|There isn't content right now for this block.|| |
|Dayhikes: Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail, WA|
Monday, October 22 @ 13:50:15 PDT by Drew (714 reads)
trailhead is about 72 miles east of Portland, Oregon in the Columbia River
Gorge Scenic Area. |
From Portland, OR, take I-84 East to Hood River.
Cross over the Columbia River using the toll bridge and turn right on Hwy 14.
Drive approximately 13 miles through Lyle.
Continue east on Highway 14. Go through two short tunnels, right next together
then driver .25 mile. The trailhead is at the first gravel parking area on the
There no restrooms at the trailhead. The closest
restrooms are at the Lyle trailhead about 3 miles to the west of the trailhead.
No permits are needed to park at the trailhead.
Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail.
There is a geocache at: N 45° 41.169 W 121° 14.774 Info at Geocaching.com
Topo Map, Download Garmin .gpx file - future
5.6 miles round trip. Elevation at the trailhead
is 105 feet. Elevation at the turnaround point is 1,000. Elevation gain totals 1,087
feet and loss of 245 feet one way. Total gain and loss is 2,600 feet round trip.
Highest elevation is 1,125 feet.
Review: November 25, 2012.
From the unsigned parking area, switchback
fairly steeply for less than .2 mile and come to the sign and sign-in area for
the Cherry Orchard Trail. Fill out the release for and turn slightly to the
right of the sign and travel uphill on the rocky trail through a grove of oak
trees. There is plenty of poison oak along the trail so be careful when you set
Follow the main trail and continue up past some
interesting basalt rocks. After walking about .5 mile, the trail comes out onto
a grassy bench above the Columbia River Gorge. There are a few sparse trees
scattered around. Thorny little plants grow along the trail which are a harbor
for the ticks that wait for you to walk by.
Continue up the sweeping switchbacks underneath
basalt cliffs as you climb higher above the Gorge with every step. About .75
mile is a junction to a short way-trail that goes out to a nice overlook of the
Gorge and a trail that heads west along the flat bench along the river. From
the viewpoint you have a nice view east and west above the Columbia River. This
could also be a nice place to sit down for a break on a nice day.
After walking uphill about a mile, the trail levels off and starts following
the rolling contours of the hills above the Gorge. The trail weaves in and out
along the edge of the cliffs and through oak forests. The tread of the trail
changes from rocks to a clay soil that becomes a little slippery when wet.
Some small sections of trail are steep and the trail passes a tiny seasonal
pond or wet area next to the trail. Also, be sure to check about every 10 to 15
minutes for ticks. I found a total of 7 ticks on me and my pants in late
Occasionally you can see metal diamond-shaped
metal markers nailed to trees. After about 2 miles, the forest starts to change
from the oaks to a mixture of pines and oaks and then you come to a junction
with an old rutted road. Turn right here and follow the road a couple hundred
feet to another junction.
When you come out of the woods, follow a small trail off to the left. Follow
the trail over a grassy hill and down the slope looking for cherry trees. There
is one large tree, a couple that are dying, and a couple of stumps.
Enjoy the nice views of the Gorge then walk back over the little hill to the
next junction. From here, turn left and continue towards the Gorge along a jeep
trail through the grass. Follow the trail through a dip then down a slope to
expansive views of the Gorge to the east and west.
Return back along the road, walking past the junction to the cherry orchard,
and remembering to turn left just after you re-enter the woods.
This hike is great for kids because the trail grade is moderate and there are
places to rest along the way. Precautions need to be taken to deal with the
high tick population. I even had a tick in my hair.
Enjoy the photos!!
|(Read More... | Score: 0)|
|Dayhikes: Klickitat River Trail, WA|
Monday, October 22 @ 13:49:44 PDT by Drew (828 reads)
trailhead is about 68 miles east of Portland, Oregon in the Columbia River
Gorge Scenic Area. |
From Portland, OR, take I-84 East to Hood River.
