In the Mt. Hood area, there are cross-country ski trails for all levels, from beginner to expert. (Photo credit: Andrea Johnson)
If you are looking for more predictable trails, check out Teacup Lake Nordic, which is groomed frequently.

I love downhill skiing as much as the next powder hound. The thrill of the steeps, bumps and tree skiing are a welcome annual adrenaline rush. But I look forward to cross-country skiing just as much. It’s a slower, social pastime and a great workout. In the Mt. Hood area, there are cross-country ski trails for all levels, from beginner to expert. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Eight Mile Creek Loop Trail
This 6-mile trail off of Highway 35 and Forest Service Road 44 is a popular mountain bike ride in the summer and an excellent ski trail in winter. The loop offers a gradual climb and tops out at the Five Mile Butte fire lookout, yielding great views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainer and Mt. Adams. This is a good trail for intermediate to experience skiers. Contact the Barlow Ranger District for information.

Trillium Lake Loop Trail
For a family- and beginner-friendly trail, this lake loop near Timberline Lodge can’t be beat. It’s 4.4 miles round-trip from the Trillium Sno-Park or 3.6 miles from the Trillium Access Hill. Other than the access hill (which beginners should walk down), this loop is relatively flat and scenic. It circles the petite lake, crosses a meadow and offers a lovely look at Mt. Hood. Contact the Zigzag Ranger District for more information.

Tilly Jane Trail
If you’re up for a challenge, the Tilly Jane Trail makes a great ski day. Gaining more than 2,000 feet, it will challenge your heart and lungs on the way up and your balance on the way down. The trail leaves the Tilly Jane Sno-Park and climbs through the trees to the Tilly Jane Guard Station and campground. About half a mile further, find the Cloud Cap Inn and Snowshoe Club Hut. For more information, contact the Hood River Ranger District.

The above routes are not maintained or groomed in winter, so conditions will vary. That’s part of the fun. If you are looking for more predictable trails, check out the Mt. Hood Meadows Nordic Center or nearby Teacup Lake Nordic, which are groomed frequently. Happy skiing!

about author Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

Flag as Incorrect

Is any of the information on this page incorrect?

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

Share your thoughts Comments

Have something to say? Your Comment

  1. Angela Riley says…

    Are there places where you can rent the cross-country ski/shoes etc. ? It is difficult to fly with the equipment coming from GA. Where can I find this info?

    Written on December 5th, 2013 / Flag this Comment
  2. Eileen Garvin says…

    Hi Angela! In Hood River, you can rent cross country skis and snow shoes at 2nd Wind Sports and Doug’s Sports. Up on Mt. Hood you can rent Nordic gear at Mt. Hood Meadows Nordic Center. Have fun!

    Written on December 9th, 2013 / Flag this Comment
Win a Pendleton Blanket


Subscribe to the Travel Oregon email newsletter and be entered to win a commemorative Crater Lake Pendleton Blanket.

Click here for terms and conditions.

You're almost there!
Click the link in the email we just sent you to confirm your subscription.

Hmm, something went wrong, please try later.