The Crosstown Trail does just as its name implies and travels from one side of the community of Government Camp to the other, through a forested setting.
It is a fairly wide singletrack trail 24-48", but since it is intended to be a groomed nordic trail in winter, the tree clearing is nearly 20 feet, so it feels more open. It is a popular mountain biking trail too, so be on the lookout for bikes, especially at intersections. Bikers should yield to hikers. Trailhead parking is available in several places near or along the trail designated by a "P" on the map.
Many loops off the Crosstown Trail can be made to extend your hike. Some of these are connector trails (Skiway, Wally's, Maggie's, Lucy's, etc.) to conveniently bring you directly to Mt. Hood Brew Pub for micro-brews, The Huckleberry Inn for a huckleberry milkshake, or any other local dining establishment. The Crosstown Trail has plenty of huckleberries, but get there early before the locals pick them all.
The Crosstown Trail is native surface with some gravel in a few wet areas. The east end is a rockier trail bed, while the west end has a much smoother native surface through forest. Check out the video for more details.
There are five large bridges built for a nordic ski trail groomer in winter. The trail is mostly downhill from east to west, but there are moderate climbs and drops along the way. The trail can get dusty during extended dry spells.
Most of the Government Camp Trail System is designed for beginner hikers including children and seniors. The trail system stretches from the Timberline Lodge above to Trillium Lake below. Combining Crosstown Trail with Summit Trail #691
, you can make a large four-mile loop around the town on both sides of Hwy 26 (cross at the blinking yellow lights with caution!), or hike down to Trillium Lake for a refreshing swim.
Most of the trail intersections are numbered, and trailhead maps, trail brochures, and online trail maps will help map reading challenged folks to find their way around easily.
Large Douglas fir, silver fir, noble fir, mountain hemlock, Pacific yew, western red cedar, Alaskan yellow cedar, and lots of lodgepole (some of it dead or dying) are found along the Crosstown Trail. Some dead lodgepole have been cut and piled to reduce fire hazards to the town. Hardwoods include alder, big leaf maple, and colorful vine maple. Huckleberries, sword fern, oxalis, salal, and Oregon grape provide ground cover.
Because the water table around Government Camp is so high, there are numerous wet areas that bloom with stinky skunk cabbage in spring (late May and early June or later). Bear grass is blooming in mid summer. Huckleberries come on in mid to late July but are quickly picked by locals.