Cross over the Columbia River using the toll bridge and turn right on Hwy 14.
Drive approximately 10 miles through Bingen, to Hwy 142 near Lyle. The lower
trailhead is just on the left, at the junction.
To reach the upper trailhead from Lyle, take
the Lyle-Centerville Hwy. Go north, then east for about 15 miles. Turn left on
Harms Road. Drive north one-half mile and park just north of the bridge.
There are restrooms seasonally at the Harms Road
trailhead and at various access points along the trail. There are restrooms at
the Lyle trailhead.
No permits are needed to park at trailheads.
There is a geocache at: N 45° 49.292 W 121°
05.643 Info at Geocaching.com
Tips for for a safe ride:
1. Carry at least 3 liters of water on a hot day.
You can refill water bottles in Klickitat.
2. Expect to take 3 to 5 hours to bike the entire
3. Please stay on the trail. Private property is
next to the trail in most places.
4. Having front suspension on your bike is a good
5. Carry a tire pump, repair kit, and spare tube. Yellow-star
Thistle burrs, or Goat’s Head commonly puncture tires.
6. Slime in your inner tubes will help prevent
7. Carry extra food, sun screen and a first aid kit.
8. Beware of poison oak, rattlesnakes and ticks. Lyme
Disease is from ticks is possible so check for ticks at each rest stop.
9. The only access for Swale Canyon is at the
10. There is not good cell phone coverage on the
trail, especially in Swale Canyon.
11. Swale Canyon is closed in summer and early fall
because of fire danger, usually mid-June to mid-October. Check the KTC web site
I called Carl at the Canyon
Market, 100 Main Street in Klickitat. The phone number is 509-369-4400. You
should be able to make arrangement to have Carl move your car from the upper
trailhead to the lower trailhead. Be sure to call about a week in advance in
the summer. In 2012, he offered shuttles in the 30 through 35 dollar range.
Another possibility is to call Rolf at the Klickitat Trader 509-369-3179 though
I have not verified this. Plan for about 30 to 45 minutes to drive from on
trailhead to another.
Topo Map – full route, Topo Map – eastern portion of route, Topo Map – western portion of route, Download Garmin .gpx file
of Klickitat County was formed by the Columbia River basalt flows that started
about 1.8 million years ago and end ended about 16,000 years ago. The Columbia
River gorge was formed by the "Missoula Floods," the greatest series
of floods known to have occurred in North America. The floods reached depths of
900 feet in the Gorge and reached speeds of over 75 miles per hour.
The name Klickitat is usually considered to be a Chinook word meaning
"beyond," as in beyond the Cascade Mountains. Lewis and Clark called
the tribe the Wah-how-pums. The Klickitats were divided into an eastern group
occupying the Klickitat and White Salmon River areas and a western group called
the Taitnapams who lived west of the Cascades near the Cowlitz and Lewis
rivers. The Klickitats were skilled horsemen, hunters, and traders. The women
were noted for their intricately woven basketry. The Klickitats were one of 14
tribes grouped together as Yakima (or Yakama) at the June 1855 Walla Walla
Council and were signatories of the Treaty of Yakima.
In 1903 the Columbia River and Northern Railroad built a line
between Goldendale and Lyle. In 1970 the Spokane, Portland, and Seattle Railroad
became part of Burlington Northern.
After the completion of the Columbia River & Northern Railroad linking Lyle
with Goldendale, the vast majority of goods moving in or out of the Klickitat
Valley came through Lyle. In recent years Lyle has emerged as the nucleus for
Klickitat County's growing wine industry.
The Western Pine
Lumber Company built a mill and logging railroad at Klickitat in 1909. The mill
was destroyed by fire in October 1918 and immediately rebuilt. In 1922, the J.
