HIGHLIGHTS: Located twenty miles east of the city of Portland, Oregon, and the northern Willamette River valley, the Mt. Hood National Forest extends south from the strikingly beautiful Columbia River Gorge across more than sixty miles of forested mountains, lakes and streams to Olallie Scenic Area, a high lake basin under the slopes of Mt. Jefferson.
The Cascade Range Forest Reserve was established in 1893, and divided into several National Forests in 1908, when the northern portion was merged with the Bull Run Reserve (city watershed) and named Oregon National Forest. The name was changed again to Mt. Hood National Forest in 1924.
There are 189,200 acres of designated wilderness on the Forest. The largest is the Mt. Hood Wilderness, which includes the mountain’s peak and upper slopes. Others are Badger Creek, Salmon-Huckleberry, Hatfield, and Bull-of-the-Woods. Olallie Scenic Area is a lightly-roaded lake basin that provides a primitive recreational experience.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) cuts through the Mt. Hood National Forest and it shares a name with the Timberline Trail #600 near Timberline Lodge. We hiked this trail and camped near the base of Mount Hood next to the PCT. It’s a fairly easy hike out and back and makes for a good day or overnight hike. Many long distance hikers highly recommend this section of the PCT which extends up to Snowqualmie Pass in Washington.