The Pocket Creek trail system is a less popular cousin to the Teacup Lake trail system to the south, and that's why it may be an ideal option for your afternoon ski. While it doesn’t have some of the amenities that Teacup offers, Pocket Creek has plenty of what you need for a great day skiing within view of Mount Hood. Beginner and intermediate trail options loop around the area, and a connecting trail that leads to the Teacup Lake system makes for a longer loop.
For an intermediate, 6-mile ski, take the Meadows Creek Tie Trail to the Meadows Creek Trail, and follow it until the junction with the Pocket Creek Trail on Forrest Service Road 3540. Parts of this lower section are uneven, including a small stream crossing that relies on snowpack for a bridge. The trail is well marked, however, and made beautiful by the abundance of Spanish moss.
The trail opens up considerably once you cross the East Fork of the Hood River bridge. As you admire the views, try to keep your eyes open for the blue diamond trail markers. They are a little less frequent in the stretch between the East Fork bridge and the Pocket Creek Trail junction. The trail ascends sharply from this crossing up to a ridge before it meets the road that will take you back to the original Meadows Creek Tie. A nice, wide trail for descent rewards your climb.
Of course, you may take the loop in the opposite direction as well, but be aware that your descent will be through some tighter sections of the trail.
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.