Elk Meadows and Mountain Hike

This was one of those weekends that you live for.  Temps in the 90’s, sunny, dry.  Just plain awesome!  I took full advantage of it too.  I did 40 miles with the Portland Velo Saturday Ride which went up Dairy Creek this week.  On the way back down I hooked up with Mia as she was riding up, so I turned around and did it again with her, then we rode home together.  Full cyclist tan lines are in effect now and ended the day with over 65 miles total.

Sunday was something a bit different though.  We’d been planning all week on getting out on a hike.  We wanted to get Codi out for some sustained exercise, and make up for not taking him to California the other week.  I discovered the Elk Meadows hike in our 50 Hikes with Dogs Oregon edition.  Given the forecast it sounded like a good idea to get out of the metro area and perhaps get some slightly cooler temps.

Mia talked Laurel and Molly into joining us while Juston was down in Bend for a relay race, so we picked them up early (by Portland standards) and hit the road.

The hike starts not that far after Mt. Hood Meadows and is super easy to find.  It has a large dirt parking lot that will fit a fair bit of cars.

Start

The actual hike starts off nice and simple and fairly flat.  Crossing what looks to be some XC ski trails along the way.  Just as you hit the wilderness boundary you run into your first creek crossing (I still tend to call them streams).

Laurel and Codi

Being a hot day, and dogs being dogs, this also gave the 4 legged among us a chance for their first cooling off.

Mia!!!

Not too long after we ran across a small creek crossing which gave the pooches a chance to cool off too.  This would remain a theme for the rest of the day…..water, take a dip, repeat.

Cooling off…Codi and Molly took full advantage

The next obstacle was getting across Newton Creek.  All attempts to build a more permanent bridge have seen them all washed away.

Newton Creek, at just a trickle.

Notice the debris field all around us.  Given the lack of snow this past winter, the creek itself was fairly easy to get across on some small trees people had turned into a bridge.

Another chance to take a dip and play with a stick
Our bridge across

We also got a great view looking up towards Mt. Hood.

I just can’t get tired of views like this

Almost immediately after crossing Newton Creek you start a series of switchbacks that give you the most elevation gain at any give time during the whole hike.

We decided to head up the Bluegrass Ridge Trail and to the summit of Elk Mountain prior to hitting Elk Meadows.

This trail was a bit more overgrown and obviously doesn’t see the amount of traffic that the main trail out to the meadows does.

Up to Elk Mtn

This was a gentle climb that brought us to a nice viewpoint looking south towards Mt. Jefferson.

Forest fire, sometime not too long ago
Viewpoint

There must have been a fire tower here at some point too.  Some old pieces of metal, glass, and the supports for some cables still could be found.

Mt. Jefferson

From here it was hiking along the ridge through a burnt forest.  At times the trail was littered with blow-downs and getting up and over (or under) them slowed us a bit.  Awesome views of Hood though.

Mia and Hood

The gentle ascent to the top of Elk Mtn was kind of offset by a quick and often steep descent to Elk Meadows.  This proved to be the slowest section of the hike due to all the downed trees.

But then we were at the meadows.

18580819995_a79e0c9c59_zAnd Molly thought it was the perfect time to roll in the dirt

There were a couple campsites in the woods as we hiked the perimeter trail around the meadows.  We did not see the Elk Meadows Shelter though.  It must have been in the small section of trail we missed when we ascended Elk Mtn.

All in all, it was a great hike and I am glad 2/3 of the Manville Clan could join us.  I was also reminded that we really need to get out and hike around Hood more often.  There are so many cool trails with stellar views.  This one in particular had a good ROI on effort to views.

All the pics can be found…….here

Thanks for reading.

-Pete

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2 thoughts on “Elk Meadows and Mountain Hike

  1. I love all your hike recaps, if nothing else because I know so little about hiking around here (prob due to lack of car?) But yeah, your posts make me super excited for hiking:)

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