It was my 22nd trek in the last 20 years to the McNeil Point area in the Mt. Hood Wilderness. It should not come as a shock that it’s one of my all time favorite summer and early fall hikes. And, to add to the enjoyment, my favorite model joined me.
Beginning at the 4,000-foot Top Spur Trailhead, we quickly reached the Timberline Trail and soon entered the Mt. Hood Wilderness. Even though it was supposed to be a clear and sunny day, the clouds were stacked in. We were hoping the clouds would break allowing us the spectacular view of Mt. Hood towering over the fields of colorful wildflowers on the steep slopes of Bald Mountain.
But no, as we left the tree cover and entered the open slopes of Bald Mountain the clouds reduced visibility to several hundred yards. We continued the hike to the east side of Bald Mountain and began the 2 1/2 mile climb up a ridgecrest.
Now the sun began to break down the cloud cover. There were several spots on the ridgecrest that provided jaw-dropping views of the summit of Mt. Hood, the Muddy Fork Valley and Yocum Ridge. After reaching several tarns mostly covered in snow underneath 6,000-foot McNeil Point, we took a long break and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.
This has always been one of our favorite picnic spots in the summer, possibly the best in the Portland area. All in all the hike was 7.5 miles in length with 1,800 feet of elevation gain. A 10!