Neils Lumber Company purchased the mill and property, enlarging the Klickitat
townsite. Another mill fire happened in 1927 and the mill was rebuilt. In 1957,
the St. Regis Paper Company bought the mill operations, which merged with
Champion Lumber in 1984. The Champion Mill in Klickitat closed permanently in
The railroad right-of-way was purchased in 1993 by the national Rails-to-Trails
Conservancy. Ownership of the rail line was transferred to Washington State
Parks in 1994. There was local opposition, including barricades across the
trail and gunshots fired to harass early users of the trail. Eventually public
support prevailed and in 2003, the Klickitat Trail Conservancy (KTC) was formed.
The Trail is managed cooperatively by Washington State, the U.S. Forest
Service, and the KTC.
The roadbed, trestles, a few spikes, pieces of rail, and the caboose in
Klickitat are all that remain of the railroad.
Lyle was once an important port after the construction of the Cascade Locks in
1896 because it was the first port upriver from Portland, Oregon that was
unimpeded by falls and rapids on the Columbia. The town was originally named
Klickitat Landing but was changed to Lyle in 1882. Source- HistoryLink.org
29 miles one way. Elevation at the Harms Road is
1,560 feet. Elevation at the Lyle trailhead is 120 feet. Elevation gain totals 100
feet. Total gain and loss is 1,540 feet one way. Highest elevation is 1,560
Review: November 10, 2012.
Please remember to shut any gates you open. You
may encounter cattle on the trail. Please keep your dogs leased to avoid your
dog from chasing cattle and causing injury or death to any cattle.
From the Harms Road trailhead, walk past the
gate and cross a board-covered trestle over Swale Creek. The trail is packed
down with a few bumps and divots. You soon pass through 2 more gates, which are
the last for the trip, at least during daylight hours. South of Klickitat are
some gates that are shut after daylight hours.
From here there are some nice views as the walls
of the canyon grow taller with as you bike downhill. If you look, you
can see a house on the rim of the canyon, but this is the last house for
Continuing down the canyon, the path is mostly sandy gravel but there are a
couple of 500 foot stretches of loose ballast. One of the trestles has been
covered with rocks washed into the canyon. A short pedal over rocks gets past
the washout. Pass over 3 trestles that aren’t covered with boards. Riding
across the ties is an interesting experience as you pedal across the open ties.
It is a little frightening bumping across the trestles. There are a few spikes
along the trail but very little glass.
After about 9.5 miles, the trees start changing
from Ponderosa Pines to Douglas Firs, with a lot of oak trees on the hills. Even
this far down the canyon, the creek is pretty small in the fall.
The path passes by a couple of old homesteads with a lot of derelict items in
At the next trailhead, you will find a KTC port-a-potty in the parking area.
From here, you have to take the road because about 2 miles downstream the
Subrubia bridge is missing.
To rejoin the trail, turn right onto Schilling Road and pedal a short distance
on the gravel, then left onto the paved Horseshoe Bend Road. Continue across
the concrete bridge over the Klickitat River and turn left onto SR 142. This
area along the river is the unincorporated community of Wahkiacus. From here, bike
3 miles downstream to the town of Klickitat.
There isn’t much of a shoulder and in some places there is no shoulder, but the
highway isn’t very busy
Just before the town of Klickitat look for the trail to leave the highway off
to the right. A good place is just before the caboose. You can stop at the
nearby Canyon Market for water or a snack. The trail goes through the town and
then crosses the road just a little bit outside of town.
The trail continues along the Klickitat River down towards the Columbia River.
You pass through a section where someone has planted hundreds of apple trees
along the trail. The trail narrows and goes over a nice little bridge with
The next short section of trail is a mountain bike trail as it twists and turns
through the woods and crosses small patches of mud. The trail goes up a small
hill and then rejoins the roadbed.
As Fish On Road, the trail crosses back over Highway 142 and continues to
parallel the river. Look down the dirt road for the continuation of the trail.
In the afternoon the sun settles behind the hills in the west, providing shade
along the trail.
