Hikes in the Zigzag Ranger District (70220 U.S. 26 E., Zigzag, 541/666-0704 or 503/622-3191 from Portland) are an excellent introduction to the wealth of recreation options in the Mount Hood National Forest off U.S. 26. Whether you’re driving the whole Mount Hood Loop  (U.S. 26–Rte. 35–I-84) or just looking for a nice day trip from the Portland  area, the Zigzag District’s relatively low elevation and spectacular views of the state’s highest mountain can be enjoyed by neophyte hikers or trail-wise veterans.
If you’re coming in from the west, stop at the Mount Hood Information Center (65000 U.S. 26 E., Welches, 541/622-4822 or 888/622-4822, www.mthood.info ), located in the Mount Hood Village Resort on the south side of the highway. This facility will help you get your bearings with a wealth of pamphlets and an information desk. Pick up the free Forest Service flyer “Mount Hood Hikes.”