Timberline Trail, when combined with part of the Pacific Crest Trail makes up the 40 mile loop trail around Mt. Hood. Timberline Trail takes off at a sharp angle from the PCT and heads to Ramona Falls
. This popular waterfall is best visited on weekdays or earlier morning weekends. Just beyond the falls is the intersection with the Ramona Falls Trail. Bear to the right (northwest) and begin hiking up Yokum Ridge. At the ridgeline, you pass the intersection with Yokum Ridge Trail #771
on your right (east). Continue down the north side of Yokum Ridge into the Muddy Fork drainage.
The Muddy Fork section of the Timberline Trail used to be the PCT and older maps and guidebooks still refer to it as such. However, the erosion and windstorm blowdown issues in the loose unstable volcanic ash make keeping the trail stable and wide enough for equestrians (PCT standards) infeasible. Therefore, the PCT was relocated further downstream, and this section was labeled the Timberline Trail. This section of trail has some of the steepest and most unstable sideslopes.
Less than a mile past Yokum Ridge Trail #771
intersection, you begin crossing in and out of steep side drainages. These are where trail slides most often occur. If you arrive early in the season before trail maintenance occurs, be willing to detour back to the PCT. Crossing the Muddy Fork drainage is another challenge as there is no bridge. The river is braided over a 0.5 mile wide crossing. Utilize river safety crossing strategies in this area. The climb up Bald Mountain on the north side of the Muddy Fork is slightly steeper but does not slide out as often.
About 1.5 miles after crossing the Muddy Fork, you come to a 300 foot shortcut user trail that takes you to the ridgeline of Bald Mt on the section of Timberline Trail that takes you to McNeil Point. The shortcut connector used to be marked with a cairn, but signs may mark it now. If you skip the short cut, you soon get to the fabulous viewpoint of Mt. Hood from Bald Mountain
in a wildflower meadow. You then head to the intersection with the PCT. If you are headed towards, McNeil Point and want to see the Bald Mt. viewpoint, backtrack to the connector.