hike: Mount Hood – McNeil Point

McNeil Point, located on the northwest side of Mount Hood, is a subalpine and alpine area filled with meadows and great views of the mountain and surrounding ridges.

distance: 8.25 miles
elevation gain: 2,000 ft.
hike description: OregonHikers.org – McNeil Point
drive time from Portland: 1 hour 15 minutes
parking pass: NW Forest Pass

While camping at Lost Creek campground last week, my husband and I hiked to a ridge on the trail to McNeil Point. It was hot and the bugs were annoying, especially the flies, but we only got a couple of bites. From the campground, it’s about a 9 mile drive to the Top Spur trailhead. I was expecting fewer cars at the trailhead in the middle of the week, but it is summer and prime time to be in the mountains.

The Top Spur section of trail is just as rooty as ever, maybe more. I’m always happy to be finished with this 1/2 mile section.

I hadn’t done this hike since the 2020 wind storm that knocked down hundreds of trees. The forested section on the Timberline Trail took a big hit, but thanks to the many volunteers that repaired the trail, there are no more blow downs to climb over.

The first two miles of this trail doesn’t look anything like the cathedral forest that it used to be. But it doesn’t take long to get past this section and the rest of the hike looks much as it did before, including the stark “ghost forest”.

Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike

The open meadows on the side of Bald Mountain Ridge are always a welcome respite from the steep forested hike. Mount Hood was visible all day, unlike on other times I’ve done this hike.

Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike

As we neared the subalpine section of the hike, creeks were still running with lots of water. Wildflowers were sparse until we reached the open meadow areas and creek crossings… then they were in abundance, with lots of lupines, paintbrush, asters, and more.

Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike

The tarns are one of my favorite parts of this hike. One still had water, but the rest were dry. Bright green grass lined the edges of the tarns, and wildflowers were thick in the meadows.

Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike

Glisan Creek looked as fine as I’ve ever seen it…

Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike

We stopped on a ridge about 1/2 mile before the shelter and I’m glad we did… I love this ridge and enjoyed spending more time there.

Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike

Selfie with trail dirt on our faces…

Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike

After a long break, we turned around for the hike out, stopping to take in more of the wildflowers.

Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike

Last look at Hood on the hike out.

Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike Mount Hood – McNeal Point hike