If you haven’t tried snowshoeing, a snowshoe trip on Mt. Hood is the perfect launching point into snow sports and a great way to enjoy winter. It’s good exercise, accessible, and a great way to socialize outdoors. Check out The Ultimate Guide to Beginner’s Snowshoeing here for everything you need to know to get started.
The Crosstown Trail is located in Government Camp, Oregon, at the base of Mt Hood, Oregon’s highest peak and part of the Cascade Range.
The trail is lightly trafficked and well-maintained. The 5.2 miles out and back trail runs parallel to Government Camp, skirting the residential cabin area with about 500′ elevation gain. This makes this ideal for a novice snowshoe trip with a few different access points and not too far from civilization.
The Crosstown Trail #755 can be accessed from either the Summit Pass Sno-park or the Glacier View Sno-park.
The trail meanders through a forest of evergreens with a few different creek crossings typically covered by snow bridges during the winter months. The trail offers views of Mt. Hood near the Summit Ski Area trailhead, and there is access to Enid Lake just 0.2 miles from Glacier View Sno-Park.
This out-and-back trail begins at 3819 at the junction of the Crosstown Trail and offers a steady incline as you head up the Glade Trail, which eventually terminates at Timberline Lodge.
The trail is in Mt Hood National Forest and is heavily used and shared by downhill skiers, backcountry alpine skiers, and snowshoe traffic. The best access point for snowshoeing is to park in Government Camp and walk up Blossom Trail Road to the trailhead.
The starting elevation is at 3819′ and ascends steadily. The first 2.4 miles is a wide swath of cleared trees in a straight shot up the mountainside. At points, there are expansive views of Mt. Hood on a clear day. You will reach the Timberline resort boundary at 5371′, which may be an ideal turnaround spot.
Alternatively, the option is to continue through the ski resort following the marked uphill route and end at the Historic Timberline Lodge. This adds another mile to your trek and the final elevation of 5945′.
This trail offers one of the most impressive views to be found anywhere near Mt. Hood, with Trillium Lake in the foreground.
There are a few options for snowshoeing, either out and back or a loop around the lake. Both are on wide roads close to cars during the winter, offering ample room for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and some sledding near the trailhead.
From the Trillium Lake Sno-Park, it’s about a 2-mile hike to the lake with an initial descent of 400′ that soon turns into a flat hike to the lake.
The turnaround spot of the out-back-hike is at 2 miles on the edge of the lake, where it opens up to a straight shot view of Mt. Hood. This is a great spot to break for lunch and take some photos. Beware, the lake often freezes over in the winter, enticing some to choose to go out on the ice.
There is always the risk of breaking through the ice. The loop around the lake trail is about 6 miles total and continues through the forest above the far side of the lake. It eventually opens into an expansive meadow (another great break spot) at a trail junction, marking your return to the Sno-Park.
Barlow Pass Loop
This historic site, dating back to 1845, lies on the Oregon Trail and marks the location where the Barlow Road crests the Cascade Mountain Range. If you are looking for a peaceful walk in the woods on a less populated trail, this is the one for you.
Depending on the day’s conditions, you may break trail as you meander through the woods, descending to a gully that follows some creeks and eventually opening up to a meadow area just before the Devil’s Half Acre Campground.
Access Barlow Road NF-3530 from the Barlow Pass Sno-Park. Follow Barlow Road NF-3530 about a tenth of a mile, taking a left at the junction of Barlow Butte Trail #670. Follow Barlow Butte Trail # 670 as it descends to the junction of Devil’s Half Acre Trailhead #482A.
Take Devil’s Half Acre trail as it follows Barlow Creek toward Devil’s Half Acre Meadow and Campground. From here, you connect back onto Barlow Road NF-3530 to complete the 3-mile loop back to the Sno-Park.
White River is another great spot for beginner snowshoeing and has one of the most spectacular views of Mt. Hood to be found on a clear day. You can access many terrain options here, from flat, wide-open spaces to river trails, forested trails, and more challenging ridge lines.
This is one of the more popular destinations on Mt. Hood, so be prepared for crowds that thin out as you continue up the trail. You can follow the river trail to the right or head up into the wooded ridge line area to the left.
You also have the option to blaze your trail heading up towards the mountain, so long as you stay between the river and the ridge line, there are no concerns of getting lost.
One of Oregon’s busiest trailheads, and for a good reason, as the view from Mirror Lake with Mt. Hood in the background is second to none. Winter is no exception, with equally impressive views on a clear day. Still, the crowds do thin somewhat in winter months, and the blanket of snow provides a quiet serenity even while sharing the space with a fellow snowshoe enthusiast.
The Mirror Lake #664 trailhead is an out-and-back trail accessed from the Ski Bowl West Sno-Park and ascends about 460 feet over 1.9 miles. Early on, you will cross a creek and then move into switchbacks, taking you through a densely forested area until reaching the lake.
The flat lakeside loop trail gives you an additional 0.4-mile stroll to take in the fantastic scenery and the opportunity to find the perfect photo.
This rustic hut was initially constructed 1938 as a warming hut for climbers and skiers. It is located at 7000 feet and a mile above Timberline Lodge, high on the slopes of Mt. Hood. These days, the hut is typically rented out for group events but still provides an excellent destination for some fantastic summit views.
As you climb, and on a clear day, there is an expansive view of the Cascade Range, including Mount Jefferson and The Three Sisters.
The snowshoe route up to the hut skirts the ski area’s boundary and is on a snow cat-groomed trail that heads straight up the mountain, gaining about 1100′ in elevation over the one-mile climb.
This groomed cat track trail begins just above the White Salmon parking lot and can be found by heading straight up the mountain, veering slightly to the left (towards Timberline Lodge) until you hit the trail. Then it’s a straight shot up the mountain until you get to Silcox Hut.
This trip makes for an excellent predawn snowshoe to enjoy the sunrise from the top of Oregon.
Our go-to app for trails worldwide is AllTrails (no affiliation). AllTrails is a mobile app and website that provides a comprehensive guide for outdoor enthusiasts interested in hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. It offers an extensive database of trail maps, including user-submitted reviews, photos, and detailed information about trail length, elevation gain, and difficulty level.
Users can search for trails based on their location, desired activity type, and difficulty preference. The app also provides features such as offline maps for use without cell service, trail conditions updates, and the ability to record one’s hiking routes. AllTrails aims to help users discover new outdoor adventures while providing tools to explore the natural world safely.
These local companies can help you with gear and equipment rentals:
Before you go:
It’s essential always to exercise caution and be prepared for winter weather conditions whenever you venture into the mountains. Be sure to check the weather and road conditions before heading out, and make sure you are prepared. Look at our Winter Driving Safety Tips & 16 Emergency Kit Ideas.
These snowshoe trips require a winter Sno-park pass for parking from November 1st through April 30th. Information on where to purchase them can be found here: