- Written by Emilio Trampuz
- Category: Mount Hood Sidecountry
- Last Updated: March 22, 2018
The Lower Region
The lower region consists of the three historic trails all of which end up in Government Camp, so you need to have transportation back to Timberline.
The Blossom Trail
Blossom Trail is perhaps the oldest of Mount Hood's historic ski trails, dating to 1888 or earlier. It started at the old Timberline cabin and then meandered through the forest down to Government Camp, ending at what is today known as Meldrum Street, which is the same place where the Glade Tail ends. A large part of the Blossom trail is located in the trees between the Glade and Alpine trails, but lower down the Blossom and Glade trails get closer and closer and merge in places.
On a 1941 Forest Service map of Mt. Hood, the Blossom trail was marked "For expert skiers only.” The oldest trail markers on this trail were triangular and relatively small (less than a foot wide). Over the years, these markers have largely disappeared (only a very few remain), and the trail was almost forgotten.
Interestingly, the name survived better than the trail. The slow two-seater chairlift that preceded the Stormin' Norman Express was called the Blossom chairlift. The trail today known as the Paintbrush trail was called the Blossom trail. And the street in Government Camp where this trail finally ends up is still called the Blossom Trail Road.
Around 2008 - 2010, Mike Cullen (a Timberline Ski Host) and his wife Holly (daughter of famous ski patroller Corky Kosko) spent a couple of summers reviving the Blossom trail. They carried a ladder all along the trail in the summer, climbed up about 15 - 20 feet (to make sure the signs would be above the snow level), and placed small metal violet-colored rectangular signs with the letter B cut out of the metal.
Since 2010, Mike Cullen has led people down this trail, and there are several people who have continued skiing this trail every chance they get. Here is a group of us enjoying the Blossom Trail during a recent excursion:
The Glade Trail
Glade Trail is the most famous trail connecting Timberline and Government Camp. It was built by the US Forest Service in 1937 as part of the Timberline Lodge ski complex. The trail is marked with large orange signs with the letter G for "Glade". It starts at the top of the Jeff Flood express and stretches diagonally down in a straight line, crosses the Kruser trail (going out of bounds there) and continues toward Government Camp, emerging onto Blossom Trail Road, which then turns into Meldrum Road, between Huckleberry Inn and Cascade Lodge, and right next to the General Store. This is the easiest of the 3 trails.
In an effort to continue the old tradition of Trail skiing, the Mt. Hood Museum in Government Camp organizes an annual "Ski the Glade Trail Day" the first Saturday in March. That is the only day of the year when the glade trail is groomed and ski patrollers are present to provide assistance if needed. Shuttle buses are also provided between Government Camp and Timberline, so everyone who signs up for the event can ski the Glade Trail multiple times.
Also, there is nothing to stop more adventurous and advanced skiers from trying the Blossom trail on this same day, keeping in mind that the Blossom trail is never groomed and is not patrolled.
The Alpine Trail
Alpine Trail starts at Timberline Lodge. Start by heading diagonally down and westward on the Thunder trail, and when the Thunder trail turns left, exit it on the right side and continue in the same direction. At the point where you leave the Thunder trail, you will notice the first official sign marking the trail as the Alpine trail.
Follow the trail to the bottom of the Stormin' Norman lift. Before Timberline expanded its terrain with the addition of the Jeff Flood Express, the bottom of the Stormin' Norman lift was the end of the ski area. Locals would duck under the rope here at the end of the day in order to ski the Alpine Trail all the way home to Government Camp.
Today, there is no rope, and you can ski on a groomed trail down to the Kruser trail. As soon as you merge with the Kruser trail, look for an exit on the right side of the trail. You'll find one of the official gates, warning you that you are now leaving the ski area. From here, simply follow the wide open trail on ungroomed snow all the way down to the Summit ski area on the upper end of Government Camp. Along the way, you might see large orange signs with the letter A for "Alpine" showing you the way.
The Alpine trail is more interesting and more challenging than the Glade Trail. It offers some good riding until you get close to the level of the Summit Ski area. At that point, there is a long flat area, maybe about a quarter of a mile, where you will barely crawl along and perhaps need a push every now and then, until you emerge onto the Summit ski area, where you can ski down on an easy intermediate groomed run.