Gunsight Ridge, located just to the east of the Pocket Creek ski area, offers some of the most easily accessed backcountry slopes in the Mount Hood area. With open, clean fall lines as well as some beautiful tree runs through mature mountain hemlock, it can provide some fun skiing and a good backcountry workout with minimal time and effort. Grand views of Mount Hood to the west and across Badger Lake to the east offer pleasant lunch-time viewing from the top.
Most backcountry skiers refer to this area as "Pocket Creek." However, Pocket Creek really refers to the network of cross-country ski trails originating at Pocket Creek Sno-Park. The downhill runs are located on the west face of a large ridge just to the east of this area named Gunsight Ridge, also a popular hiking and mountain biking trail in the summer and fall.
To find the skin track, ski east on the Pocket Creek Trail, which follows Forest Service Road 3540. After crossing a bridge, stay left at the junction with Meadows Creek Tie Trail. Ignore a road forking off to the left. At about three-quarters of a mile from the trailhead, look for a ski track heading up the road bank to the left. This is the beginning of the skin track.
The longest run drops between 500 and 600 feet through a long scree-covered clearing starting just below the top of the ridge. There is a second, smaller clearing just below and to the west of the upper one. Some nice tree runs can be found near the top of the ridge and just to the south of the upper clearing.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.