This trail has the most amazing wildflowers and views of Mt. Hood

I’ve always loved hiking up to the summit of Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain because it gets me so up close and personal with Mt. Hood. But, today I hiked a trail that outshines Tom, Dick and Harry so completely that I may never go back to Tom, Dick and Harry again! Today, I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) from the Lolo Pass Trailhead to the summit of Bald Mountain, and every step of the way was breath-taking.

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First of all, Lolo Pass Road winds around the west side of Mt. Hood, instead of around the east like Hwy 26. Along the road, stunning views of Mt. Hood make your heart race in anticipation of hiking so near it. The road curves and climbs into the wilderness instead of toward the busy tourist areas. So, once you arrive at the trailhead 11 miles away from Hwy 26, you already feel like you have left the human world behind.

At multiple points along the trail, heart-stirring views of Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood await, and today the spring wildflowers were nearing their peak of bloom at this elevation (3100 – 4600 feet). To top it off, we saw no other people on the 3-mile PCT portion of the hike and had the trail all to ourselves. So, everything about this hike was pure magic.

An old clearcut growing up with flowering rhododendrons…

Carpets of Avalanche lilies and Solomon’s seal lining the trails…

Avalance Lily
Avalanche lily

Cool, shaded forests of Doug fir, hemlock, western red cedar and grand fir…

PCT to Bald Mountain

Sunny meadows full of Menzie’s Larkspur…

Larkspur

Cool breezes along the ridgetops…and…

About three miles in we intersected the Top Spur Trail and then Timberline Trail, where we filled out our Mt. Hood Wilderness Permit and headed uphill to an unmarked (and unmaintained) path leading to the summit of Bald Mountain. After walking through dark, dense forest up a 20-degree slope the trail curved out into a small open space on the edge of a flower-filled cliff with an awe-inspiring view of Mt. Hood.

Mt. Hood from Bald Mountain

Sitting there we could hear only the birds in the trees and the distant rush of water from the melting snow on Mt. Hood. Waterfalls cascaded down from the glaciers into rivulets and creeks, making their way to the Sandy River below. The glaciers and ridges of Mt. Hood formed a frozen backdrop for the deep green forests below.

Wildflowers of every texture and hue dotted the steep, rocky slopes of Bald Mountain. Butterflies flitted by, and we sat there soaking up the sun, the view and the joy of being in that magical place at that perfect moment.

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Directions for this hike can be found on the OregonHikers.org website here.

(Thanks to Gina Anzaldúa for her post on the Oregon Wildflowers Facebook page that got me interested in trying this hike)

 

 

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