Ramona Falls is one of the classic hikes in Mount Hood National Forest. I think the Forest Service has said it is the most popular wilderness trail in the forest – and for good reason. It really encompasses so much that the area has to offer – views of Mount Hood, river crossings, changes in scenery, and the iconic Ramona Falls.
I have hiked Ramona falls before, and have a handy map if you want to hike yourself. However, it’s such a great hike that I set off again, with Hunter for, what would likely be an end-of-season hike. At least without having to put on more substantial rain/winter gear.
Crossing the Sandy
It has been a long dry summer on Mt. Hood. So the river crossing was unlikely to be an issue at any time of day. Indeed Sandy would have been easy to wade through at this point in the year. However, there was a good lesson in river crossings. Where the trail descends the embankment there is a log across the river. However this is a relatively high crossing and in reality, has quite some exposure – especially if the river was running a little higher.
Just a small distance upstream, was a much lower exposure crossing with a small set of logs together. While there were plenty of people crossing the high log, it’s often worth searching a little more to find the lowest exposure crossing. A lot of factors will go into this – but in this instance, Hunter and I sauntered across the easy crossing and continued on toward Ramona Falls.
Off to Ramona Falls
It’s not a difficult hike to Ramona Falls and from the river crossing to the falls itself is only about 2 miles with an elevation gain of around 800 feet. The total elevation gain for the hike is around 1000 feet. This was definitely a popular day to be out – lots of people on the trail and the area around Ramona Falls was quite busy.
I did meet a hiker there who was completing the complete Timberline Trail – hiking counter-clockwise he had about 13 miles left to go or so. After a brief chat, I informed him that it would be great if he could fill in the Timberline Trail survey. Next year I think I’ll bring some cards out with me so that I can hand them to hikers that I meet!
The traditional Timberline Trail is still closed – with the recommended alternate being the PCT up to Top Spur. Personally, I have always preferred this as a detour and it looks like it will continue for a while. The Timberline Trail is open to Yocum Ridge (which I really need to hike) and there have been a couple of people who have hiked through the blowdown area and reported that it’s still difficult to pass.
End of the Summer Season
For me, this hike likely marks the end of the summer season of hiking. It started a little late, with snow on many of the trails into early July, but extended well past the normal end-of-September mark and into October. Ramons Falls is always a great hike and today was no disappointment. Now to dig up the winter gear!