[/caption] The northwest part of Mt. Hood offers some of the best views and hiking trails inside the Mt. Hood wilderness. If you want to avoid most of the crowds and find yourself immersed in the alpine splendors, you may want to make the extra effort to visit Mt. Hood on its northwestern flanks. You will have to drive a bit on some dirt roads but you will be amazed on the true alpine experience that you will find. There are dozens of trails that take off from several different parts of the wilderness and you can hike to one of two stone shelters that dot the alpine area. This photo was taken from the southern part of Bald Mountain and the beginning of the Sandy river is born just below the mountain. You can literally get lost in this ecological masterpiece with dozens of wildflowers and an endless amount of creeks and waterfalls cascading below the mountain. There are dozens of viewpoints as well as several resting areas that will convince you to take an afternoon nap as Mt. Hood looms in the short distance. Depending on the winter snow pack, you may want to bring a pair of hiking cleats and a pair of walking poles in case you find yourself sinking in the snow well into the month of July. However, the trail is mostly free of any snow by mid July but you never know if Oregon’s late Spring will allow the snow to hang on until August. You may even see some Hawks soaring high above or catch a glimpse of a black bear or deer foraging along the ponds or meadows that dot the wilderness. When visiting during the summertime, you will get some of your best photos of the mountain and the landscape after 5:00pm. Because the sun rises directly behind the mountain and moves in a southerly direction, most of your morning and afternoon shots will be more over exposed due to the strong sun glare. However, by around 5:00pm, the sun is at about a 90 degree angle and the sky will appear more blue and the contours of the mountains landscape is more clear. Unfortunately, this photo was taken at about 1:00pm and as you can see the sky looks hazy and there is less contrast along the forest.