hikes10-0609
Image: Katie Mills

Proof that Cooper Spur is worth the burn.

Mt. Hood

Ramona Falls

Hiking Trail

Hard Sure, geology was a snore back in college, but Ramona Falls proves the subject can be exhilarating out in the real world. Formed from a slab of columnar basalt, the 120-foot-wide cascade fans out like a giant bouquet of mossy toadstools draped in a shimmering, lacy sheet of water. The grueling 1,000-foot climb to the falls, which crosses a footbridge over the snowmelt-swollen Sandy River, tests hikers’ resolve each summer. But it doesn’t do much to deter crowds. Expect a packed house at Ramona’s showy display. —BMB

ROUND TRIP: 7 miles NEAREST TOWN: Zigzag DISTANCE FROM DOWNTOWN: 48 miles PACK: 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Portland; Green Trails Map No. 461; Northwest Forest Pass ($5)

Wildwood Recreation Area

Hiking Trail

Easy Four hikes depart from the trailhead, but the near mile-long Cascade Streamwatch Trail, with its underwater window built into a bank of the Salmon River, makes the biggest splash. In this open-air aquarium, steelhead and native trout wiggle upstream right before your eyes. —BMB

ROUND TRIP: 2 miles NEAREST TOWN: Welches DISTANCE FROM DOWNTOWN: 45 miles PACK: 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Portland; free maps at trailhead and Green Trails Map No. 461; $5 parking fee

Timothy Lake

Biking Trail

Easy Mountain bikers sweat. A lot. And this pristine 1,400-acre alpine reservoir is the perfect place to wash it away—after you’ve pedaled thirteen miles through the forest surrounding the lake. The smooth single-track and double-track road make this a lightning-fast ride, so don’t be surprised if you want to do it twice. A second time around means you’ll have an excuse to stop near the lake’s southern end and take in Hood’s hulking form hovering above the deep blue waters. —BMB

ROUND TRIP: 14 miles NEAREST TOWN: Government Camp DISTANCE FROM DOWNTOWN: 75 miles PACK: Mountain Biking Oregon; Green Trails Map No. 493

Salmon Butte

Hiking Trail

Hard Why this trail doesn’t see more boots is a bit of a mystery, though it may have something to do with the three-thousand-foot elevation gain. Ridgelines littered with pink rhododendrons (in bloom this month) and views of five volcanoes, as well as the Three Sisters, make this one of Hood’s hidden gems. And that’s to say nothing of the surrounding forty-five-thousand-acre Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, which, having never been touched by a chain saw, unfolds like an uncharted pine- wood ocean—one we’re quite happy to have all to ourselves. For now. —BMB

ROUND TRIP: 9 miles NEAREST TOWN: Welches DISTANCE FROM DOWNTOWN: 45 miles PACK: 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Portland; Green Trails Map No. 493; Northwest Forest Pass ($5)

Gunsight Ridge

Biking Trail

Hard Roller-coastering the spine of a rocky ridge in the shadow of Mount Hood’s imposing summit, this trail delivers the kind of ride single-trackers salivate over: technical, steep, and twisty, with plenty of spectacular vistas. The push to reach Gunsight’s high point is a tough 2,400-foot climb. But screaming legs and lungs get their due on a stomach-dropping descent that tears down the sharp-cornered Gumjuwac Saddle and continues beneath Lookout Mountain, where you’ll catch teasing glimpses of Badger Lake’s green waters some 1,000 feet below. —BMB

ROUND TRIP: 19 miles NEAREST TOWN: Government Camp DISTANCE FROM DOWNTOWN: 65 miles PACK: Mountain Biking Oregon; Green Trails Map No. 462; a jeep (for the rough road to the trailhead)

Cooper Spur

Hiking Trail

Hard This high-altitude adventure leads trekkers from Cloud Cap Campground to the foot of Mount Hood’s massive Eliot Glacier, where mountaineers toting ice axes and crampons start their technical climbs. The trip from 6,000 feet to your stopping point at 8,500 feet might leave you sucking wind, but the sight lines, which stretch beyond Hood’s treeless, moonlike upper reaches toward Mounts Rainier and Adams, are well worth the burn. An old stone climber’s shelter along the way makes a great place to catch your breath and watch as Adams’s snowy slopes are tinted pink by the setting sun. —BMB

ROUND TRIP: 7 miles NEAREST TOWN: Hood River DISTANCE FROM DOWNTOWN: 93 miles PACK: 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Portland; Green Trails No. 462; Northwest Forest Pass ($5)

Lookout Mountain

Hiking Trail

Moderate Each summer, the flanks of Lookout Mountain are draped in a vivid cloak of wildflowers, giving the peak the feel of a Technicolor fever dream. The showing is especially impressive in late June, when the slopes are crowded with the pink blooms of mountain shooting star, the white petals of marsh marigold, and the blue buds of Jacob’s ladder. A series of open meadows offers plenty of photo-op stops, but nothing outdoes the summit. At 6,500 feet, Lookout boasts 360-degree views of Oregon and Washington’s complete catalog of volcanoes, and Diamond Peak to boot, all flecked with flowers. Now that’s what we call “in living color.” —BMB

ROUND TRIP: 2 miles NEAREST TOWN: Hood River DISTANCE FROM DOWNTOWN: 77 miles PACK: Oregon’s Best Wildflower Hikes; Green Trails No. 462; Northwest Forest Pass ($5)