August 2011- Hiking around Mount Hood (Zigzag Canyon and Paradise Park)
This is one of the more beautiful and adventurous 2 day hikes I’ve done. It could easily be done in one day, but that’s not nearly as fun. There are river crossings, a cool ice cave a little off the beaten path (at least when we were there), and some nasty elevation gain, so be prepared; this ‘paradise’ is no walk in the park; but it is all well worth the effort with the beautiful Mt. Hood in your periphery for much of the hike.
The hike itself is about 12.3 miles total, and starts at Timberline Lodge. We just walked past the lodge, saw the Pacific Crest Trail and followed it. It eventually leads you into a huge 700-foot-deep canyon, with views almost the entire way. Eventually you cross a river and head back up, getting to the ‘Paradise Park’ section of the hike. Here is how we experienced the hike.
I was hiking with two of my college friends that also lived in the Willamette Valley at the time, Scott and Mark.
There were portions of lush vegetation throughout the hike due to all the snow melt.
There were also some fun rock scrambles.
There was snow run-off everywhere.
Another botanical wonderland created by the snow run-off.
This is the canyon you hike into, with Mt. Hood in the background.
Heading towards the water crossing.
After crossing the river at the bottom of Zigzag Canyon, we decided to stop for lunch.
After lunch, we started heading up out of the canyon. Once the trail leveled out a bit, Mt. Hood was in view and stayed in view for most of the hike.
After setting up camp somewhere in Paradise Park, we got comfortable and played some card games.
Watching the sun set from our campsite.
The next day, we did a lot of ‘aimless’ hiking. An example of aimless hiking is finding random glisading slopes. Here was one section of snow we glisaded down.
We also found a beautiful waterfall coming off the mountain.
As we got closer to the waterfall, it looked like there was a small opening.
Sure enough, the waterfall was accessible through a short yet ominous snow cave.
This hike is definitely worth the challenging terrain.