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Vista Ridge Trail Hike

Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon

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Vista Ridge Trail Hike

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  • The entrance to the Vista Ridge Trailhead.- Vista Ridge Trail Hike
  • Take the right fork. The wilderness permits are ahead.- Vista Ridge Trail Hike
  • Surrounded by the burn area.- Vista Ridge Trail Hike
  • The silver trunks of burned trees that have lost their bark.- Vista Ridge Trail Hike
  • Looking east over the burn area.- Vista Ridge Trail Hike
  • Avalanche lilies, or glacier lilies, bloom one to two weeks after the snow melts.- Vista Ridge Trail Hike
  • The white blooms are a brilliant contrast against the burned trees.- Vista Ridge Trail Hike
  • Mount Hood (11,250 ft) from the Vista Trail.- Vista Ridge Trail Hike
  • Hiking back through the lillies on the return.- Vista Ridge Trail Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
No crowds. Interesting ecology. Views.
Cons: 
Difficult to find without a good map.
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Region:
Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
Not Required
Total Distance: 
4.60 mi (7.40 km)
Trailhead Elev.: 
4,500 ft (1,372 m)
Net Elev. Gain: 
1,560 ft (475 m)
Trail Uses:
Hiking
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Dogs allowed: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Rain and windy overnight.
54°F
43°

Thu

Rain until evening, starting again overnight.
44°F
33°

Fri

Mixed precipitation (1–3 in. of snow) until evening.
35°F
29°

Sat

Rain throughout the day and windy starting in the afternoon.
44°F
30°

Sun

Rain in the morning and afternoon and dangerously windy until afternoon.
45°F
43°

Mon

Mostly cloudy throughout the day.
54°F
42°

Tue

Partly cloudy overnight.
60°F
48°
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

Hiking on the Vista Ridge Trail offers a one-two-three punch, if timed correctly. First, at any time of year, take a stark look at the effects of wildfire. Lightening ignited this area of Mount Hood Wilderness in 2011, and the resultant Dollar Lake Fire consumed 6,300 acres of timber. The charred bark has largely fallen off the trees, and now the weathered trunks stand silvery and smooth. The real show-stopper of this hike, though, occurs a week or two after the snow has melted, when the ground becomes carpeted with avalanche lilies. The blankets of white blooms amongst the silver trees is otherworldy. The giddiness of this discovery is contagious, and the shared experience with other hikers is a unique delight. Finally, dramatic views of Mount Hood come into view in the final quarter-mile of the trail, and you'll also have a view over Wy'east Basin. Backcountry campsites exist, and the trail intersects with Eden Park and Timberline trails, both of which are excellent extensions for this hike. This combination of discoveries makes the Vista Ridge Trail a favorite on the north side of Mount Hood.

The trail itself is easy to follow. From the end of Forest Road 1650, take the trail into the low trees. This trail technically is an old forest road, but it's so overgrown that it is easy to mistake for a trail. The trail forks after about a half-mile; take a right and stop by the registration station to fill out a wilderness permit, which you'll have to carry with you while you are inside the boundaries of Mount Hood Wilderness. 

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(59 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(168 within a 30 mile radius)

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
66 Members
Who's Done It
23 Members
Submission by
Team
128 Adventures Explored
80 Adventures Published

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