Tag Archives: Chinidere Mountain

Wahtum Lake & Chinidere Mountain (Summer 2018)

Directions: Take I-84 to Hood River and get onto Highway 35. Continue on Highway 35 and follow signs for Dee, you will cross the Hood River and turn left. Follow the signs for Wahtum Lake. Take road 13 for 4 miles and then a right onto Road 1310 for about 6 miles to the trailhead and parking area.

This is yet another trail that has recently reopened after the Eagle Creek Fire. We were very excited to get back here as it’s one of our favorite hikes.

From the trailhead go down the 258 wood steps that are uneven and falling apart and head right on the Pacific Crest Trail (you can get right to the edge of the lake at the base of the stairs). The trail heads around the lake but you lose sight of it fairly quickly. As you follow the trail you will gradually gain elevation but it’s nothing too hard. It starts out in a fairly thick wooded area and you will cross over small streams (no bridges just literally stepping over them).

      

About halfway in you will enter a more thinned out wooded area and the trail will widen. Continue following the PCT until you reach the marked Chinidere Mountain Trail on your right. This trail heads uphill steeply on uneven switchbacks for a half mile, watch for the side trail that takes you out to a nice viewpoint (it’s a few switchbacks in). When the trail opens up and you start walking on shale rock you are almost there. There were a good amount of downed trees right before the shale area, we went over a few and had to go out and around some.

      

You end at the top of Chinidere Mountain with Mt. Hood straight in front of you! The top has a 360 degree view of five mountains: Hood, St. Helens, Adams, Rainier, and Jefferson! We also got a good view of the burn area from the Eagle Creek Fire which was interesting to see. Walking down to the far end you will see Wahtum Lake below and get a feel of how far you’ve hiked!

      

There were lots of wildflowers and butterflies at the top and blooming beargrass on the switchbacks. With all the rocks there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the amazing views. It was great to be back enjoying one of our favorite hikes and one of the best views in Oregon. It was sad to see all of the fire damage but there’s still plenty of green to be seen which was encouraging.

      

Head back down the Chinidere trail and hike back out the way you came in.

 

Distance: 4.4 miles (easy)

Elevation: 1,150 (you lose elevation getting down to the lake so it’s not as rough as it seems. The trail around the lake is easy, the Chinidere trail is hard but short)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: Most. The Chinidere trail may be a bit rough for younger kids and older folks.

Bathrooms: Vault toilet at the parking area.

Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: Late spring through fall

Popular: Yes on weekends

Warnings: The top of Chinidere is very exposed so keep an eye on small children and dogs.

Wahtum Lake & Chinidere Mountain (Summer 2013)

Directions: Take I-84 to Hood River and get onto Highway 35. Continue on Highway 35 and follow signs for Dee, you will cross the Hood River and turn left. Follow the signs for Wahtum Lake. Take road 13 for 4 miles and then a right onto Road 1310 for about 6 miles to the trailhead and parking area.

Anyone who hasn’t hiked Wahtum Lake to Chinidere Mountain should definitely put this on their list of hikes to do. This is our third time doing it and we’ll definitely be back.

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This hike starts out by going down 258 uneven wooden steps, to the lake shore. Follow the slightly rocky trail to the right and around the lake. Early in the trail the trees and bushes are a lot thicker, and as you climb steadily the undergrowth thins out into a mature forest. The trail is pretty well marked. There are two intersections, the first sign will tell you that you are on the Pacific Crest Trail, follow the arrow to the Columbia River. The second sign will point you up towards Chinidere Mountain.

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Heading up to Chinidere Mountain is vastly different than hiking around the lake. You’ll gain a little more than 600 feet of elevation in about a half mile, which can be rough. The half mile is made up of steep, uneven switchbacks. On the way up there are a few side trails with good views. When you come out on the shale rock you are almost there. Keep an eye out for wildflowers and birds.

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At the top, the lack of space is totally made up for by the amazing 360 degree views. On a clear day you can see five mountains (Hood, St. Helens, Jefferson, Rainier, and Adams). It’s very exposed and windy, so all the sweat you built up on the way will definitely cool you off. To get back, go out the same way you came in. Make sure you stop and take in the lake (and maybe pick a few Huckleberries) before you slog back up all those stairs to your car.

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Distance: 4.5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 1,150 feet (moderate)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages around the lake, may not be best for everyone to go up the mountain.

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: Spring through fall

Popular: Yes

Warnings: None