This next section of the trail is across the river from Highway 142. The trail
passes several small farms along the river and passes through several gates
that can be left open during the day.
This section of the trail is in really nice shape and passes under oak trees
and cottonwood trees.
This trail is mostly easy with challenges along the way. At 8 miles from the
lower trailhead is a section that is washed out. There is a path up the hill a
bit and through the woods.
The route passes back into a forest of pine and oak as it gracefully follows
the river. Sometimes you hardly notice the gravel at all because the pedaling
is so easy and you can hear the sounds of the river whenever you stop to admire
Travelling down the trail is a little like travelling through time, seeing
pieces of the past poking through to the present, like parts of old railroad
ties, railroad spikes, rusty bolts, and metal plates. There are even old apple
trees that were loved in the past but are now abandoned to time.
There is a narrow section of trail around 5 miles from the lower trailhead
where the river is slowly washing away the railroad bed. It looks like each
large flood will successively wash away more of the trail until it is gone. You
will want to check trail condition to be sure this section is open. If it
washes out, the steep cliffs along the trail will prevent a detour.
At 2 miles from the lower trailhead, there is a road for the Klickitat Fish
Hatchery which you cross, then cross a small patch of loose gravel and continue
along the well-packed path.
Pass over the Fisher Hill Trestle over the Wild
& Scenic Klickitat River. The trestle has been renovated with a concrete
deck and sturdy railings. From here it is an easy ride paralleling Highway 142
down to the lower trailhead. The trail is well packed gravel all the way down
to the Lyle trailhead.
Enjoy the photos!!
|(Read More... | Score: 0)|
|Dayhikes: Otter Bench, OR|
Monday, October 22 @ 13:48:30 PDT by Drew (795 reads)
|Vicinity Location: The trailhead is about 120 miles southeast of
Portland, Oregon near the Crooked River Ranch.|
From Portland, drive east on Highway 26, then take
Highway 97 South. The drive from Portland is about 150 miles. Turn right just
before Terrebonne onto NW Lower Bridge Way and drive 2.2 miles, following the
signs to Crooked River Ranch.
Turn right onto NW 43rd St Continue to drive 1.8
miles and turn left on Chinook Drive.
Drive past Crooked River Ranch and follow this
main road as it changes names from Chinook Drive to Club House Rd, to SW Ranch
House Rd, to N Hill Rd, to Back Hill Rd, to SW Horny Hollow Trail, passing the
golf course and club house. Follow SW Horny Hollow Trail to the end of the road
where the parking area and trailhead is.
The drive from Hwy 97 to the trailhead is just
about 10.8 miles.
There are no restrooms at the trailhead.
No permits are needed to park at trailhead.
Otter Bench Trail, Horny Hollow Trail. Opal Pool Loop Trail, and Pink Trail with
connections to Lone Pine Trail.
The Horny Hollow Trail is closed from February 1st through August 31st
for wildlife habitat.
There is a geocache at: N 44° 28.851 W 121° 18.237
Topo Map, Download
Garmin .gpx file
9 Miles Roundtrip for the loop. Elevation at the trailhead
is 2,400 feet, Elevation gain totals 1,129 feet. Total gain and loss is 2,258
feet. Highest elevation is 2,600 feet.
Review: October 21, 2012.
This trail is popular with horses and mountain bikes. If you hear horses, or
see them coming, it is common courtesy to step about 20 feet off the trail on
the downhill side and let them pass. You probably can use a break from your
To start on the
Otter Bench Trail, bear to the left and climb gently uphill. It goes on a
fairly sandy trail, past many juniper and sage plants. You can smell the sage
as you’re walking along.
Climb up above the flat bench and level out for a while. Beware this is
rattlesnake country and certain times of the year the snakes will be out.
After travelling about 1.6 miles, gently go downhill a bit through the
junipers, sagebrush, and grasses. At 1.8 miles you reach the junction with the
Pink Trail. This trail is a .75 mile descent down to the river and is only open
to hikers. Follow this trail a short way for views of the river and rapids, or
all the way down to the river.
