The Mount Hood Meadows Nordic trail system can be thought of as an Eastside network and a Westside network, with an access road that divides the two. You can start any trail in this system at the Nordic Center in the parking lot attached to the Eastside trails, where you can purchase your nordic pass, warm up on a cold day, get some instruction and rent gear.
To access the Westside network from the Nordic Center, take the Hanel Loop south until you reach the road crossing to your right. You will have to remove your skies to cross the road at this point. Alternately, if you wish to skip the road crossing, park near the Alpine Service Center and ski south toward the Hood River Meadows Trail.
For this occasion we chose to cross at the road, placing us onto the Meadows Creek Loop. Ski northwest, toward the mountain, then keep left through two junctions to remain on the loop. When you reach a Y junction, stay right to access Sahalie Falls Road. This road isn’t a part of the Meadows trail system, but it does get groomed. The falls are at the end of the groomed maintenance.
For the return, ski back to the Y junction. If you are feeling adventurous, pursue the road not taken, which will be a right turn onto the Cheese Roll Loop. Keep right at the next junction to observe the “one way” signs. A steep section with downhill turns makes this loop a fun alternative return or an opportunity to practice your wedge, but either way, you don’t want to be skiing uphill when somebody is skiing down. Continue on the Cheese Roll Loop until it reunites with Meadow Creek, which you can take back to the road crossing.
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.