Tag Archives: Boring

Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge (Summer)

Directions: Take I-84 east to Hood River and cross the bridge into Washington ($1 toll). Turn left onto SR-14 and follow this road until you take a right onto 141A to Trout Lake. In Trout Lake, turn right onto Trout Creek Rd, this turns into Trout Lake Highway. You’ll see signs for Conboy Lake Refuge, follow them in and back to the parking area.

From the parking area get on the trail by the informational sign and follow it through the tall grass. We were here on a very hot day and even though it was early morning it was still a very toasty walk through this area. Soon you’ll come to a side trail that takes you off to the right to the Whitcomb-Cole Hewn Log House. This short side trip is worth it, as you can go into the old pioneer log home built in 1891. Look for small lizards in this area near the base of the house.

      

      

Back on the main trail you will start to see many birds flying around the area especially on the wires above and near the bird boxes. A few that we saw were tree and cliff swallows, red-winged blackbirds, and robins. We were also able to see a deer out in the field. After following this trail for a bit you will come to a split in the trail, go right and head towards the tree line.

      

Once in the trees you’ll get a nice respite from the heat and start to see different types of birds such as flickers and harry woodpeckers, we also saw a few different types of squirrels and a skunk. The trail is lined with pine trees and low shrubs as you eventually make your way to a viewpoint. The wooden platform overlooks a large grassy meadow and gives you a really nice view of Mt. Adams.

      

Once you’re done at the viewpoint continue on the trail, making sure you are following the signs that take you back to the parking area. The trail gets a little harder to follow once you get to where you can see the refuge office. Just pick up any of the narrow trails that head towards the office and you’ll be fine.

      

We were hoping to see the sandhill cranes that frequent this area but it wasn’t the best time of year for it. Parts of this hike are a little boring but we mostly think that was due to the time of year as well. We plan on coming back in fall or spring to see what wildlife we can see.

 

Distance: 2.5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 50 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: No, dogs are not allowed on the refuge.

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Warnings: None

Tooth Rock (Autumn)

Directions: Drive I-84 east to exit 40. Take a right at the stop sign and then an immediate left. Follow this road uphill where it ends at the Tooth Rock Trailhead.

The trail starts out paved as you pass by a Bonneville Power substation and soon come to a side trail to your right. This trail has a small brown marker that says Tanner Butte, take this narrow dirt trail and follow it uphill. There are a lot of downed trees on the first part of this trail, they are all easy to go under or around. You will also pass by an old refrigerator that has been dumped on the trail.

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Continue up the trail until you reach a sort of summit where there is a trail junction. Keep on the same trail as you start to head downhill somewhat steeply. This trail will end in two switchbacks that drop you off at the paved trail you started on just farther down.

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Go left on the paved trail where you will hear a lot of traffic from I-84 just below you. The path heads uphill a bit for a short distance before leveling out. You will pass a couple good spots that have a nice view of the Gorge and Bonneville Dam. From here you are just following the paved path back to your car.

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Distance: 2 miles

Elevation: 240

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: Most ages- there are some steep parts but it’s not very long.

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Overall: Not the most exciting hike but it’s nice if you don’t want to do a long hike.

 

Oxbow Park (Summer)

Directions: Take 1-84 to Exit 18 for Oxbow Park. At the stop sign take a left, there are signs for Oxbow Park. At the second stop sign go left and get on the Old Highway and it a little over 4 miles go right at the split onto Hurlbert Road. In another couple miles come to a blinking 4-way intersection and go right onto Gordon Creek Road. Just a short distance later take a right onto a gravel road. It’s not a signed road but you can see a spray painted metal sign that says dead end. Follow this gravel road past a few farm houses to a small parking area and a closed gate.

We decided to check out the much less popular side of Oxbow Park (the North side) and it honestly wasn’t the best experience. You can do this hike as a moderate two mile out and back hike to the Sandy River, which is what we recommend. Or, you can do this as what ended up being a loop through massively overgrown stinging nettles that ends up on Gordon Creek Road. We don’t recommend the loop at all.

