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Great Places To Hike Near Portland, Oregon – Ramona Falls Mt. Hood

Last week my husband and I packed up and headed for a date night in the mountains. Living in the Pacific Northwest we are surrounded by volcanoes, rivers, and plenty of mountains. I truly love living here and my husband and I plan to continue to explore our region. Having a date night in the mountains allowed us to go hiking. Something we like to do but with kids can’t always make happen.

Ramona Falls is unique in the fact that you can bring horses on the trail. The difficult 7.1-mile loop to the falls gains 1000 feet of elevation.You will be required to buy a Wilderness pass which costs $6 and can be picked up at a number of local store or ranger stations.

The trail is only open from April-October due to snow and it certainly was nice being right by the river, especially after the 4 mile hike up the mountain. Plus the views are spectacular.

What’s really unique about this hike is you can keep going past the falls and hike all the way up to Timberline Lodge. Ramona Falls has such a lovely shape because it cascades over the remnants of a columnar basalt lava flow.

When basalt lava cools slowly enough, it fractures into a hexagonal pattern perpendicular to the cooling surface. This hike is difficult but well worth it. Bring a backpack and have lunch up by the falls.

History: When Sam Barlow was pioneering a wagon route around Mt. Hood as an Oregon Trail shortcut in 1845, his group ran out of time, left their wagons on the east side of the mountain, and hiked past present-day Timberline Lodge and Ramona Falls in order to reach the safety of the Willamette Valley before winter set in. The pioneers who named the Sandy River thought its milky color was caused by sand. In fact the stream carries glacial silt-rock powdered by the weight of Mount Hood’s glaciers.

Trail time: My GPS clocked 8 miles which took a total of 3 1/2 hours up and down the mountain. It only took us an 1 1/2 hours to get down.


  1. Lisa Davis on July 26, 2011 at 1:53 am

    What a gorgeous waterfall! I have yet to visit Oregon but I plan to one day when my girls are older. My husband and I also like to hike and follow the many trails available to us on the California central coast – that used to be our favorite date activity but now we do things we can bring our girls to. We do mini hikes with them which is fun too, but I look forward to when they’re older and able to go on longer hikes with us 🙂

  2. Krista Swan on July 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I have heard such good things about that hike, but I haven’t done it yet. I’m adding it to my list!
    Thanks, Kristin!