Hike 34
The Mt. Hood National Forest
Elk Meadows via Newton Creek Hike
Search Northern Hikes Mt Hood Hikes Eastside Hikes Central Hikes Southern Hikes
Home Page
Main Map

Click to view product details

Map of the Elk Meadows Hike

Length: 6.2 miles round trip
Elevation Change: 1200' gain
Season: Summer thru Fall
Difficulty:   Moderate
Permit:   NW Forest Pass Required


 Click for PDF Topo Map of this Hike 

The Elk Meadows Hike is an enjoyable summer hike with outstanding views and floral displays. The hike begins near the Mt Hood Meadows Sno Park area and travels level for nearly the first mile. During this part of the hike you will cross several small streams. As you enter the Mt Hood Wilderness, you will cross Clark Creek on a fine Forest Service provided bridge.

Then you come to the most difficult part of the hike which is crossing Newton Creek. The water is fast and depending on the time of year or current weather conditions, the water can vary greatly in depth. Use caution crossing. After reaching the north side of the creek, the trail climbs vigorously for about a half mile through a series of 9 switchbacks. At the top of the ridge, the trail intersects the trail to Bluegrass Ridge #647 and Gnarl Ridge #652. Continue straight ahead, you will come to Elk Meadows.

When you get to Elk Meadows, you will have to turn left or right and follow the trail around the meadows. For some reason I always go right. Now you will have outstanding views of the meadow and of Mt Hood as you circle the meadow on this perimeter trail. Half way around the meadow you come to the junction of your Trail #645 and Trail 645A, which you need to follow to complete the loop around the meadow. However, just a few feet past this junction you can take a small spur trail which goes into the very center of the meadow. This short walk is worth its weight in gold regardless of the season.

Upon return to Trail #645A, proceed to your left and follow the trail back to the point where you arrived at Elk Meadows and retrace your steps back to the trail head where you began.

Shelter in the middle of Elk Meadows
How to get there:

 Click for PDF Directions Map of this Hike 

Follow Oregon Hwy 35 south of Hood River or north from Hwy 26 near Government Camp until you come to Road 3545 just a mile or so north of the turnoff to the Mt Hood Meadows Ski Resort. Turn on this short access road for about a half mile and the trailhead is on the north side along with the parking space.

Note: This is the same trailhead for the Mt. Hood Meadows Loop hike, the Elk Meadows hike, the Newton Creek Loop hike and the Lamberson Butte/Gnarl Ridge hike.

Hike Difficulty Calculator

Calorie Burn Calculator

The 10 Essentials
Bear Encounters

Cougar Encounters

River Crossing Safety
A Virtual Hike of the Mount Hood National Forest

Click to View Instructions