From the gate follow the old access road downhill, sometimes steeply, as you wind your way through the trees. After about a half mile you’ll start to hear the Sandy River but wont see it for another quarter mile or so. As you start to reach river level there is a side trail that takes you to a view of the river. When water levels are low you will be able to get down to the river, the water was high so it was just a quick side trip for us. Getting back on the main trail and hiking just a bit farther (roughly a mile from the parking area) you will come to a split in the trail. Head right and out to a nice beach area with lots of rocks. You get nice views of the river and can walk down and around the beach a ways to explore. There were a few people out having picnics and enjoying the sun. There are lots of birds here so if you’re into birding this beach is great for it. We saw a ton of Cedar Waxwings and Spotted Sandpipers. We even saw an Osprey snag a fish. If you walk down the beach and around the curve at the very end there is remnants of an old car that’s kind of neat to look at.

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Really we recommend just ending your hike here, it’s best just as a short hike to a quiet beach to relax. Head back out the way you came in for a two mile total trip.

We decided to keep going on the main trail to see where it went. The trail gets a little more heavily wooded as you head away from the river and slowly gain elevation. Once you’re at the top of the bluff you start heading downhill again and this is where it gets to be not so fun. You drop down into a VERY overgrown trail that’s covered in stinging nettles. Both sides of the trail are full of it and there really isn’t a way to not brush up against it with everything so overgrown. The trail starts to even out and things start getting boggy and gross. We ran into a large and deep muddy area, there was a very bouncy log that moved all over running across part of it. One of us made it across without much damage, the other rolled off the log and became a muddy mess.

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As you keep going there isn’t much going on, you can’t see the river, it’s mostly large trees and tall grass with nettles lining the trail. In some areas the trail is completely washed out. You still know where you’re going but it’s not really a trail. There are a couple of runoff areas that probably get interesting in the wet months. After about a mile and a half of this the trail starts heading uphill again as you get closer to the road above and you suddenly come to a sign with a shoe brush at the base. From here it’s just a few more steps and you’re dumped out on the side of Gordon Creek Road. Take a left and head a bit steeply up the road for about a mile until you reach the gravel road that takes you back to the parking area.

We don’t recommend doing the loop. The trail is very overgrown and not in good shape, plus it’s not very scenic at all. The last bit on the road is dangerous because there isn’t much of a shoulder to walk on, so please be careful!

Distance: 2 or 4 miles

Elevation: 350

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: No. Dogs are not allowed at Oxbow Park.

Good For: All ages if you are just going to the beach. Adventurous adults only for the loop.

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Overall: We won’t be doing this hike again. It’s not maintained and there wasn’t much too look at. Basically it’s not worth the hassle.

Klickitat River (Part 2 of 4)

Directions: Take I-84 East to Hood River exit 64 (marked for White Salmon) and cross the Hood River Bridge ($2 toll). After crossing the bridge take a right onto Highway 14 and drive for about 11 miles. After crossing the Klickitat River take an immediate left onto Highway 142, drive until you see the Fisher Hill Bridge trailhead. There are two parking areas, one on Highway 142 and the other down the little road next to the bridge.

From the trailhead get on the main trail and walk for about a quarter mile as you pass a building on the right and come to mile marker 2. The trail is much more rocky than the first section and is closer to the river too, as you get out of the gorge area of the Klickitat.

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You will cross a few small streams and small slide areas with a sheer cliff to your left. The trail turns to boardwalk in one spot, and you’ll pass a big slide area as you come to an area with Ponderosa Pine that opens up to a grassy field to your left.

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From here it’s a short distance to mile post six and the end of this section of the hike. This isn’t the most interesting section but it’s still scenic. You are always surrounded by mountains and right next to the river. But you are seeing a lot of the same thing which can make for an even longer 8 miles. The trail wasn’t too busy but this section had more mountain bikers.

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WARNING: This trail has ticks. We picked up a tick while we were out here, see our post on ticks to learn more.

Distance: 8 miles

Elevation: 200 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages just be aware of the distance

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: Fall through early summer. This trail usually shuts down in mid to late summer due to high fire danger.

Popular: No

Overall: It’s not the most exciting trail but the scenery is pretty.

Lacamas Lake (Winter)

This hike starts at the Heritage Park Trailhead, which is off Highway 14 in Camas, Washington and runs along the West side of Lacamas Lake.

