I’ve been wanting to hike on Mt Hood since we arrived in Oregon a few weeks ago. Our previous hike, though had great view of Mt Hood, weren’t on Mt Hood. A hike to Zigzag Canyon Overlook provided a perfect opportunity on a relatively warm day in town.
Trail to Zigzag Canyon Overlook starts from Timberline Lodge which is located at the end of Timberline Hwy near Government Camp in Mt Hood National Forest. We parked at an overflow parking lot. We walked up the road and onto a paved path to the junction of Pacific Crest Trail that runs just above the lodge. I remembered there used to be a sign at the junction but it wasn’t there when we walked past the trailhead. Fortunately, I had downloaded the trail map on Gaia App, so it was easy to get back on the it.
We have been using Gaia App when we hiked and found it to be extremely useful. I downloaded the map in advance for off-line use so that the map worked without cellular signals. The built-in GPS in the phone can pin-point where we are on the trail, no guessing involved. It’s essential for unfamiliar trails.
The first part of the trail was through a ski area. Mt Jefferson was prominent in the south. Mt Hood was on our right. The trail had a clear signage. Follow the trail to Paradise Park. Next we came to a sign-in station for Mt Hood Wilderness.
The trail to Zigzag Canyon Overlook is mostly descending so you will hike back up to the trailhead. There was no shortage of great views of Mt Hood and surrounding mountains on this hike. It’s a good day to escape from heat of the lower elevation.
After about 2.5 miles, we were at the edge of Zigzag Canyon. During this hike we crossed several creeks and a small canyon but nothing compared to the size of Zigzag Canyon. It was an impressive sight. We could clearly hear the sound of a stream below. We took a lunch break and enjoyed the view before heading back. There were about 3-4 groups of hikers through this spot while we were there. It wasn’t crowded at all.
- Date hiked: July 29, 2016
- Hiking time: 3h
- Distance: Approx. 5.25 mi round-trip (out and back) including walking from parking lot to trailhead
- Elevation change: Approx. 1200 ft loss and gain
- Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead