Two children among "cold, wet and dehydrated" family of hikers stranded overnight on Mt. Hood National Forest

what is mountain rescue: helicopter winter rescue
Crews were delayed by wintry weather, resulting in a 24 hour rescue mission (Image credit: Getty)

A family of six including two children spent an unplanned night on the trail earlier this week after wintry weather hampered mountain rescue's attempts to reach them. This is the second time this winter we've reported on an entire family requiring rescue from a snowy mountain, following a similar incident in Colorado in November.

A video post by the Clackamas County Sheriff's Department, which you can watch below, reveals that the family, which included two children aged 9 and 11 and four adults ranging in age from 19 to 52, had set off for a hike from the Salmon River Trailhead in the Mt. Hood National Forest on Tuesday.

At about 7:30 p.m., which is just after sunset in the area, the family called for help after making it eight miles. They were at 3,500 feet above sea level in snowy conditions and subsequently, rescue crews were not able to reach the family until 6 a.m. the following morning.

"When crews reached them, they were cold, wet and dehydrated, but otherwise in good conditions," reports the sheriff's office.

However, the family's ordeal was far from over. The rescue required the use of a snowcat called in from Deschutes County Sheriff's Office which had to clear fallen trees and other debris to reach the family and extract them. They did not make it back to base until 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, some 24 hours after they initially called for help.

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Winter hiking safety

The calendar might say it's spring, but wintery conditions still exist in many mountain areas. Mountain rescue teams remind hikers to plan ahead, carry extra clothing such as a down jacket and an emergency blanket, plus extra food and water. Be prepared for hiking in snow with traction devices and navigational devices like a map and compass. Learn more in our article on winter hiking safety.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.