Elk Meadows - Timberline Loop

Mt Hood and Lupines -  our view most of the hike

John and I had 12 hours between dropping off one nephew at the airport and picking the other one up, so we decided to go on a hike. I've been revisiting a lot of my old maps and hiking / backpacking books in search of new routes. I thought that we might be able to do something in Mount Margret backcountry or in the St. Helens area, but with the amount of driving involved I thought we might be cutting it close. So, John and I started thumbed through our hiking books and John said, "What about Elk Meadows?" I was pretty sure we had done the hike before, but I went back and looked at all 5 copies/editions I have of William Sullivan's red book and didn't see any notes on the Elk Meadow hike. I always write some kind of note, if not at least the date of when we completed the hike in the book. 



Umbrella Falls
more of Mt. Hood

William Sullivan's route
to Elk Meadows is an out and back going up to Gnarl Ridge. I perfer loops if possible, so I looked at my Mt. Hood map and decided on a ~13 mile loop that goes Umbrella Falls, on to the the Timberline trail for ~5 miles, then to Elk Meadows and back to the car. The loop did not disappoint us at all, almost the whole 13 miles was covered in wildflowers, especially lupines. We had amazing views of Mt. Hood throughout the whole hike and trails were not crowed at all. Since the trail starts on highway 35 at Mt. Hood Meadow's HRM parking lot, it takes an extra 30 - 45 minutes to drive to than most of the hikes that start in 26 or 84, which I think accounts for the low crowds. 



Alpine wonderland
Gnarl Ridge?
more wild flowers
This is a new favorite loop hike, I can't believe it took me this long to do it. Since part of the loop is on the Timberline trail, it would be very easy to add miles on to the route for a longer trail run. 

The route on Strava and Relive.




Yet another view of Mt. Hood


Lupines for days

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