Elk Meadows

Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon

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Elk Meadows

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  • - Elk Meadows
  • Bridge over Clark Creek.- Elk Meadows
  • View of Mount Hood from Newton Creek crossing.- Elk Meadows
  • Hedge-nettle (Stachys chamisonis).- Elk Meadows
  • Forest floor covered with bear grass (Xerophyllum tenax).- Elk Meadows
  • View of Mount Hood from Elk Meadows.- Elk Meadows
  • View of Mount Hood from Elk Meadows.- Elk Meadows
  • One of many backcountry campsites throughout the meadows.- Elk Meadows
  • Elk Meadows looking east.- Elk Meadows
  • Explorer's gentian (Gentiana calycosa).- Elk Meadows
  • Explorer's gentian (Gentiana calycosa).- Elk Meadows
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Serene subalpine meadow. Numerous backcountry campsites. Options for extending your hike.
Cons: 
Only accessible for hiking in summer and early fall.
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Region:
Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
780.00 ft (237.74 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for: 
Hiking
Total Distance: 
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,470.00 ft (1,362.46 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

Compared to the hoards of visitors who explore Mount Hood Meadows during the winter months, the mountain's east side is remarkably quiet during the summer. The resort's base is a great launching off point for numerous hikes and backpacking opportunities, and the relatively short hike up to Elk Meadows is one of the best options.  

Starting though a forest of mixed firs, hemlocks and black huckleberries, you'll quickly reach Clark Creek and Newton Creek.  From there it's a roughly 780-foot gain up Newton Canyon's north slope to Elk Meadows. Thick with high grasses and dotted with the violet hue of explorer's gentian, the meadow opens up to spectacular views of Mount Hood's eastern slope. Wander around the eastern and northern edges to find the best picnic spot, one of the numerous backcountry campsites or the classic warming shelter.

From Elk Meadows it is only a short walk back to find the viewpoint at Elk Mountain, or climb an additional 1,300 feet on the Timberline Trail up to Gnarl Ridge and Lamberson Butte. Hikers can also head roughly 6 miles north along Cold Spring Creek to Tamanawas Falls, which is a great vehicle shuttle backpacking trip.

 

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(57 within a 30 mile radius)

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(151 within a 30 mile radius)

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