From the parking area get onto the paved path near the bathrooms and follow it as you head towards the lake. Once you get to the lake the trail switches to a dirt and gravel mix and stays this way for almost the rest of the hike.

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There is basically no elevation change on this hike. It’s just a flat trail that is sandwiched between large houses on your left, and the lake to your right. You start out in a more wooded area for about a half mile and then you’re mostly seeing houses. There are a few private docks and boat launches along the way and some areas where the trees are thinner and you get good views of the lake and Mt. Hood off in the distance.

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We did find out that winter really isn’t the best month for this hike. There are no wildflowers or much wildlife hanging around. It’s just kind of a bland hike along a lake that isn’t that spectacular in the winter months.

You’ll cross a couple bridges and pass by the Camas Meadows Golf Club as you reach the parking lot, which is the turnaround point. So head back the way you came in.

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Distance: 7 miles

Elevation: 25 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area

Parking Fee: No

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: Nice easy hike, definitely better during the spring and summer months.

Molalla River State Park (Summer)

Directions: Take I-205 South to exit 9 (Oregon City/99E). Get on McLoughlin Blvd and then onto 99E South. Follow 99E for about 5.5 miles until you reach Territorial road and take a right. Take another right onto Holly St. which turns into 37th Ave. The park is on the left.

This park has different trails and you can kind of decide how far you’d like to go. We took a trail that followed along the Willamette River and Molalla River.

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From the parking area near the bathrooms walk down towards the boat launch and pick up the trail that will be following along the Willamette for a while. If you look right down the river you can see the Canby Ferry. The trail is gravel and wide and starts next to the off-leash dog area. Soon you’ll come to a large open field and follow this around and along the Molalla River. It’s not the most scenic hike but it’s still nice. You’ll continue following the trail in a loop that joins back to the trail by the dog park.

The trail is flat and well maintained making this a good option for all ages.

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Distance: Varies

Elevation: Depends on where you hike but it’s not much.

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Overall: Nice area, we’re excited to come back with our kayak.

Junction Lake (Summer)

Directions: Take I-84 East to exit 44 (Cascade Locks) and cross the Bridge of the Gods ($2 toll). Take a right onto Highway 14 for about 6 miles until you see signs for Carson and Wind River Road. Take a left here and head through the town of Carson on Highway 30 for about 6 miles. Take a right onto Old State road and an immediate left onto Panther Creek Road (turns into Road 65). Follow this road for 11 miles until you reach an intersection called “Four Corners.” Take a right onto Road 60 (it’s a maintained gravel road) and follow it for about 8.5 miles. Take a left onto Road 6030 which is marked for East Crater Trail. Follow this road for a little over 4 miles (it will turn into Road 6035) to the trailhead on the left.

Right past the trailhead sign there is a wilderness permit station. Make sure you stop and fill out the paper and attach it to your backpack, so you don’t get fined.

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From the trailhead you start out in a very pretty wooded area with bear grass heavily lining the trail. The trail gradually starts heading uphill at first and then more steeply as you make you’re way through the woods. After about a mile and a half the trail will start to level out a bit and you’ll come to the first of three ponds. The mosquitoes are pretty terrible this time of year and from about the first pond you’ll start to really notice them. It only gets worse as you hike further in.

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As you keep hiking you’ll pass through meadows and by two more ponds, as well as through clouds of mosquitoes. The trail gets more level as you go and soon you’ll come to Junction Lake. There are a few trails that take you down to the small but pretty lake. The lake is tree lined with a nice open meadow on one side. There is a nice trail that goes all the way around the lake and plenty of places to sit and relax or eat lunch. This is an out and back hike, so head back the way you came.

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We really loved this hike, the forest is beautiful with all the bear grass and heather blooming. The meadows and ponds are really pretty and a nice contrast to the wooded areas. BUT, we must warn everyone that this is NOT a great hike during mosquito season, we absolutely wouldn’t recommend going late May through mid July. We weren’t able to relax and enjoy the lake as much as we would’ve liked, due to the mosquitoes being so thick and horrible. One of us left with 25 bites, it was that bad. That being said, we can’t wait to go back in the fall, it really is a lovely place minus the bugs 🙂

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Distance: 5.2 miles

Elevation: 730 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: Most ages- may be hard for young kids and older folks.

