So you're aching to experience the wonders of the Timberline Trail, but can't take a week off work to backpack its full length? No problem, because a weekend traverse is totally doable if you're willing to work in 20-mile days.
Not that hardcore? Yeah, me neither. Luckily for you, there's a ton of ways to see the best parts of the trek without a 40-mile commitment.
To See Gnarly Waterfalls begin at Ramona Falls Trailhead, just over an hour from Portland. Follow Trail #797 for about a mile. Cross the Sandy River with extreme caution. Keep following the Sandy toward Ramona Falls for about 2.5 miles and you'll come across the 120-foot waterfall, a cascade of crystal-clear water over a wall made of broken, hexagonal basalt. Or, if you find the leeward side of the mountain more enticing, go check out Wallalute Falls, a nearly 200-foot waterfall that, because of the Forest Service's new route over Eliot Creek, is a lot easier to see!
Start at Cloud Cap Saddle Campground, about an hour and 20 minutes south of Hood River, and follow Trail #600, aka the Timberline Trail, down toward Eliot Creek. Cross the creek and continue on the trail a few hundred feet for a spectacular view of the peculiar waterfall.
To Trot Through Wildflower Meadows follow the Timberline Trail (#600) east for 5.5 miles from Cloud Cap Saddle, crossing White River and arriving at Mount Hood Meadows, where ski lifts sit idle in the summer and flowers remain abundant through September.
Or, for a more challenging route, head the other way, following the Timberline Trail west to Paradise Park. This secluded expanse offers stunning views of the mountain as well as tons of spots to break for lunch, buzzing bees and hummingbirds feasting on nectar.
To Jaunt to Jaw-Dropping Views head to Top Spur Trailhead and hike just a mile to Bald Mountain. This quick trip offers views of Muddy Fork below a picturesque Mount Hood. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, attempt Lamberson Spur on the east side of the mountain.
Start at Cloud Cap campground and head south along the Timberline Trail for about 2 miles. This rocky, treeless terrain offers amazing views of the Cascade Volcanoes to the north, as well as the Columbia River, and the deserts of Oregon and Washington to the east.