[/caption] The easiest and shortest drive to get an amazing view of Mt. Hood is the Crosstown snow park trail. The snow park is before you even get to the west Mt. Hood ski Bowl parking lot off of Hwy 26 and the trek to Enid Lake is only about 1/4 mile from the parking lot. The only drawback from this snow park is that Enid Lake is one of the only viewpoints that you can get of Mt. Hood. Unfortunately, the rest of the snow park is buried in towering trees and you won’t have much luck getting a view of the summit unless you hike your way towards the summit. There aren’t any designated viewpoints and I’ve spent several hours trying to find a viewpoint without any luck. However, you can find them but you just have to be adventurous and make sure you have a compass so you don’t get lost. And trust me, you will probably get lost during some part of you trek. I took this photo of Mt. Hood while standing on the other side of Enid Lake. The lake was completely frozen and covered by 5 feet of snow. Even though you’re only a short distance from the Hwy and Government Camp it’s surprisingly quiet and peaceful. You probably won’t hear any traffic noise and you will be amazed by the towering trees. The Crosstown Trail is actually best for trekking through the massive forest that towers over the area. There are also several small creeks and streams with snow bridges that allow you to cross. It’s better snow-shoeing terrain than x-country skiing due to the fact that it can get pretty steep and you will be trekking around huge trees as you venture the area.
[/caption] After two days of champagne like snow that fell in the Oregon Cascades near Mt. Hood, the clouds gave way and there was an abundant of sun to go around on Wednesday. After several weeks of dismal weather that brought very little snow, we had experienced a truly epic day in the Cascades. There is a great snow-shoe/x-country ski trail that is just 65 miles east of Portland. It’s a quick and easy drive from the city. The Enid lake loop is a very pleasant and easy 2.7 mile loop. You can also continue on the Crosstown trail if your eager to go further since there are miles of trails that zigzag throughout the wilderness. Unfortunately, you will have little luck finding a vantage point to get a clear view of Mt. Hood. Enid lake is one of the only places that opens to a view of the mountain. You can also blaze your own trail if your looking for some fresh powder void of any markings. The morning started out sunny and crisp but unfortunately the afternoon gave way to much warmer temperatures. I guess all things must come to an end. As the day went on the temperatures started to melt the snow from the trees which made it seem as though the forest was being inundated with rain drops the size of pennies. I took this particular shot around 11:00am, just as the sun was peeking through the tallest trees. Frozen Enid lake is in the foreground with Mt. Hood looming in the background. I spent most of my trip photographing the trees that had been blanketed by the snow. This particular photo was taken without a tripod since I decided that I wouldn’t need it. I was using my Canon EOS T1i along with my Tokina 12-24mm wide angle lens. I set the focal length at 18mm and since the camera was set in Program/Normal mode the aperture was at F-7.1 and the shutter at 1/125 second. Due to the sun gaining in intensity I set the ISO to 100 and the white balance at -0.3. I was also using my warming filter and my CIR-PL due to the blue skies blanketing the backdrop. I saw several rabbit tracks in the snow as well as a small creek that followed many parts of the trail. I’ve hiked and mt. biked some of these trails during summer and they are simply awesome. You can’t beat a short drive from Portland to revel in some of the most spectacular scenery in the Cascades.