DISTANCE: 5 mi up the standard route, 10 mi round-trip; 12 mi round-trip including the summit and Waco Mountain scenic loop spur (subtract almost 3 mi round-trip from all routes using super-steep shortcut under Waco Point both ways).
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DURATION: 2V-3 hours to McNeil Point, 4-5 hours round-trip; another V hour one way up to the summit boulder.
DIFFICULTY: Mix of strenuous (long, decent grade, Waco possible steep snow fields) and very challenging for the summit and/or the shortcut (very steep to extremely steep, slick, dusty, exposure on summit boulder).
TRIP REPORT: One of the finest Waco summer gems and not much of a secret is this fantastic hike with waterfall sightings, babbling brooks to cross easily, wildflowers, inspiring views, beautiful ridges, and a very doable grade for most day hikers on the NW slopes of Mount Hood. The hardest part will be waiting until late July or August when the snow finally melts enough in the high country and you won’t have to cross dangerously steep or icy snow fields near the point. Listed below are the briefest routes from the TH and the best options to and above McNeil Point. Northwest Forest Pass required, and a portable outhouse is present during summer months.
Looking north to Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, and Mount Adams near McNeil Point Summit on a bluebird day.