Though the Alpine and Glade trails don’t offer exciting skiing or any notion of solitude, any discussion of human powered skiing on Mt Hood would be deficient without them.
The Glade trail was constructed in 1947 as part of the Timberline Lodge complex. It partially adopted the oldest ski trail on Mt Hood, the Blossom Trail, which predated all commercial skiing and which is believed to have supported skiing as early as 1888.
Today, the Glade Trail and Alpine Trail are largely used by skiers and snowboarders from Timberline Resort who use the trails as a convenient way to ski from the resort back down to Government Camp.
For the backcountry skier, these routes are quite useful. To the beginning tourist, they make for an excellent, low-consequence route to practice with skinning and the use of one’s equipment, especially when weather doesn’t permit safe travel on the Palmer Snowfield.
To the more experienced and ambitious backcountry skier, these routes either allow upper-mountain routes to be accessed with the sweaty purity of climbing from Government Camp, and they also allow a fine ski day on the Zigzag Glacier or in the Little Zigzag area to be capped off with a rollicking descent directly into town. The charm of skiing back to accomodation in Government Camp is hard to overstate.
Finally, for the growing group of skimo athletes who want to train vertical climbing with maximum convenience, the Alpine and Glade trails are a great venue, as navigation is simple and no avalanche terrain is encountered. These routes are not as steep as most skimo race courses, but for convenience, they can’t be beat.
The Alpine trail begins at the top of the Summit Ski area, a small bunny slope that operates above Government Camp’s well-known Chevron gas station. Either skin up ski area along its periphery or skirt it to the West through vacation cabins.
The Glade Trail begins at the top of Blossom Trail Rd, which is best known for being the cross road of Govy General Store. Please be respectful of the homes near the beginning of the trail.
The descent of the Glade Trail begins near middle of Timberline’s ‘Kruser’ run, on skier’s right. It is most easily found by ascending the trail. The glade trail takes a wider and more rolling course than the alpine trail. There are no navigational decisions to be made, but be aware that there are often hazardous holes, small trees, or ways to get stuck as you ski. In general, this is a poor choice of run when there is deep snow and no tracks, as the pitch is insufficient to propell you through good ‘ol cascade concrete. You will emerge at the bottom near Govy General Store.
The descent of the Alpine Trail begins near the bottom of Timberline’s ‘Kruser’ run, on skier’s right a little ways past the entrance to the Glade Trail. It is a continuation of the fall line made by Timberline’s trail of the same name, “Alpine”. It is most easily found by ascending the trail. Like the Glade trail, it’s not a great choice if there are no tracks and deep snow. This trail is more narrow than the Glade, and becomes somewhat of a luge towards the bottom. When the trail intersects the top of the Summit Ski Area at Government Camp, it is advisable to ski down through the ski area, as the Alpine Trail makes a right and becomes fairly flat at this point. If the trail is followed, it becomes rolling XC terrain which, if the trail is beaten in, will lead across the fall line to the Glade Trail after a mile or so. This is not recommended on alpine skis.
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