Tag Archives: Popular

Little North Santiam East to Three Pools (Spring 2020)

Directions: Take I-5 south to exit 253, go left onto Highway 22 and drive for about 22 miles. Take a left onto North Fork Road and drive for a little over 15 miles and the road turns to gravel, your’e now on FR 2209. After about a mile and a half turn right onto FR 2207. Drive for another 2 miles, cross a bridge and come to a small parking area on the left side of the road.

This hike is pretty straightforward- cross the road and pick up the trail. You’ll be following along the river the whole time. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. There was lots of ferns and lovely green undergrowth the whole way. You will cross a footbridge over a pretty creek as the trail rollercoasters, but nothing too dramatic elevation wise. Soon you will come to openings on the trail with good views of the river. When you see the tall rock in the middle of the river (pictured) you have reached Three Pools.

     

     

The water is a beautiful color and you can get down to water level. Please be careful on the rocks this area can be dangerous. You’ll have lovely views up and down the river once you’re out on the rocks. Notice the tall rock has frayed rope tied on it- in the summer this place is packed with swimmers and people climb the rocks to jump off.

     

 

Head back out the way you came in.

 

Distance: 4 miles (easy)

Elevation: 500 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: Most. The rock area at the river can be dangerous for young kids.

Bathrooms: None

Parking Fee: NW Forest Pass required

Seasons: All

Popular: VERY popular in the summer months

Warnings: Be careful around the river.

Ponytail Falls (Winter 2020)

Directions: Take I-84 East to the Ainsworth State Park (exit 35) and follow the Old Highway left towards Horsetail Falls.

This hike is still only partially open- you can get up to the waterfall but can’t go past it.

There is still a lot of noticeable fire damage on this trail. Burned out trees and a lot of loose rocks and debris.

     

From the parking lot cross the road and get on the trail to the left of Horsetail Falls. You will switchback up above Horsetail Falls where the trail levels out for a bit before heading downhill slightly and ending at the waterfall.

     

You can walk behind the waterfall but the trail ends at a large fence just past it. Head back out the way you came in.

     

Distance: .8 miles (easy)

Elevation: 400 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Warnings: Areas impacted by wildfires have a higher chance of rockslides, please use caution on the trail.

Hobbit Trail (Winter 2020)

Directions: The trailhead is located right on the side of Highway 101 a little over 13 miles north of Florence, Oregon. There are signs for the Hobbit Trailhead and China Beach Trailhead.

You will need to carefully cross the highway to get on the Hobbit Trail. Follow the signs to the right as you wind your way through a rhododendron and sitka lined trail. Some sections the bushes have grown to where you need to duck down a bit to get through. You will wind your way downhill and switchback once as you head toward the beach.

     

     

Right at the end of the trail it becomes a tunnel of bushes and it’s what gives the trail its hobbit name. The trail is sandy here and covered in broken shells, it ends right at the beach. We walked off towards the right where there are rocks and saw washed up jellyfish and plenty of shells. When you are finished walking the beach head back out the way you came in.

     

Distance: The hobbit trail section is 1 mile total. But you can add a lot of distance depending how much beach exploring you do.

Elevation: 200 feet

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: None

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes on nice weekends

Warnings: Crossing highway 101 in the beginning can be dangerous.

Heceta Head Lighthouse (Winter 2020)

Directions: The lighthouse is located 13 miles north of Florence, Oregon. There are many signs on Highway 101 marking the area.

From the parking area get on the trail that winds up to the lighthouse. You will first pass Heceta House and then the trail takes you to the lighthouse. Continue on a narrow dirt path as it switches back up to a really nice viewpoint. You can walk around the base of the lighthouse as well.

     

     

Once back down at the parking area head off to the beach and go to the right. There are nice tide pools where we saw quite a few starfish.

     

     

Distance: 1.25 miles (easy)

Elevation: 150 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: $5 state park fee

Seasons: All

Popular: Very

Warnings: None

Gillette Lake (Winter 2020)

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.

