A Mount Hood Delight: Umbrella Falls and Heather Meadows

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East side of Mt. Hood

Sunshine and blue skies were the order of the day as I put on my daypack. The 14,411-foot summit of Mt. Hood shined like a beacon in the early morning light.

I parked at the Elk Meadows Trailhead near the Meadows Ski Resort. After an ascent through forest for a little over two miles, I reached 60-foot Umbrella Falls, a pretty spreading angled slide. It was a very pleasant area with nice campsites nearby.

After taking a few pictures, I climbed another 1 1/2 miles to the Timberline Trail. I headed north for several miles through the open meadows covered with colorful wildflowers, especially old men of the mountain, paintbrush, fireweed, monkeyflower, goldenrod and lupine.

Soon the trail crossed above another pretty waterfall on the South Fork of Clark Creek. Now I was in Heather Meadows, and what a spectacular place it was.

I marveled at the scenery as the trail dropped into the vast canyon of the North Fork of Clark Creek. With some judicious boulder hopping, I reached the other side with dry feet. Then it was a goodly ascent up the ridge until reaching an overview of Newton Creek Canyon and Gnarl Ridge, with the Newton-Clark Glacier dominating the skyline.

Dropping down the steep ridge, I left the Timberline Trail behind and was back to the Trailhead in less than three miles.

A very nice hike indeed!

Early morning light on Mt. Hood


Fellow hikers fording South Fork of Clark Creek above a waterfall

Paintbrush and Fireweed

Large meadows near Umbrella Falls

Old Men of the Mountain and Sitka Mountain Ash

Your Humble Scribe in North Fork of Clark Creek Canyon

Umbrella Falls (from a previous year’s hike that had much better light for waterfall photos)



Categories: Mt. Hood Wilderness Hikes, Oregon CascadesTags: , ,


  1. Waterfalls have always inspired awe in me. The way they can wear smooth a jagged rock over time. There’s a moral in there somewhere. 🙂 Love the paintbrush flower, as well. So vivid.

  2. Great post. We hiked that same route 3 weeks ago and the wildflowers were out then too, along with a big bear! Lovely trail!

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