Looking for a moderate 3 night trip

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We are looking to go on a moderate level backpacking trip over Labor Day Weekend.  I would like to to stay within the Portland, OR area within 3 hours or so.  Looking for get views of the mountains, valleys, and lakes/rivers.  Where we live there are not any mountains to enjoy.  We are novice backpackers that have gone on one trip to Yellowstone in Lamar Valley.  We have not experienced difficult terraine but are active people in good shape.  Any suggestions?  Interested in Mt. Hood area.

i had the same question! I'm open to any location within 3-4 hours of Portland. Are there any other trips that would be nice this time of year, but with fewer people?

I wouldn't worry about the elevation gain. In fact, I'm suprised it is that much.  The trail gradually climbs most of the way.  I've done the hike a few times to tunnel falls.  I've even jogged a good portion of it.  Personally, I think Eagle creek is best as a winter/spring trail.  The alpine country is snowed in 7- 8 months of the year, so why not see it when you can.
I see there are many people viewing the post.  Feel free to put something on the post.  I am not from the area and would welcome your comments.  :)
Thanks Forest.  I was a little worried about finding a suitable overnight spot for the group.  I thought getting out to the 7 1/2 mile camp area would provide room for us.  I have been reading about the increase in elevation!  I see by the time you reach the 7 1/2 mile camp you have gone up 3900 feet.  I have a member of the group who is concerned about this.  What should we expect?  Are there a lot of ups and downs while traveling the trail? 
I think all camping there is on a first-come-first-serve basis, and unless you'll be there on a weekday, I would think it may  be pretty tough to get a campsite within the Eagle Creek Valley (this is one of the most popular trails in Oregon).  The further out you make it, the better options you'll have though.  There may be campsites past Tunnel Falls, which is where the trail starts to become less populated.
After further research we determined that a loop trail is also the best way to view a larger area.  It seems that at this time Eagle Creek area has some interesting views and is challenging to our level of experience.  Hiking out to Wataum Lake or checking out tanner butte sounds like our options.

How is finding a campsite at this location?  Is a camping permit required for hiking out and camping at 7 1/2 mile camp area?  Is it possible to reserve a spot in this area? 
A 3 day trip on Mt. Hood would probably consist of going out a first day, setting up a basecamp, spending the second day exploring, and then packing back out on the last day (3 day trips seem to be ideally suited to loop trips, which are kind of lacking on Mt. Hood).  If you go the base-camp route, Elk Cove on the north side of Mt. Hood is hard to beat.
The Indian Heaven Wilderness Area adjacent to Mount Adams has several great moderate trails for a 3 day trip with trail heads within 2 hours of Portland.  There are likely to be ripe huckleberries (Mmmmmm) at Labor Day. 
In the Mt. Hood area, the Eagle Creek Trail off the Gorge is good but popular.