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: No

Seasons: Late spring to late fall

Popular: No

Overall: The lake is pretty but the mosquitoes are so thick that it’s highly distracting. We would recommend doing this hike in late summer or fall.

Butler Creek Greenway Trail (Winter)

This hike is located in Gresham, to get here take Powell to Powell Loop (it’s a signal). Powell Loop turns into 10th and you’ll soon come to a three-way stop, go left, cross the Springwater Trail and head up Pleasantview Drive. Take the first left onto 14th and just around a bend will be the trailhead on the right. You can park in a little turnout on the left or along the street.

From the trailhead follow the Butler Creek Greenway trail, which is a mostly gravel and dirt path that follows along a small creek with houses on either side. This is a very urban hike/walk, you will see houses most of the time and will cross through a city park. The trail is mostly flat with just a few small hills. After a while you will cross a small wood bridge and wind around and up to Bindford Road.

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Cross the road and pick up the gravel trail that takes you to Binford Reservoir. This is the first of two reservoirs on this hike. There are always a good number of waterbirds here and we’ve even seen some Belted Kingfishers a few times. Keep going past the reservoir and cross another small wooden bridge and continue on down the trail. This part of the trail is much closer to the creek and there are a few benches along the way. Soon you will reach a third bridge, after crossing the bridge the trail starts to head uphill and crosses a fourth and final bridge.

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After crossing the final bridge the trail opens up into a city park and picks up with a paved path. Follow the path right and circle around the park. Once you’re back to the beginning of the pavement head in the opposite direction so you head towards Butler Creek Reservoir, this reservoir is also home to many waterbirds. After circling the reservoir head back the way you came on the Greenway Trail.

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This trail is pretty busy year round. In the summer it is popular for runners and kids on bikes. There are always people with dogs and lots of walkers in every season.

 

Distance: 2.5 miles

Elevation: 50 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: This is not the most exciting trail but it’s a nice urban area to get some fresh air. This is a great place for birding as well.

Gresham Butte Bus (Autumn)

This hike takes you to the Gresham Butte “Bus”. It’s not actually a bus, it’s an old utility truck that was used to move water pipes for the Mount Hood Freeway. That project was abandoned in the 70’s and apparently so was the truck. It’s now just hanging out up near the summit of Gabbert Hill.

The hike starts at the Gresham Butte East Trailhead which is located on 19th and Regner, in Gresham.

Start at the gate and head up a wide gravel trail. The trail starts out pretty flat but that all quickly changes. It gets steeper until you reach the saddle, which is a 4-way intersection of trails. At the saddle there is a sign that talks about the Hogan Cedar that only grows in this area. Take a left at the saddle and head up and even steeper gravel trail. This trail does have some nettles, so keep an eye out for that.

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Keep climbing until you see a wooden sigh that says “Gre Pro” which stands for Gresham Pro, shortly after you will reach a fork in the trail. Take a left and head a short distance until you reach the back of the “bus”, this is the end point. The “bus” is covered in graffiti and berry briars. It’s definitely unique looking and fun to take pictures of. Retrace your steps to get back to your car, the gravel is loose so heading back can be a bit interesting.

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Distance: 2.25 miles

Elevation: 800 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: There is a decent amount of elevation gain, so this may not be best for younger kids and older folks.

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Overall: The “bus” is interesting but the hike is pretty boring.

Ellen Davis Trail (Winter)

This trailhead is located in Vancouver, Washington in Leverich Park.

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The hike starts off on a paved path to a bridge over Burnt Bridge Creek. After the bridge the pavement ends and eventually you’ll wind uphill towards the JD Ross Substation Complex, which is part of the Bonneville Power Administration. Follow the road past the parking lots and a dog park until you get to a neighborhood. When you get in the neighborhood follow the signs (the brown one with the hiker on it) that will point you in the right direction.

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Take the gravel street up to the switchbacks. After the switchbacks you will enter a more wooded area. Follow this trail until you reach St. James Road where you’ll turn around and head back to your car.

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Distance: 5 miles

Elevation: 250 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Overall: If we lived in Vancouver we would probably hike this trail again, but since we don’t it’s not worth the drive.