Mt Hood - Gnarl Ridge from Elk Meadows trail

Gnarl Ridge is a premier alpine hiking area on Mt Hood. It can be approached from the north (Cloud Cap or Tilly Jane), or from the south, from the Elk Meadows trailhead at Mt Hood Meadows. The former direction is shorter and with less elevation gain. The latter is thus a bit harder - it also has a potentially difficult crossing of Newton Creek. But it also has more variety, starting in a nice forest. The southern approach starts on the heavily forested Elk Meadows trail, then follows the short Gnarl Ridge trail, which really just accesses the lower part of the ridge. Then it ends on the Timberline Trail where you turn right and head up through drier forests

I like the open forested section of the hike on the Timberline Trail

Then all of the sudden you pop out on the ridge at about 6500' to this view, with the trees that the ridge is named after

Looking down at Newton Creek, which I crossed way down there a couple hours earlier, with the massive Newton-Clark ridge on the right

Higher on Gnarl Ridge, with Hood, the remnant Newton-Clark Glacier, and it's creek on this relatively warm day

Then the trail leaves the ridge and a short time later I take a short side trail to this wonderful flat basin for my lunch break - note my orange chair left center

Some of the alpine vegetation in the basin

This is the small leap I had to take over Newton Creek on my return - on the way up I was able to hop rocks easily a little downstream - those rocks were under water on my return trip