It's not surprising why most people choose cross-country ski trips on Mount Hood that offer the occasional views of the mountain. However, because of the mountain's draw, those trails are often crowded, especially on the weekend. The Sandy River Trail offers something different - a little winter solitude on the flanks of Mount Hood.
Starting at the bridge crossing on the Muddy Fork Road, skiers can enjoy an open road ski to the Ramona Falls Trailhead and continue along the Sandy River Trail toward Ramona Falls. Along the way, you'll get many opportunities to stop and enjoy beautiful winter views of the Sandy River and the surrounding hillsides, and you'll likely have the view and ski all to yourself. The trail is a very gradual uphill slope the whole way, making the ski back much faster than the climb.
Situated at much lower elevations than many of the more popular ski trips on Mount Hood, save this adventure for a time when there is a sizable base of snow on the mountain, or you may risk having to carry your skis to reach a place suitable for skiing.
In a sizeable flood in 2008, the Sandy River and surrounding tributaries washed out a number of roads and bridges. The truss bridge at the start of the trail was rebuilt in 2010. If you have the time for a detour and want to explore some of the storm's carnage, take the first right off Muddy Fork Road onto NF-382, and in a short while you'll come to a large landslide that covers the road. Some small creek crossings and waterfalls along the Cast Creek Trail makes this a fun area to explore, but you won't be able to ski much of this terrain.
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.