Directions: Take Highway 26 East past Government Camp to the junction with Highway 35. Follow Highway 35 for about 8 miles until you see a sign for Hood River Meadows. Take a left here and follow the road a short distance to the Elk Meadow Trailhead on the right shoulder of the road.
We did this hike this weekend when the wildfire smoke was really bad. We couldn’t see Mt. Hood at all and and could barely see any of the views down into the meadows. It was still a very nice hike though.
From the trailhead you’ll start hiking on the Elk Meadow trail for a little over a quarter mile until you reach the junction with the Umbrella Falls trail. You’ll be taking a left onto the Umbrella Falls trail, it’s well signed. Follow this trail through a small meadow (we saw a cute little deer having breakfast here) and then the trail starts to climb a bluff. As you climb you’ll start getting views down into the meadows below and you’ll pass under ski lifts. The trail has two switchbacks that take you up to a meadow with wildflowers. You keep climbing as the trail skirts around a meadow and you would normally have views of the tip of Mt. Hood (we didn’t have any due to the smoke). As you pass between meadows and forested areas you will pass a few small streams.
After about a mile and a half you’ll come to a junction with Sahalie Falls. The trail levels out here as you stay right for Umbrella Falls, it’s a little over a quarter mile away. There are lots of nice areas for pictures and to sit and have lunch, or relax. This year the water level was a lot lower but the waterfall was still very pretty.
When you are ready just head back out the way you came in.
Distance: 4 miles
Elevation: 800 feet
Pet Friendly: Yes
Good For: All ages
Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass
Seasons: Late spring through fall.
Overall: Very scenic hike to a unique waterfall.