We didn’t get our first hike of 2020 in until 3 weeks into January so we were really itching to get out on the trail! We’re really glad we chose Gillette Lake it’s a great winter hike.

From the parking area get on the trail and head uphill somewhat steeply in the beginning and then round a corner and level off a bit before heading downhill and coming to an intersection. Go left here and follow the trail as it rollercoasters through an old clearcut and comes to a gravel road.

     

     

Cross the road and pickup the trail that takes you into thicker woods. You will wind through this area for a while and then pop out at a clearcut. Continue following the trail through the clearcut and uphill to another road. Cross the road and you will get your first look at Gillette Lake. Take the wide gravel trail downhill and go left where a side trail will take you right to the edge of the lake. We saw plenty of elk tracks and droppings near the lake as well as beaver activity. Head back out the way you came in.

     

The trail was pretty muddy but that’s to be expected for a winter hike. Overall it was a great hike that wasn’t very busy.

     

Distance: 5.8 miles (moderate)

Elevation: 650 feet (moderate)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes at the trailhead

Parking Fee: NW Forest Pass required

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes during summer months

Warnings: None

Powell Butte (Winter 2019)

Directions: This hike starts at the Visitor Center just off of 162nd and Powell in Southeast Portland.

Start off on the paved path that takes you to a junction with the Wild Horse Trail. This trail switches to packed dirt and heads uphill somewhat steeply. You will come to the Summit Lane trail which is gravel, go left and follow it around a bit to yellow post 17.

     

     

Follow this trail through the grass and into the wood, this is now the South Trail. It’s more heavily wooded and a lot less popular back here which is nice. It was a foggy day which was really pretty in the trees. Follow the South Trail down to a junction and get on the Hawthorne Trail. You’ll head back uphill and back out of the woods to Summit Lane. Go left and follow the trail around and to the paved Mountain View Trail. This will take you back down to the parking lot.

     

Distance: 3.5 miles (easy)

Elevation: 350 feet (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Very

Warnings: There have a been a few cougar sightings recently.

Latourell Falls (Winter 2019)

Directions: Take I-84 east to Exit 28 (Bridal Veil). Get onto the Old Highway heading right for about 2.5 miles until you reach the Latourell Falls parking area.

Head up the hill with a railing to a viewpoint of the waterfall. Then keep following the dirt trail uphill with a few views of the waterfall off to the right. Switchback uphill a few times and the trail levels out a bit as you follow along the creek that’s down below.

     

The trail rollercoasters for a while and you cross a few footbridges before you come to Upper Latourell Falls. Cross the bridge at the base of the waterfall and you’ll be heading back on the trail on the other side of the creek. The trail is level for a while before switching back downhill and then eventually going uphill to a viewpoint. It seems that the bench at the viewpoint has been removed. From here you’ll head downhill switching back a few times until you reach the old highway.

     

Cross the highway and take the  stone steps down into the park, following the paved path under the highway bridge and eventually to Latourell Falls. Continue up the paved path back to the parking lot.

     

Distance: 2.25 miles (easy)

Elevation: 520 feet (moderate)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Warnings: None

Mt. Tabor- Blue Trail (Winter 2019)

Directions: The main parking area is located on about 60th and Salmon in Southeast Portland.

The blue trail starts off to the right of the parking lot just past the basketball court. You’ll wind your way down to a bark chip and dirt trail that eventually drops you back at the road. Cross the road and head downhill past the tennis courts and go right heading around the reservoir. There is a long staircase up the side of a grassy hill, head up it and go left. Take the upper dirt trail around the second reservoir.

     

Cross the road and pick up the trail that will take you to a third reservoir, go around it and head up the paved hill and go right onto the road. Take the trail to the right and head uphill to an intersection. Go left on the lower trail as you head uphill somewhat steeply and come to the top circle. Head around it and go down the trail by the bathrooms that ends at the playground by the parking lot.

     

This time around was very foggy, surprisingly not very many people and quite peaceful. This is always a good go-to hike when you don’t have a lot of time or need something close to home.

