We were looking for a hike on the east side of Mt Hood. David came across Lookout Mountain Trail which is near Hwy 35. Lookout Mountain summit could be accessed from several trailheads. We took the High Prairie Trail because it involved less elevation gain. However, getting to the trailhead required driving on a gravel road.
The trailhead is on National Forest Development Road 4420, a well-maintained gravel road. High Prairie Trail is connected by Divide Trail near the summit of Lookout Mountain to form a loop. So this hike could be done as a loop trail and that was what we did.
This hike was quite easy, about 4 mile round trip with 630 feet of elevation gain and loss. The trail had good footing and there was no section with steep slope. We did the hike clockwise by starting on the east section and returned through the west section. The High Prairie Trail bEgan with a level hike through the meadows for about a half mile. After the meadows section, the trail started climbing. About a mile later, we were at Divide Trail junction. There was a short spur trail going up to a view point from where Mt Adams and Mt Rainier could be seen in the north, Mt Jefferson in the south, and Mt Hood right in front of us.
After enjoying the view point, we continued up the summit of Lookout Mountain. The wildflowers were in full display when we took this hike. From the summit, we could see Mt Hood, Mt Jefferson, Mt Adams, Mt Rainier, and Mt Saint Helens. It was a perfect day for a summit hike.
There were 4 other hikers at the summit when we arrived. After we finished our lunch, everyone had left. So we had the summit to ourselves almost an entire time.
We returned to the trailhead by continuing east on the Divide Trail until getting to a junction where the west section of High Prairie Trail joined the Divide Trail. This section of the trail runs along the west slope of the mountain with many great view of Mt Hood.
Note: The summit of Lookout Mountain could also be accessed from a trailhead starting from Hwy 35 but it requires climbing more elevation.
- Date hiked: July 23, 2016
- Hiking time: 3h 34min
- Distance: Approx. 4 mi round-trip (loop) from High Prairie trailhead
- Elevation change: 630 ft gain
- Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead