After spending four nights at Camp Creek on Mt. Hood, we said goodbye to our kids and dog and headed up the mountain for another short adventure.

McNeil Campground, Mt. Hood

McNeil Campground is one of the oldest campgrounds on the mountain. It is a very primitive campground with no water – it’s also the least expensive, at just $15.00 a night. We had driven through on an earlier trip as we always spend a bit of time scouting campgrounds in the area –  we were intrigued. Although it’s located just a few short miles from Camp Creek, the terrain is completely different. Instead of the lush temperate rain forest landscapes that are usually located on the western side of the mountain, McNeil is a sunny spot that meanders through scrubby forests of Lodgepole pines and Douglas firs. There is virtually no greenery on the ground – just moss covered boulders and Kinnickinnick (bearberry). I enjoyed sitting out watching the squirrels, and hummingbirds scuttle around.

There are no reservations available for this campground – first come first serve only. We were there on the holiday weekend though, and there were still only a handful of campers. We took spot 22, which in our opinion was one of the largest and most private in the camp. It was quite wonderful actually!

Site 22

Look at that beautiful blue sky!

Another benefit to McNeil is its close proximity to the hiking trails. We had planned a hike to Ramona Falls and the trailhead was just a few short miles up the road.

Hike up to Ramona Falls

Ramona Creek

Dappled sunlight

Lot of water moving over Little Zig Zag Falls

Walk along the way to Little Zig Zag Falls

Loved all the little bridges.

Tripod carrier and spider web clearer!

Along the Sandy River to Ramona Falls

A good view of Mt. Hood along the trail.

Wildflowers and rhodies along the way

Finally made it to the falls…Wow!

Overexposed, but shows you the scale…just how large it is!

The basalt columns that give the falls that lacy look.

The hike to the falls was amazing to say the least. Definitely one of the most scenic waterfalls I’ve ever seen! It’s an 8 mile hike round trip, but well worth it! Sadly, we arrived in the early afternoon when the sun was still high. It made good waterfall photos impossible! It gives me an excuse to go back…not too hard to find a gray day in the Pacific NW!

Return to camp

Our little Bambi at night…

If you’re ever in the area, here’s a great little place in Zig Zag to get a hearty breakfast or a piece of homemade boysenberry cobbler:

Great homemade food!