The Pink Trail drops rapidly down into the Crooked River Gorge. The sound of
the nearby rapids provides a pleasant backdrop as you descend. In some spots
there are rock stairs that have been built and at another place the trail has
been so used over time that a rut has been worn into the softer rock.
At the bottom, enjoy the sounds of the river and gaze into the emerald water of
the river. This looks like a fantastic swimming hole on a hot day, though the
current is fairly swift.
The way back up is oh so much slower than the way down. Be sure not to put your
hands anywhere that you can’t see your handhold, in the event of a rattlesnake
sunning itself just where you want to put your hand. In fall of 2012 a hiker was
bitten doing just that.
Back at the trail junction, turn right and go gently uphill on an abandoned
road. The trail tops out and goes underneath some spectacular cliffs of
columnar basalt. From here the cliffs below partially obscure the river but you
can still hear the rapids. Continue to the next junction, which is another loop
with an overlook of Lake Billy Chinook.
About 3 miles from the trailhead you come to the next junction. Turn left,
heading for the overlook of Lake Billy Chinook. Taking this trail will get most
of the elevation gain completed in the first part of the hike. The trail rises
gently away from the junction, crossing a gently sloping hillside.
Reaching the point where the trail loops for the return, there is not a very
good view of Lake Billing Chinook. You can wander off trail for about .7 mile
and get a great view of the lake.
To get to the viewpoint, look for the user trail that leads north and follow
that for about .3 mile. Use your route finding skills to find a large grove of
junipers. From there, use the compass or GPS. For the GPS navigate to N 44° 30.025’ W 121°
17.24’ and for the compass, set a bearing of 72°
The Opal Pool Trail stays fairly level for about the first .75 mile, then
gently starts climbing up to the connector trail. The trail is about midway
between the canyon and the cliffs to the right, and goes through an open
Soon the trail rejoins the connector trail and you continue generally south,
heading upstream. At the next junction is the Horny Hollow Trail, which is the lower
trail and is seasonally closed. Take a left and walk down towards the river.
Note this is the other end of the trail that is closed seasonally.
Just where the trail approaches the river, is a place to wander to the edge and
view the rapids and river at the bottom of the canyon. Across the river, near
the rapids, is a great formation of columnar basalt that you can admire before
continuing back to the trailhead. This section of trail is more of a road, but
it is easy to walk on.
The lower route approaches the edge and it is a great place to take a break for
a snack or lunch. There are great views of the river as it flows through the
canyon, as well as sheer cliffs of columnar basalt. From here it is a short
walk back to the trailhead, so head on along the road to finish the hike.
This is a good trail to hike when there is cloudy
weather, though mountain biking is a great alternative. Pink Trail and the user
trail to the viewpoint are not mountain bike accessible.
Watch out for snakes and remember this trail is popular
with mountain bikes and horses.
Enjoy the photos!!
|(Read More... | Score: 0)|
|Dayhikes: Smith Rock State Park, OR|
Tuesday, September 18 @ 09:34:11 PDT by Drew (932 reads)
trailhead is about 114 miles southeast of Portland, Oregon at Smith Rock State
From Portland, drive east on Highway 26, then
take Highway 97 South. Turn left at Terrebonne, following the signs to Smith
Rock State Park.
There are restrooms at the trailhead.
Note: An Oregon State Park permit is required to
park at trailhead.
Smith Rock Trail, Summit View Trail, and Misery
Ridge Trail with connections to other trails.
There is a geocache at: N 44° 22.132 W 121°
08.475 Info at Geocaching.com
, Download Garmin .gpx file
9.2 miles Roundtrip for the loop. Elevation at
the trailhead is 2,830 feet. Elevation gain totals 2,040 feet. Total gain and
loss is 4,080 feet. Highest elevation is 3,560 feet.
