Round the Mountain is Back!

Join the annual Mazama Labor Day Tradition!

Round-the-Mountain (RTM) is back and better than ever in 2024. Join us Labor Day Weekend (Aug. 30-Sept. 2), as we set out from our base camp at Mazama Lodge each day for a 13 to 14-mile adventure. We carry only day packs, because each night we return to the lodge for great food, hot showers, a cozy bunk, and stories from your day on the trail. Your adventure includes all meals and dorm lodging. Shuttle vans will transport you from our meeting place in Portland to Mazama Lodge, as well as to/from the trailhead each day.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND ROUND THE MOUNTAIN?

You don’t need to be a 20-year old super athlete to do well on this 40-mile, 3-day hike. However, you should be well aware that this is a strenuous and challenging event that requires your commitment and preparation.  Expect these challenges:

Distance: About 13 miles each day
Duration: 3 consecutive days of challenging hikes
Elevation Gain/Loss: 3,000–4,000 vertical feet daily
Terrain: Uneven terrain, steep inclines and descents, water and snow crossings
Pace: Choose the team that fits your hiking speed

If you are up to the challenge, our volunteer hike leaders are ready to help you achieve this dream, all while enjoying amazing views you can only get on foot from the trail. Be prepared to work, but be prepared to be WOW’d!

RTM 2024

On the evening of Friday, August 30 we will gather at Mazama Lodge, our mountain home for three nights. We will then meet our teams, and with those teams we will hike three Timberline Trail segments around Mt Hood over the following three days, returning to Portland in the late afternoon on Monday, September 2. Three teams will hike clockwise around Mt. Hood, while three teams will hike counter-clockwise around the mountain.

  • Cloud Cap to or from Top Spur (north side of Mt Hood): 12.3 miles, 3,743 feet up in one direction, 1,808 feet up in the other direction
  • Cloud Cap to or from Timberline (southeast side of Mt Hood): 13.6 miles, 3,694 feet up in one direction, 3,619 feet up in the other direction
  • Ramona Falls to or from Timberline (southwest side of Mt Hood):  11.4 miles, 4,741 feet up in one direction, 1,224 feet up in the other direction

The main hazard on the Timberline Trail is stream crossings, as there are no bridges. The streams are generally easier to ford by Labor Day. It's possible to cross the many streams without getting feet wet.

Each team of 10 will be co-led by two volunteer hike leaders. Hike leaders will drive their team to each morning's trailhead, swapping keys along the way with the team hiking in the other direction. When the day's destination is reached, the team will hop in the waiting vehicle for the trip back to Mazama Lodge. You can drive your own vehicle to Mazama Lodge, but for those for whom Portland is a more convenient starting/ending point, transportation will be offered to/from Mazamas, 527 SE 43rd Avenue, on Friday afternoon and Monday afternoon.

Mazama Lodge offers a common space that's warm and inviting. In the great room, we'll gather for meals and RTM team meetings. All meals will be included between Friday dinner and Monday post-hike snack; we will self-assemble lunches every morning. The lodge offers bunks with a large co-ed bunk room and smaller men-only and women-only bunk rooms. There is also the possibility to sleep outside on the deck or in a tent. Bring a sleeping bag or blanket, as it's chilly year-round in the bunk rooms. The lodge offers wifi and a game room.

Weather is one variable we can't control. Past RTM days have featured cold rain, extreme heat, heavy smoke, and/or strong winds. But the weather tends toward beautiful in September, and teams will be happy to stop for those who want photos.

Sample Schedule

  • Friday: Travel from the Mazama Mountaineering Center to the Mazama Lodge, leaving around 4 p.m. That evening is spent getting together with hiking teams, enjoying appetizers and dinner, and in getting to know each other before the big event. An orientation of the next few days adventure will be laid out for you.

  • Saturday: Breakfast is each day at 6 a.m., pack a sack lunch and be on the way to the trailhead around 7 a.m. Spend the day hiking and return to the lodge for celebration of the day's exploration while enjoying a delicious dinner and cozy lodge ambiance.

  • Sunday: Spend the day hiking the second section of the mountain with your group. Return to the lodge for relaxation and a hearty dinner while sharing stories of the previous couple days of adventure.

  • Monday: The conclusion of your adventure! Spend the day trekking the last portion around the mountain, return to the lodge (5–6 p.m.) and set off for home after a well-deserved break and refreshments.

Route Description

Below is the intended route. Be aware that the route may change due to unforeseen conditions after the snow melt. Groups may be heading in opposite directions so the route may be reversed depending on which end you start.

Timberline Lodge to Ramona Falls 

From the Timberline Lodge head west, climb uphill to the Timberline Trail and make a brief descent into Little Zigzag Canyon. Arrive at the ZigZag Canyon overlook which includes views of Paradise Park, across the canyon, and rugged Mississippi Head. From here, the trail quickly descends a cool, forested slope for one mile to the bottom of Zigzag River crossing. The route will traverse across the alpine meadows of Paradise Park and reconnect with the Timberline Trail dropping 2,000 ft. down to cross the Sandy River. This is one of the more challenging stream crossings around Mt. Hood and we will most likely have to wade or use a rope as a handline while making our way across. After reaching Ramona Falls, the route will exit via the Ramona Falls Trail and our waiting van. Appx. 14 miles

Top Spur to Cloud Cap

Starting out at the Top Spur Trailhead the route will skirt around Bald Mountain for the astounding views of Mt. Hood and then quickly reconnect with the Timberline Trail. We will wander along towards McNeil Point trail (a possible side-trip) and then into Cairn Basin. On this, the north side of Mt. Hood, we do cross several additional glacier rivers and are treated to late wildflower bloom displays. This section now includes the reroute of the long-closed area near the snout of the Elliot Glacier. Appx. 14 miles

Cloud Cap to Timberline Lodge

Begin at the Cloud Cap Trailhead. The route will cross the east side slope of Mt. Hood as it continues to gain elevation to the Timberline Trail high point at 7,300 ft. The trail then follows the top of Gnarl Ridge with excellent views. Continue on the challenging crossing of Newton Creek and a somewhat challenging crossing of the Clark Creek. Push onward through Meadows Ski Area ending up at Timberline Lodge and the waiting van. Appx. 14 miles

RTM Refund Policy

  • All cancellations are subject to a $50 cancellation fee
  • Cancellations made 30 days before the activity begins are subject to $100 cancellation fee.
  • Cancellations made between 29 days and 10 days before the activity begins will receive a 50% refund if we are able to fill your spot.
  • Cancellations made less than 10 days before the activity begins will not receive a refund.
  • Cancellations due to medical issues will be considered on a case by case basis and will require a doctor’s notification to be considered.