Tag Archives: Gillette Lake

Summer Hikes

Looking for a nice summer hike? Here’s a list of some of our favorites ūüôā

If you’re looking to stay in Portland and the surrounding cities check out Oak Island, Mt. Talbert, or Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. They are all easy hikes that have decent shade and lots of birds.

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We love hitting up all the great trails that the Mt. Hood area has to offer during the summer months. Tamanawas Falls and Umbrella Falls are great options if you are looking for a waterfall hike. For a lake hike check out Mirror Lake (and Tom, Dick, and Harry Ridge!), and Lower Twin Lake. Zigzag Canyon is also a really fun hike, go in mid to late June while the lupine is blooming!

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Some great summer Gorge hikes are Upper and Lower Latourell Falls, Gillette Lake, and Strawberry Island.

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Summer time is full of Kayaking as well, be sure to check out Scappoose Bay and Lost Lake!

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–Happy Hiking!

 

Gillette Lake (Winter)

Directions: Take I-84 to Exit 44. Cross Bridge of the Gods ($2 toll). Take a left onto Highway 14 and follow it for a little over a mile. The Bonneville Trailhead is on the right.

The trail starts out uphill as you wind up through the woods. Within a quarter mile we already started to encounter downed trees. We came across three in a row but they were easy to climb over. As you keep climbing and round the edge of the cliff we came to a much larger tree that was completely blocking the trail. We were still able to make our way around this one and continue on. The trail was still in good shape. Just muddy from heavy rains. It was covered in small branches that had been blown off but nothing too serious.

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A little over a mile into the hike you will reach the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. Continue on the trail as you enter a clearcut area. The trail was a lot better in this section. As you continue on through the clearcut the trail doesn’t gain or lose much elevation. You get good views of Table Mountain off in the distance as well. Soon the trail crosses an access road and enters back into a more heavily wooded area.

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As we were hiking into this area we started noticing the trail was getting more and more covered in fallen branches. After about a half mile into the wooded area we came up on some major trail damage. There were at least 20 downed trees and lots of loose dirt and rocks. There wasn’t a way to pass so we had to stop here. It was a bummer because we were only about a half mile from the lake!

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If the trail was clear you would continue on crossing through one more clearcut area that takes you up to another access road. Just beyond the road is the lake. It’s a small lake that’s a beautiful blue-green color.

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This is still an enjoyable hike even if you don’t make it all the way to the lake. It was actually kind of interesting to see all of the damage. Just a reminder that if you see a lot of weather damage it’s best not to try and climb through it. Uprooted trees make hills unstable which can lead to slides and falling rocks. The fallen trees themselves are unstable as well.

We don’t know how long it will be until the trail is cleared out but sometimes it doesn’t get done until spring. It would be best to call the forest service before heading out on this hike anytime soon.

Distance: 5.8 miles

Elevation: 625 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area.

Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: This is a nice Gorge hike that is increasingly becoming more and more popular.

Gillette Lake (Spring)

Directions: Take I-84 to Exit 44. Cross Bridge of the Gods ($2 toll). Take a left onto Highway 14 and follow it for a little over a mile. The trailhead is near Bonneville Dam on your right.

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This hike starts from the Bonneville Trailhead for the Pacific Crest Trail and winds through public and private forest land up to the lake. ¬†You’ll pass through a couple clear cuts, one of which is clearly older, since things are starting to re-grow. ¬†The other still looks like the surface of the moon.

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The trail is very easy to follow, and depending on how much rain there’s been recently, may be very muddy. ¬†The contrast between thick forest with easily visible signs of wildlife¬†and devastated clear cuts and high-line wires from the BPA make for a very interesting hike.

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Gillette Lake itself is really nice. ¬†The water is a neat blue-green color, and there are a few campsites. ¬†It’d be a nice place to cool off on a hot day.

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Distance: 5.8 miles

Elevation: 650 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Overall: The lake is pretty but the hike is all over the place. Parts are nice but the clearcutting is pretty ugly.