Adding trip up Misery Ridge is 1.3 miles roundtrip from the bridge and 900 feet
gain with an additional total of 1,800 feet of elevation gain and loss.
October 20, 2012.
From the main trailhead, take any trail down to
a meadow and picnic area next to a footbridge that crosses the Crooked River.
There is a water fountain to the right of the bridge seasonally. Take time to
admire the views as you cross the bridge. Take a left after the bridge and walk
along the relatively flat trail that wanders along the picturesque Crooked
River. The river makes very pleasant sounds as it gurgles through the canyon.
Going along Smith Rocks you’ll pass many
different kinds and colors of rocks, from breccia to rock cliffs the color of
malachite, to cliffs tinged with reds and browns. A perfect place for a fall
hike on this wide, well maintained trail.
After following the river downstream for 2.4 miles and around a horseshoe bend,
you reach the junction for the Mesa Verde Trail, which goes over Smith Rock.
From here, continue along the river, passing Monkey Face rock.
The trail remains in the flood plain for the Crooked River for a bit more,
until 2.9 miles from the trailhead, where you reach the 2nd junction
for the Mesa Verde Trail.
From here, The Summit Loop Trail, a lesser maintained trail, begins to ascend,
drifting away from the river. After a short time you reach the beginning of a
newly constructed trail continues to climb away from the Crooked River. As you
walk up the winding path, you pass among the juniper and underneath the
many-colored and textured pinnacles at Smith Rock State Park.
After walking just over 3.25 miles and climbing up above the river, the trail
turns to the right, crossing an easement across private land and away from the
river. Here the view change and suddenly everything looks much drier than down
by the river. Follow the sandy route as it continues gently uphill as the trail
winds up a draw and reaches a junction near the top of the draw. Turn left,
heading north, and continue climbing just a bit over a hump, then drop down a
little. The views here look down into the valley and of the Three Sisters to
the southwest and the cone of Black Butte to the west.
Soon you begin a climb of at least a dozen switchbacks going up to one of the
highest points in the park. Eventually you reach an old road that goes through
a saddle. There are some nice views down into the park, but also some cliffs
near the edge of the trail. This is the highest point along the trail.
From the saddle, at about 5.2 miles from the trailhead, drop down along Burma
Road and cross over an irrigation canal, and follow the canal as it winds out
of the park. For a shorter trip, turn right about 500 feet after crossing the
canal, where the road bears left. Drop down into the valley and follow the
Crooked River back to the trailhead.
From here you can see one of the parking areas a short distance away, a short
distance if you are a bird, because the Crooked River and basalt cliffs are
Continuing on the longer route, follow the road along the irrigation canal for
.7 mile, enjoying nice views of the hills to the left. Look for a large boulder
that is between the upper and lower road. When you get to the boulder, look for
a small user trail that goes to the left of the rock and join the lower road.
Turn right here and walk along the lower road for about .3 mile. Look for a
tiny user trail veering off about 90 degrees from the road on the left. If you
have small children, it is best to walk back along the road and bypass this next
section of the trail. Otherwise, walk gently downhill about 500 feet to the
edge of the canyon and turn right, heading back towards the trailhead. This
trail down to the canyon can be indistinct at times, so if you lose the trail,
bear slightly to the right as you walk downhill. Remember to watch out for
This next section of trail is right along the edge of basalt cliffs and
provides nice views looking down on the river. After walking about .5 mile, the
trail turns to the right and joins the Student Wall trail then descend steeply
down a small valley. Pick your way down a few switchbacks to the junction of
Burma Road and Student Wall Trail.
Continue down a bit farther is the junction for Wolf Tree Trail. Turn right and
walk along the river, admiring the variations of the different peaks in Smith
Rock State Park. Going downstream the trail closely parallels the river and
passes under a large pine tree with an inviting bench to sit on.
From here, continue along the mostly level flood plain back to the bridge over
the Crooked River and back uphill to the parking lot, or turn right and take
the Misery Ridge Trail.
