The fourth-highest peak in the Cascades, this perfectly conical volcano is the most-climbed glacial mountain in North America and is second in the world to Japan’s Mt. Fuji. Given the crowds and objective hazards, it’s also one of the deadliest; make an alpine start from Timberline Lodge to avoid rockfall on the snowfield known as Palmer Glacier. (Hit the historic hotel on the way down for a slice of fresh berry pie.) You’ll pass distinctive features like Crater Rock, Devil’s Kitchen, and the Hogsback, a jagged ridge more reminiscent of the dorsal armor on a stegosaurus. Next are several sulfur-stinking fumaroles and the glacier’s menacing bergschrund, and then the Pearly Gates, the climb’s steepest section. If you’ve timed it right, you’ll be up top to watch the twinkling lights of Portland recede as the rising sun illuminates the Columbia River’s three guardians: Rainier, Adams, and Jefferson.
Elevation: 11,239 feet
Contact: Mt. Hood National Forest, (503) 668-1700
USGS Topos: Mount Hood North and South
Eat: Full Sail Brew Pub, Hood River (541) 386-2247
Sleep: Cloud Cap Saddle Campground, (541) 352-6002
Gear: 2nd Wind Sports, Hood River, (541) 386-4464