Love Snow? Here Are Bark's Favorite Snow Hikes


Dear Barkers,

A huge reason I joined Bark in 2017  was to go play (and work!)  in the forest as much as possible. That can be twice as fun when there's snow on the ground. So, I asked around the office for some of our staff's favorite spots to go this time of year. Maybe you've never been to Mt. Hood or maybe you  already know every place on the list. Either way, I hope you get a chance to do some adventuring this season!  If hiking isn't your thing, these can also be some great scenic areas to get a breath of fresh air from your car, snap  some nice photos, or have a wintery tailgate  picnic with a hot thermos and your loved ones.

Last week, I joined Bark volunteers to do some Groundtruthing in the Polallie Cooper Timber Sale, which is close to hike #2 on the list below. It was a whole other world on snowshoes  atop a foot or two of fresh  powder. I've Groundtruthed at least a dozen times, but never with the extra perks of seeing so many animal tracks on the snowy  ground. The tracks reminded me about the incredible beings I get to share the forest with and encouraged me to keep protecting these spaces for all of us to enjoy.

Our favorite Mt. Hood wintertime hikes:

1. Horseshoe Ridge trail: From the Sandy River bridge off Lolo Pass Road, walk to the Riley Horse Camp in Old Maid Flat, a geologically unique area influenced by the last eruption of Mt. Hood back in the 1700s. The trail from there passes through old growth forest, runs past a recent burn, and then through the units of the now-cancelled Horseshoe Timber Sale. 

2. Tamanawas Falls: This trail runs through beautiful old forest along Cold Spring Creek starting at the Sherwood Trailhead on Highway 35. The falls at the end of the trail are the most beautiful in the winter when they are partially frozen. This trail is just south of the Polallie Cooper Timber Sale which Bark has been fighting for years.

3. Devil's Half Acre: Starting at Barlow Pass off Highway 35, the trail to the Devil's Half Acre Meadow almost always guarantees deep snow for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.  Those interested in learning wildlife tracking in the snow should bring along Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest by David Moskowitz.

4. Alder Flat: Beginning at the trailhead off Highway 224 just before the Ripplebrook store, this trail passes views of an old beaver lodge, spectacular low-elevation old growth forest, and ends at the Clackamas River. While you're there, pop over across the road from the trailhead to view a unit of the recently approved Grove Timber Sale.

5. Salmon River trail: This trail which runs adjacent to the Salmon River wilderness includes some of the lushest old growth forest near Portland. The Salmon River road which accesses it was built in a last-ditch attempt by the timber industry to open the surrounding area up to logging before it received federal protections under the Wilderness Act. The very end of this road includes a road-to-trail conversion which Bark advocated for over a decade ago and showcases what is possible when old logging roads are restored and transformed into hiking trails.

Many thanks to the generations of people who have kept these  areas healthy and to all of you for being a part of Bark's work to continue these vital efforts.


Julie's photo & signature

Julie Oatfield
Outreach Team Member & Volunteer

P.S. Think this list looks awesome but don't have a way to get out to the forest? I don't have a car, so I know the feeling! Bark organizes a free guided hike each month via carpool from the Hollywood Grocery Outlet in NE Portland. 

We're also holding a hike leader training in May. If you have some favorite spots that aren't on this list, becoming a hike leader would be a great way to share them with our community. 

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