The Misery Ridge Trail climbs steeply using a few hundred stairs and many
switchbacks. After gaining about 900 feet in elevation, you top out on the rock
with a nice view of the countryside. Walk along the trail, heading generally
south and get a nice view of Monkey Face. Head back down to the bridge the way
you came up.
This is a “must hike” trail. It is best in the
spring or fall and the rocks look their best in the early morning light.
Sunrise is an especially nice time to watch the changing colors of the rocks as
the sunlight plays across the rocks.
Enjoy the photos!!
|(Read More... | Score: 0)|
|Dayhikes: Horseshoe Ridge, WA|
Tuesday, September 18 @ 09:33:44 PDT by Drew (990 reads)
The trailhead is about 38 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
From Battle Ground, WA, take Hwy 503 North to Chelatchie Prairie. Turn East (right) at the Chelatchie Prairie General Store and gas station, onto NE Healy road. The store is on the northeast corner of Hwy 503 and NE Healy road. NE Healy road changes into Forest Road 54 after a few miles.
Follow this route for about 9 miles from the general store. Look for the “pavement ends sign” and turn left, uphill, on FR 57.
After another mile turn left again onto Rd. 5701. The road may be unsigned but it is the junction just past a quarry on the left. Follow this mostly paved road to the trailhead in a little more than 4.9 miles from the junction with FR 57.
Even though the high point on the road is less than 2000 feet in elevation, late winter snow can block this road. This is because after it crosses a ridge, the road is in the shade as it drops down to the trailhead.
Call the Gifford Pinchot National Forest for current information at (360) 891-5000 or visit the Gifford Pinchot Recreation webpage
for the road and snopark information.
There are no restrooms at the trailhead. The nearest bathrooms are at the Mt. St. Helens Monument Headquarters in Chelatchie Prairie (Amboy).
Note: No permits are required to park at the trailhead.
GPNF Trail 130 and 140.
There is a geocache along trail 130 at: N 45° 57.645 W 122° 08.309 Info at Geocaching.com
, Download Garmin .gpx file
Length and Elevation:
10.5 Miles Roundtrip for the loop. Elevation gain totals 3,500 feet. Total gain and loss is 7,000 feet. Highest elevation is 3,345 feet.
October 13, 2012.
From the main trailhead at Siouxon Creek, follow the trail gently downhill to the left for about 100 feet to a junction for the Siouxon Creek trail. As of this review, the trail sign has been shot several times. Turn right at the junction and continue gently downhill. Soon the sounds of a tributary to Siouxon Creek can be heard. The wide, well maintained trail leads to a log bridge over the small creek after about .1 mile. The water of the stream is crystal clear and flows about 10 feet below the single-log bridge.
Soon the trail passes a camping area that is used heavily during the summer by car campers. The trail goes along the creek, through an open second-growth forest. The understory here is mainly ferns and apple clover.
At a junction in about .75 mile, a small trail parallels Siouxon Creek trail for about .2 mile, passes a small campsite, and ends at the junction for the Horseshoe ridge trail.
Turn right and you’ll know you are on the correct trail because as soon as you start, the trail begins climbing steeply away from Siouxon Creek. The first part of the trail is well maintained. Several work parties have cleared deadfalls off the trail during the last few years.
The trail bolts up the hill, like a lightning bolt with short, jagged switchbacks which almost seem vertical. After trudging upwards for more than an hour, you get a short break in the climb as you reach a shoulder on the ridge, but you’re not nearly done with the ascent.
The trail veers to the left and keeps climbing up the ridge, though not quite as steeply as on the lower section. Now at about 4,000 feet, there are a few huckleberries, Oregon grape, salal, and mosses, but not much else. The canopy of the hemlock and the elevation have combined to choke out most of the undergrowth.
After a moderate amount of elevation gain, the trail yet again hits another very steep climb. This hike is a strong workout for your calves, stretching them tight with every step.
