Time of Year to Hike Timberline Trail

Post by retired jerry » September 2nd, 2020, 7:29 am

August is pretty reliable weather wise, and the snow has melted off enough by then

There were a couple of recent days with some rain, but it was just sprinkles. Not steady rain all day. Not enough to swell rivers

Although even in August it's possible to have a thunderstorm dump enough water to swell rivers. Look at weather reports. It would probably just be a short period of time you could plan around.

smithsummit
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Re: Best Time of Year to Hike Timberline Trail

Post by smithsummit » September 2nd, 2020, 2:56 pm

My vote... any time after Labor Day weekend when conditions are still manageable. --Rob

Aimless
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Re: Best Time of Year to Hike Timberline Trail

Post by Aimless » September 2nd, 2020, 3:31 pm

hikinglover4life wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 11:22 am
We don't love crowds or bugs!
Unless you can time the melt-off perfectly in late June as you did before, the most reliable answer for no crowds/no bugs would be some time after Labor Day, but you take pot luck with the weather in September. Snow can happen. Rain and wind can happen. Fog can happen. Gorgeous blue skies can happen. Wildfire smoke can happen. You name it and it could be on the menu. :D

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