More ambitious trekkers will take on the 40-mile Timberline Trail, a 3–5-day backpacking trip usually started at Timberline Lodge. If you undertake this loop, you’ll finish up back at the lodge to cool off in the showers or swimming pool. While the alpine meadows on the Timberline Trail are beautiful, consult the rangers to see if water in the half-dozen creeks forded en route is too high during the June–July snowmelt season.
With almost two dozen trails branching off the Timberline, opportunities for shorter day-trip loop hikes abound. Most of the main trail follows the base of the mountain near the timberline at elevations of 5,000–7,000 feet.
On the northwest side, however, it drops to 3,000 feet and merges with the Pacific Crest Trail. This means that there’s snow on the trail most of the year. Make the trip in the early fall to avoid the crowds; in July and August the mountain meadows are ablaze with wildflowers.
Backpackers must camp at least 200 feet from water and 100 feet from any trail, mountain meadow, or obvious viewpoint.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel