McNeil Point

Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon

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McNeil Point


  • Old-growth forest of white fir, mountain hemlock and Douglas fir.- McNeil Point
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- McNeil Point
  • View of the Sandy River valley, looking southwest.- McNeil Point
  • Mount Hood (11,250') from Bald Mountain.- McNeil Point
  • Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis nubigena).- McNeil Point
  • - McNeil Point
  • - McNeil Point
  • - McNeil Point
  • Tributary flow into McGee Creek.- McNeil Point
  • Boulder field below McNeil Point.- McNeil Point
  • Boulder field below McNeil Point.- McNeil Point
  • McNeil Point Shelter.- McNeil Point
  • McNeil Point Shelter.- McNeil Point
  • View looking east from above McNeil Point.- McNeil Point
  • Lewis's monkey flower (Mimulus lewisii).- McNeil Point
  • Magenta paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora).- McNeil Point
  • Sitka mountain ash (Sorbus sitchensis).- McNeil Point
  • Paintbrush and lupine along the tributary of McGee Creek.- McNeil Point
  • Ponds northwest of McNeil Point.- McNeil Point
  • Mount Hood (11,250') from the McNeil Point ponds.- McNeil Point
  • The Sandy River begins down below.- McNeil Point
  • A long exposure creates star trails over homey tents at McNeil Point.- McNeil Point
  • The McNeil Point Shelter.- McNeil Point
  • Grabbing a quick bite at the shelter and enjoying the moon glow on the mountain.- McNeil Point
  • Mount Loowit (Mount St. Helens) with clouds filling the low valleys from McNeil Point.- McNeil Point
  • Trail around Bald Mountain.- McNeil Point
  • Incredible views from Timberline Trail.- McNeil Point
  • Further along on the Timberline Trail.- McNeil Point
  • McNeil Point.- McNeil Point
  • Heading back down.- McNeil Point
Overview + Weather
Stunning views of Mount Hood. Great backpacking opportunities.
Trailhead is difficult to find. Only accessible in late summer and fall.
Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, OR
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,200.00 ft (670.56 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
8.60 mi (13.84 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,000.00 ft (1,219.20 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


It's always amazing how one mountain can appear completely different depending on how and when you approach it. If there is a representative hike for each side of Mount Hood, the hike up to McNeil Point is the one that best represents the giant volcano's west side.

The trail begins in an old-growth forest consisting predominantly of noble fir and western hemlock over a bear grass and black huckleberry understory. At the trail's first intersection you'll turn right onto the Pacific Crest Trail, and then at the next intersection 0.1 miles further up the trail you'll be presented with two options to get past Bald Mountain. The trail to the left leads around Bald Mountain's north side and is more direct but offers little variety in scenery. The trail to the right (which we recommend) is slightly longer but traverses across Bald Mountain's eastern slope; at which point, Wy'east's rough western face will dominate your views. This section of trail makes for a good turn-around location if you're simply making a short excursion for the sake of the spectacular views from Bald Mountain. Proceeding on this trail however will require cutting back onto the main ridgeline trail via an unmaintained connector trail that is located some 40 yards prior to a horse barricade.

Continuing up the ridgeline, once you reach the underside of the McNeil Point buttress, the trail circles to the north and eventually leads to the classic stone shelter.  It is possible to take a far less improved route directly up, crossing over a steep talus field (loose boulders) or along the ridgeline (the "climber's route"), but unless you're in an extreme hurry we do not recommend this approach much steeper route.

From McNeil Point, enjoy glimpses of the gorged valley created by Sandy Glacier, lush wildflowers surrounding McGee Creek, and vistas out to Larch Mountain, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier and Mount Adams.

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Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(63 within a 30 mile radius)

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(168 within a 30 mile radius)

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