Motivated by my 0 for 2 attempts to get to Gnarl Ridge this summer and kepPNW's awesome TR http://www.portlandhikers.org/forum/vie ... =8&t=16616) a little while back, I decided to give it another go earlier this week. My two oldest children who were home from college for the week tagged along as well. I am thrilled that they like doing these things as much as I do.
The plan was to start at Hood River Meadows, take the Elk Meadows trail and then up the Gnarl Ridge trail as high as we wanted to go. Coming back down we would turn south on the Timberline Trail, tramp across our winter playground (Mt Hood Meadows) and then close the loop on the Umbrella Falls loop. The loop also gave us multiple bail out points in case my daughter's hip acted up - she had snapping hip syndrome back when she was dancing and it occasionally can bother her. Not on this hike though...got the whole loop in.
The log bridge at Newton Creek on the Elk Meadows Trail is still in place and makes for an easy crossing.
For here, we climbed the switchbacks to the junction with the Gnarl Ridge Trail. I somehow missed the argyle tree this time though.
From the junction, it is about 2.5 miles before you actually get out on the ridge with awesome views of Mt Hood before you. Here's looking back down Newton Creek from a vantage point just past Lamberson Butte.
Here's Lamberson's Butte:
After enjoying our lunch, we worked our way further up the ridge to get this group shot...
and just enjoyed the views of the mountain...
After soaking it all in, down the ridge we went and then turned south on the Timberline Trail. I wasn't sure what to expect at the upcoming creek cross so I was a little nervous. Turns out I was worrying about nothing.
Here's the Newton Creek crossing on the Timberline Trail. Not a problem at all...
After 2 switchbacks up and out of the Newton Creek drainage, we descended in the Clark and Heather Canyons. Clark is on the right and Heather is on the left. This is when the kids start telling me stories of their ski adventures they've had out here that I don't want to hear as a Dad...as a skier yes...as a Dad no.
There was no log bridge at Clark Creek but it was quite easy to get across using these two rocks. I don't think this particular crossing method would have worked if the water had been higher...
Here's where I accidentally added some distance to our hike by missing the trail on the far side of the creek. Let's just say you don't want to head towards where the canyons come together...After doing a little exploring (yeah that's what it was ) , we backtracked and found the trail.
The Heather Creek crossing was my favorite. The crossing is just above this little waterfall.
The crossing was easy on this log bridge...
From here, we traversed across the runs on Mt Hood Meadows. We all got a kick out of seeing such familiar places and runs without snow. It's like seeing a old friend in a new environment.
We were getting pretty pooped at this point we just trudged past Umbrella Falls back to the car. We did see two bow hunters in the parking lot so hunting season is officially upon us. Keep that in mind...
All told the loop was 16 miles with about 3700' of EG. Not a bad way to spend the day...
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Thanks, Mike - excellent report and photos... love those clouds in the last shot of the mountain from Gnarl Ridge! One of my favorite spots on the mountain, for sure.
Thanks for posting!
Thanks for posting!