Vista Ridge Trail Hike

Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon

Start Exploring
Vista Ridge Trail Hike


  • 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
No crowds. Interesting ecology. Views.
Difficult to find without a good map.
Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, OR
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,560.00 ft (475.49 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
4.60 mi (7.40 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,500.00 ft (1,371.60 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


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

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(60 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(174 within a 30 mile radius)

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
93 Members
Who's Done It
31 Members
Submission by
140 Adventures Explored
80 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info