Hike 15
The Mt. Hood National Forest
Paradise Park via Zig Zag Ridge Hike
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Map of the Zig Zag Canyon Ridge, Paradise Park Hike

Length: 13 miles round trip
Elevation Change: 3700' gain
Season: Early Spring thru Late Fall
Difficulty:   Difficult
Permit:   NW Forest Pass Required


 Click for PDF Topo Map of this Hike 

There are several trails that lead to Paradise Park on the western slope of Mt Hood. This particular hike travels what is known as the Paradise Park Trail. This is a long and steep hike. The hike is rather level for the first half mile before you begin to ascend climb along the side of a steep hillside within a dense forest.

In the first five (5) miles there are only a couple places where you have a view of the surrounding hills and valleys. At 4.5 miles you intersect Trail #775 to Burnt Lake. Then about a half mile later you intersect the Pacific Crest Trail #2000 and Timberline Trail #600. Cross this trail and continue uphill for another half mile and you will come to Trail #757 which is a loop trail for Paradise Park.

Cross this trail also and continue uphill toward Mt Hood. By now you are hiking in open meadows which in season are full of wildflowers. The trail gets very steep now and become difficult to follow as you reach a viewpoint at about 6600' in elevation. You are standing in front of Mississippi Head with Mt Hood looming behind. Below you are panoramic views reaching from Mt Jefferson to the south and Mt St Helens to the northwest.

One advantage to reaching Paradise Park via this route is if you choose to hike early in the summer you will be less exposed to left-over winter snows. Starting at 2900', you don't usually find snow until the 5000' level and just a short walk to Paradise Park. However, if you begin at Timberline Lodge, you are already at 6000' and will walk on snow almost the entire distance.

The trail up Zig Zag Canyon Ridge to Paradise Park
How to get there:

 Click for PDF Directions Map of this Hike 

Follow US 26 about 4 miles east of Rhododendron to Road 2639, marked by a sign indicating the Kiwanis Camp. Turn left onto this paved road and follow it for about a mile. Turn left on Forest Road 021 which crosses a wooden bridge and brings you to a designated campground. The trailhead is on your left in the middle of this camp area.

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