After walking about 1.8 miles, the trail passes a rocky promontory that has some views on a clear day. Eventually the trail breaks out to a vista looking south, then continues along the spine of the sawthtooth ridge without the aid of switchbacks.
2 miles from the trailhead, the trail begins to level out but still has some short steep sections and even some short descents. Travel below the ridgeline for a bit, avoiding some of the knobby, worn-down teeth of Horseshoe Ridge. All too soon the trail climbs and crests the ridge again, continuing northwest.
At 2.4 miles, walk past kinnikinnick and a carpet of juniper as you got through a couple of tiny mountainside meadow which have some views to the northeast.
The trail here is not as steep but still climbs gently towards the high point the trail, 2.5 miles from the trailhead at 3,345 feet in elevation. In another .5 mile, cross two more meadows with kinnikinnick, juniper, and short grasses, with views to the northeast. Pay attention along this section because even a small layer of snow on the ground will cover any traces of the sketchy trail in the second meadow. If you are looking for where the trail reenters the woods, look level, or just slightly uphill.
Fog and mist enveloped me as I re-entered the forest and the dank forest felt ominous with trees leaning over the trail with dead branches dangling down about head and shoulder level, like they’re waiting to grab you as you walk through the dim forest. Other trees crouch near the ground, waiting for their chance to trip you, as you try to avoid the grasping branches. Dark ominous roots have crept into the trail from deep in the ground, waiting for their chance to seize your boot as you hurry by in the ever increasing gloominess.
Other branches scrape across your neck as you begin to worry if anyone would ever find you if something happened to you on this spooky trail. Other branches bar you way, hoping to draw a drop of blood as you push by, seeking to find the end of this gloom.
After escaping the clutches of the eerie forest, one last trick has been played. The trail builders built in another 100 feet of gain before beginning a gradual descent.
After dropping down for a bit, pass by a hunting camp, climb a bit, then drop down to an old road. Turn left at the road and walk about 100 feet to where the trail goes back into the woods.
At first the trail descends gradually, crossing a steep slope on a very narrow tread. After about a mile, the trail drops sharply down towards Siouxon Creek. After about .6 mile of sharp descent, the way gets easier and the tread becomes wider. Switchback down to the Siouxon Creek Trail and turn left, heading back towards the trailhead.
Walk a little more than 2 miles, passing Siouxon Creek Falls and Horseshoe Creek Falls, watching out for mountain bikers.
This is a difficult trail with the rapid elevation gain, the many deadfalls that seem to plague this trail, and the sections of narrow tread. This is a great trail for a good workout or conditioning hike. You could go for a dip in the cold Siouxon Creek if hiking this on a hot day.
Enjoy the photos!!
|(Read More... | Score: 0)|| |
|Tuesday, September 18|
|·|| Glacier Basin, WA |
|·|| Emmons Moraine Trail, WA |
|Tuesday, June 26|
|·|| Plaikni Falls, OR |
|·|| Garfield Peak, OR |
|·|| Sun Notch, OR |
|·|| Sweet Creek Falls Trail, OR |
|·|| Coldwater Lake, WA |
|·|| Triple C Trail, OR |
|·|| Table Mountain, WA (From the north) |
|Thursday, November 03|
|·|| Augspurger Mtn, WA |
|·|| Dry Creek Falls, OR |
|·|| Ramona Falls, OR |
|Tuesday, September 27|
|·|| Timberline Trail - Paradise, OR |
|·|| Falls Creek Falls, WA |
|·|| Starway, WA |
|Thursday, June 02|
|·|| McNeil Point via Top Spur, OR |
|·|| Cruzatt Ridge and Pancakes Ledge, WA |
|·|| Wilson River Trail - Elk Creek to Kings Mtn. Trailhead, OR |
|·|| Elk Mountain - Kings Mountain Loop, OR |
|·|| Coyote Wall, WA |
|One Day like Today...|