Sunday, June 28, 2009
Ramona Falls Review And Directions
My youngest son Chase and I just got back from a fantastic hike to
Ramona Falls Ramona Falls is by far the most popular trail on Mt Hood for many reasons. The 7.1 mile round trip is moderate and the scenery is magnificent especially when the Rhododendrons are blooming during late June and early July. This is probably the most moderate and enjoyable 7 miles you will experience on Mt Hood. Be prepared for heavy crowds during the peak months. The Ramona Falls trail is mountain bike and Horse friendly as well, so be prepared to share the trail.
A *note for first timers to the area: Be aware of the river crossing at approximately the one mile mark from the trail head. Look for a white sign on a tree that instructs you to go left to the river. Here's where you will cross the Muddy Fork of the Sandy River. The forest service places a well-constructed portable bridge every spring to aid hikers with the water crossing; usually around the third week in April. They will remove the bridge in the fall to prevent it from receiving storm damage.
After the river crossing you will cross the
Old Maid Flats a huge expanse of boulders and debris initially caused by a massive mudslide that occurred over 250 years ago. This area of Mt Hood is ever changing as the harsh winter storms play havoc on the landscape. A few more tenths of a mile will bring you to a junction where the hikers notification box is placed and also allows you the hiker to make a decision. You see, the Ramona falls hike is not only beautiful but it has the added bonus of offering a loop hike, which is always a plus in my book. Go straight which is the right fork to stay close with the Sandy River and to see more Rhododendrons or go left and take a trail that follows a meandering stream and be witness to grand cliffs and boulder fields. Either option offers great scenery and will take you to that ultimate goal which is the falls of course.
As the falls come into earshot you will have to pass through a horse corral of sorts and blockade that keeps those large equine away from the fragile plant life around the falls. Shrouded by the thick canopy of the forest above, the falls are in complete shade and typically it is considerably cooler in this area The falls themselves are a great spot for a picnic lunch or photography
Other hiking or backpacking options include: linking up with the Timberline trail which is the 42 mile loop that circumnavigates the mountain, or you may head up to Yocum Ridge or nearby Bald Mountain.
Getting there is quite simple really. From the town of Zig Zag Highway 26 Mt Hood turn on to East Lolo Pass Rd and drive exactly 4.2 miles turning right onto forest rd 1825 where you will cross the sandy river on a steel bridge. Go an additional 1.8 miles as you pass McNeil Campgrounds and the Riley Horse Camp signs respectively. As the road narrows to one lane keep to the left which is Forest road 100. Go an additional ½ mile to the huge gravel parking area for Ramona Falls. Recently the forest service has placed two nice clean portable toilets for you’re convenience. An additional note for travelers to this trail head is that a forest service permit or pass is required for parking. Get your daily $5.00 pass or a yearly one at any local forest service office; Fred Meyer has them as well. The parking area will not have a self-pay area that many of you may be used to.
Happy Hiking, Shawn..