There are other trails on this hike so you can add distance if you want.

Distance: 3 miles (easy)

Elevation: 350 miles (easy)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: No

Seasons: All

Popular: Very

Warnings: None

Beacon Rock (Autumn 2019)

Directions: Take I-84 to Cascade Locks and take the Bridge Of The Gods ($2 toll) . Take a left on to Highway 14 and drive about 5 miles to the trailhead on the left side of the road.

From the parking area head out on the dirt trail that eventually turns to cement and switches back once to the gated entrance. From here the trail is mostly cement, boardwalk footbridges and some dirt/rock. You will take 51 switchbacks up to the top and there are a lot of viewpoints along the way.

     

     

Once the trail turns to dirt you will know you are getting close. Soon you will come to a few stairs that take you to the very top. It’s a pretty small area but there’s a good view and some rocks to sit on. Head back out the way you came in.

     

     

This place had a lot of trash which was sad (see pic above with snake 🙁). Please make sure to pack back out anything you brought in.

Distance: 2 miles (easy)

Elevation: 700 feet (moderate)

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area

Parking Fee: Washington Discovery Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: Very

Warnings: None

Larch Mountain- Sherrard Point to Multnomah Falls (Autumn 2019)

Directions: Take I-84 East to the Corbett exit and take a left on the Old Highway. Take a right onto Larch Mountain Road (there is a big sign) and follow it for 14 miles to the trailhead. If you are doing this as a shuttle first drop a car off at the Multnomah Falls parking area (see explanation below)

This hike can be done as an out and back (14+ miles) or shuttle (just over 7 miles), leaving one car at Multnomah Falls and one at the Larch Mountain Trailhead. If you do decide to do this hike as an out and back please be prepared for over  4,000 feet of elevation gain and over 14 miles, it’s a hefty hike. We chose to start at the Larch Mountain Trailhead and hike downhill to Multnomah Falls.

From the Larch Mountain Trailhead the first part of this hike is going up to Sherrard Point. If it’s a clear day make sure not to skip this section, it’s one of the best viewpoints in the Gorge. It’s a short hike on a paved path with some stairs that take you to a fenced viewpoint. You will have views of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Jefferson. It’s seriously great.

     

Once you’re done at the viewpoint head back down to the trailhead and get on the Larch Mountain trail (behind the bathrom). From here it’s all downhill, you’ll be losing about 4,000 feet total so it’s hard on the legs and easy on the lungs 😆. The first part of the trail is in a forest of skinny trees and ferns. You will enter a more heavily forested area and come to some junctions- all of the trail junctions are marked so make sure you stay on the Larch Mountain trail.

     

Next, you will enter the burn area from the Eagle Creek fire. There are lots of burned trees and downed trees (all off trail) but the trail is still very visible and easy to follow. After getting through the burn you will enter the open shale rockslide area. From here switchback downhill once and cross a footbridge. Beyond this point you will pass some seasonal waterfalls across the creek and come to a large bridge- this was recently replaced after the fire and it looks great.

     

Beyond this point you will pass by Ecola and Wisendanger Falls. This is the point where the trail will probably become more busy and get even worse as you head down to the Multnomah Falls switchbacks. Follow the marked switchbacks (there’s 11) down to Benson Bridge and then down to the parking lot.

     

This trail is well maintained and every junction is marked which is great. It’s a mix of dirt/pine needles, typical rocky Gorge and shale. There are a few log foot bridges and one large wood and metal bridge. We love doing this hike and are so glad it’s back open and looking good after the fire!

Distance: 7.5 miles (moderate)

Elevation: 4,000 feet *loss*

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: Most- it’s longer and can be hard on your legs

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: Free at Multnomah Falls & NW Forest Pass required at Larch Mountain

Seasons: Late Spring through Fall- check for gate closures

Popular: Yes when you are around Multnomah Falls

Warnings: Part of this hike is in a burn area please read and respect all posted signage.