If you are looking for a beautiful, but long, day hike, then you should definitely take a trip to Paradise Park via Zigzag Canyon. It is not a huge secret that I am not the most trained hiker, but this was getting close to my max for a day hike. Round trip, it is a little over 12 miles.
The hike meanders through breathtaking vistas, wildflowers (July and August), waterfalls, picturesque meadows, and an amazing view of Mt. Hood.
We started the hike at the historic Timberline Lodge and followed the trail behind the lodge to the Timberline trail. The first mile or so is easy and takes you to the Zigzag canyon overlook. That said, we weren’t going to stop there, we just kept going…
We hiked down a steep slope into the canyon, crossed the stream from the glacier and then back up the other side of the canyon to get to Paradise Park. While walking up the steep slope I kept wondering if all this hiking was worth it. Once we reached Paradise Park the extra effort was definitely worth it.
I will say that the half-way point in the hike has some wonderful campsites that would make a relaxing two-day backpacking trip if the day hike seemed like a little much. I ended up only taking a few pictures, but the video I linked below shows the hike more in-depth.
This was one of those hikes where we just kept exclaiming how gorgeous it was. It certainly didn’t hurt that it was such a beautiful day. You will tell from the video though that by the end of the 12 miles, I was pretty wiped out.