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Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood

01.11.18

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Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood

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  • A peek at Mount Hood along the Cloud Cap Trail.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Mount Hood through the remains from the 2008 Gnarl fire along the Cloud Cap Trail.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • View north to Mount Adams from the Cloud Cap Trail.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • The Tilly Jane A-Frame is the prize at the end of the Cloud Cap Trail.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Mount Hood (11,250 ft) over a snowy Mirror Lake.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Mount Hood (11,250 ft) from Grave's Summit Meadow.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • There are many additional routes that can be added to the Trillium Lake Loop.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Contributor Asmund Tweto skiing from the Trillium Lake fishing platform to the dam.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Working through the fresh snow on the Beaver Marsh Loop.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Spanish moss along the Beaver Marsh Loop.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Contributor Emily Gillard enjoying the slight descent on the Beaver Marsh Loop.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Perfect snow through the old-growth forest en route to the White River Hut.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Road 240 en route to the White River Hut is remote and beautiful.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Expect to be overjoyed to reach the White River Hut, get the heat cranking, and remove your skis.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • White River flowing off of Mount Hood.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Lots of backcountry access from the White River West Ski Trail.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • A late arrival could allow for a beautiful sunset view as well as a lack of crowds on White River West Ski Trail.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Beautiful veiws on the Iron Creek Trail.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Mount Hood (11,249 ft) from the Iron Creek Trail.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Sahalie Falls accessed from Mt. Hood Meadows Westside.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Ray Garey Cabin at Teacup Lake.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • A happy skier at Teacup Lake.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • One could easily link the Pocket Creek ski with the Teacup trail network.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • A log bridge across the East Fork of the Hood River.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • The Crosstown Trail is easily abbreviated with a shuttle set at the Thunderhead Sno-Park.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Western red cedar.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • The Enid Lake Loop shares a segment with the Glacier View Loop.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • Skiing to Upper Twin Lake.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
  • View from Upper Twin Lake looking southwest.- Great Cross-Country Ski Trails on Mount Hood
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Contributor

From Portland to Estacada to the Columbia River Gorge and everywhere in-between, Mount Hood is a beacon of adventure and a thunderous addition to Western Oregon's topography. Especially in winter.

Though it's hard to play favorites when it comes to verdant spring, summery dog days, musky fall, and snowy winter on the shoulders of Oregon's tallest mountain, but this 11,250-foot behemoth serves up something for everyone when the temperature drops. For anyone looking to explore snow-blanketed old-growth, quiet, icy lakes, and wide valleys, cross-country skis are choice. As an added bonus, the barrier to entry is relatively low, and most of the areas on this list feature a variety of trails, from beginner to expert. 

Please take note that winter weather can shift relatively quickly, and being well-prepared with layering options and route-finding tools can make the difference between an exciting adventure and a bad experience. Be sure to check avalanche reports in any areas with potential exposure (like Heather Canyon Ski + Snowshoe Trail). 

Below, you'll find the top five recommended cross-country ski trails to put on your list for winter. Below that you'll find a relatively comprehensive list of Mount Hood's cross-country ski trails. 

1. Teacup Lake

Though this is one of the most popular cross-country ski areas on the mountain, it's still well worth a trip. Visit on a weekday if you can to minimize the crowds. You'll find an expansive network of well-groomed trails, a cozy warming hut, and stellar Mount Hood views.

2. Cloud Cap to Tilly Jane A-Frame

Catch this one on a clear day and you'll not only get an in-your-face view of Mount Hood's incredible Wy'East Glacier, but you'll also get a glimmering view of Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, and Mount St. Helens rising triumphantly in a row. The prize at the end of this challenging trail is the historic Tilly Jane A-Frame—a cozy cabin that has served as a refuge for mountaineers and a haven for friends and families since the 1930s.

3. Trillium Lake Loop Trail

In the heat of the summer, Trillium Lake is one of Portland's favorite camping destinations and, on a sunny weekend, is awash in RVs, colorful watercrafts, and happy campers. Getting a wintertime perspective is a whole different animal: The 4.5-mile trail is mostly friendly toward novices with several short climbs and is punctuated with fabulous views of Mount Hood framed by tall coniferous trees and the wide lake.

4. White River West Ski Trail

For anyone with a frame of reference that predates the massive 2006 flooding, White River is a marvel of ecological turmoil. What was once a much narrower river valley is now a wide wash that provides a gentle grade for cross-country skiing and a triumphant view of Mount Hood's entire southeastern slope. Be sure to check avalanche conditions before setting out.

5. Crosstown Ski + Snowshoe Trail

This is the longest and most accessible trail in the Government Camp network. Routes here are totally customizable and are generally very easy, though they have a tendency to get tracked out by snowshoers. Setting a shuttle in the Thunderhead area can cut the trip in half, where the Summit Ski Area Lodge awaits with a cold beer or a hot cider—the cherry atop an adventurous cake.

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