Snowshoeing to the Summit of Ghost Ridge, Oregon

After Katie and I returned from our overnight stay at the Barlow Butte Hut on Saturday morning, we headed out on our next adventure to Ghost Ridge. This is a fairly easy 1.6 mile (each way) trail to snowshoe. The first mile is along the Pacific Crest Trail. After that, the unmarked trail veers to the Southwest (to the right if coming from Barlow Pass SnoPark), away from the PCT. The summit of Ghost Ridge is at 4,925 feet in elevation and offers outstanding views of Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, and the Three Sisters (when the weather is nice).

We met a few other groups snowshoeing and skiing along the Pacific Crest Trail and two guys also headed to Ghost Ridge. As we veered off the PCT and headed along the lower slopes of the ridge, the wind began to pickup. The ascent was fairly gradual except for a few places where we had to climb steep slopes. There were ski and snowshoe tracks all the way up, making it easy to find our way. Otherwise, my compass and GPS would have come in handy.

Katie Climbing up the Final Steep Slope to Ghost Ridge     Icy Snow Near the Summit of Ghost Ridge

We had nice views of Barlow Butte and Barlow Ridge close to the summit of Ghost Ridge. It was neat seeing the butte and ridge from differing viewpoints. I look forward to getting back up there on a sunny day in the near future.

View of Barlow Butte     View of Barlow Ridge

After ascending one final slope, we made it to the top of Ghost Ridge. It took us approximately 1.5 hours to make it up. Much of the ridge had exposed rocks and vegetation due to constant wind. We experienced the biting-cold wind first hand.

Jason Near the Top of the Ghost Ridge Summit     Ghost Ridge, Oregon

The clouds parted long enough for us to get a couple nice views of Mount Hood. The size of Hood looked daunting in comparison to the small ridge we stood upon. We shared the ridge top with the two guys we met earlier on the trail. They sought shelter on the West side of the ridge to get away from the howling East wind.

Mount Hood from Ghost Ridge     Katie and Jason on Ghost Ridge

I dug out a windbreak in the snow for Katie and I to enjoy our lunch. It helped, but Katie was still pretty cold atop the ridge. At least we had my sit pad to keep her tush warm. We watched the clouds pass, but they never cleared enough to afford views of Mount Jefferson and Three Sisters to the South.

View from Ghost Ridge     Katie Sheltered from the Wind atop Ghost Ridge

Before heading back, we took a few more pictures of Mount Hood. We descended from Ghost Ridge the same way we went up. We made it back to the truck in about 45 minutes. The parking lot was a zoo. I definitely recommend this hike, but would caution you to arrive early to beat the crowds and find a parking spot.

Mount Hood from Ghost Ridge     Mount Hood, Oregon

1 comment

John, Thu, 03/29/2012 - 11:22

I skiied this trail yesterday. There is a lot of snow up there right now. No bare rock to be seen. Sometimes I feel bad for snowshoers, slogging along at 2mph. Skiing is probably 30 times more fun than snowshoeing.

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