Started from Elk Meadow Trailhead and followed Newton Creek Trail up to the Timberline Trail. After Crossing Newton Creek I headed back down to Elk Meadow- followed the perimeter trail and soaked in the views of Mt. Hood before returning to the trailhead.
Beautiful day for a hike- sunny and clear skies. Although the parking lot had almost a dozen vehicles in it when I arrived I only encountered 1 other group the entire day. Temps were in the low 40s and it feels like winter is just around the corner. There was a light dusting of snow/ice in the shade and needle ice along the trail.
Went for a late afternoon hike up to Elk Meadows and Elk Mountain. Temps were perfect in the 70s and the sky was clear (except for the haze of smoke) when I started up trail around 1500. Wasn't paying proper attention to the trail at the Newton Creek Crossing and it took me a couple of minutes to find the trail on the far side of the river. Had I looked more carefully I would have spotted a much easier crossing as well.
Did the perimeter loop around the north side of Elk Meadows, snacking on ripe huckleberries as I went. Got a bit off trail on the climb from Elk Meadows up the to ridge. The trail climbs through a burnt area and there are tons of downed trees. I must have gotten off trail super early and ended up following another pear of boot tracks up the hillside until I rejoined the official trail. Despite following a ridge line that overlooks the Highway 35 corridor, the trail feels fairly remote- I don't think it sees much use outside the people who visit the meadow.
On the way back from Elk Mountain I followed the south portion of the perimeter trail to see the last little bit of meadow that I missed on the hike in. The sun was setting and the meadow looked spectacular in the late light. There are a couple of marked campsites that might make for a fun winter backpacking destination.
average hiking speed 2 mph
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.