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Dayhikes: Yoc-um Ridge, OR
Tuesday, August 12 @ 14:37:58 PDT by (16 reads)
Day hikes in the Northwest.Drew writes "Notice: 8/13/14 - A severe thunderstorm swelled streams on Mt. Hood and washed out the bridge over the Sandy River. One person on the bridge was swept away and died according to local news sources. This trail is not suitable for inexperienced hikers at this time. Trip reports show that fallen trees have been used to cross. The river can swell to uncrossable levels on hot or rainy days.

Vicinity Location:
The trailhead is about 42 miles southeast of Portland, Oregon in the Mt. Hood National Forest

From Portland take I-84 East to the Wood Village, exit (16A). Head south and turn left onto NE Burnside Rd. Heading East, Burnside will merge into Highway 26. 

Follow Hwy 26 for 26.8 miles to Zigzag. When you drive past Welches, you are getting close to Lolo Pass Road. East Lolo Pass Road is just after the Hoodland Fire Station and Salmon River Road, which are both on the right and the Zigzag Mountain Store on the left. Turn left onto E. Lolo Pass Road and follow the twisty paved road for about 4.2 miles and turn right onto a paved road, just a little past the end of the road maintenance sign. 

About 4.9 miles from Hwy 26, turn right and cross over the Sandy River. At about 5.3 miles is a brown road sign. Continue straight, towards the Ramona Falls Trailhead, passing the junction on the right. 

At 6.6 miles is another junction and sign for the Ramona Falls Trailhead. Turn left at the junction with Forest Service Road 1825 and continue on the single lane paved road. Watch out for some fairly big potholes in the pavement.

The road leads to a large gravel parking area. The trailhead is on the right side of the parking area.

A wilderness permit is required. The free self-registration for a wilderness permit is about 200 feet from the trailhead along the trail.

Bathrooms are available in the summer.

A Northwest Forest Park permit is required to park here.

The access road to this road is closed during the winter.

Length and Elevation:
19 miles roundtrip, elevation gain 4,000 feet and loss 370. Total gain and loss is 8,740-feet. Trailhead elevation is 2,450 feet, Ramona Falls is at xx feet. The high point of the trail is 5,960 feet.

Ramona Falls Loop Trail #797, Yo***** Ridge Trail #771,Timberline Trail #600 and overlapping with the Pacific Crest Trail #2000.

There is at least one geocache for this trail at: N 45° 23.215 W 121° 49.876 Info at Geocaching.com.

Trail Maps:
Map - Future, Download Garmin .gpx file - future

Review: August 8, 2014
The trail enters the woods and leads past the Wilderness area registration box. The wide trail comes out to the bank of the Sandy River. You can see evidence of erosion and undercutting. Don’t venture too close to the edge of the bank. It could collapse if you get too near the edge.

After walking along the river, the trail comes to a crossing of the Sandy River. The old bridge has been washed out and now there is a  seasonal bridge which is removed in the late fall.

In 2011 there were a couple of downed trees that could be used for crossing the stream. Au-natural log crossings become dangerous after the tree has been dead a couple of years because the bark can suddenly, and without warning, slough off when you walk across the log. If the seasonal bridge is gone, the logs are gone, or crossing on the logs is too dangerous, then the creek is about a knee-deep ford. You can’t see the bottom of the stream because of the glacial silt.

Continue upstream about .25 mile to the junction of Ramona Falls Loop and the Pacific Crest Trail. Turn left at this junction and continue up the trail. The trail to the right is the return trail.

After walking about .5 mile through the pleasant forest, over Ramona Creek, and along the gently rolling landscape, you come to another junction, JCRF1, on the Ramona Falls Trail. Turn right and walk past a horse gate, a fence built to stop horses, and continue just a few hundred feet farther along, to another trail junction. A small trail leads off to the left to a hiker bridge over the Muddy Fork of the Sandy River and then to the Pacific Crest Trail. From the junction, the main trail continues southeast towards Ramona Falls gaining only about 400 feet in the next mile. The trail parallels Ramona Creek for much of the next mile, crossing over the creek a couple of times. The creek may be the prettiest in the fall when the golden leaves fall along the trail and into the stream.

The trail passes a junction to the Timberline Trail just before Ramona Falls. Just downstream of Ramona Falls is a very nice log bridge over the creek. On the other side of the bridge is an area that has been trampled of most vegetation but is a lovely spot to watch the falling water.

The 120 foot waterfall cascades down a blocky basalt cliff and the water fans out across the face of the falls. This cascading water makes a wonderful sound and with the water falling down the rocks there is a below average amount of spray from the falls which allows you to linger near the falls without getting soaked from the spray.

Crossing back over the bridge, walk a couple hundred feet to the junction to the Timberline Trail and turn right, heading uphill. In about .2 mile is the junction to the right for the Yo***** Ridge Trail. Turning right, you walk along the side of the ridge and continue to gain elevation.

At about 6.5 miles from the trailhead you come to another big boulder field where you get a glimpse of Mt. Hood and the Sandy River off to your right. At 7 miles you pass by a small mountain stream where you could get water. It looks like you could camp here but there is a no camping sign on a tree. Take a break at the edge of the small meadow then continue up the trail.

The trail continues to gently climb and you go to the north side of the ridge.  Just before it bends back into the trees there are nice views of Mt. Adams, Mt.Rainier, and Mt. St. Helens.  Soon the trail goes back across the ridge and switchbacks to gain elevation. After climbing for a half mile you pass by the base of the boulder slope. The trail makes a large switchback and crosses right at the top of the boulder field which provides a view to the northwest. Though there are no mountain peaks from the boulder field, there are forested ridges fading of into the distance.

After walking for about 8 miles, the trail comes out of the trees and crosses sloping mountain meadows and the magnificence of the views increase with every bend in the trail. You soon pass a junction on the left and come to a precipice with views into the Sandy River canyon. From here you can see some nice waterfalls and glaciers hanging on Mt. Hood. As with many places on Mt. Hood, you will be visited with the biting black flies during most of the summer. The best you can do is not stop too long or too often and find resting spots in the breeze.

If you want to take in the fantastic views and make this your final destination, you can turn around here or if you desire, walk back to the junction, take the right fork and make your way along the meadow. Soon the trail starts dropping down to go underneath a rocky cliff then loops across the face of the ridge and bends around to more spectacular views of Mt. Hood. This is another good choice for a turnarouind spot. From here the trail climbs fairly steeply near the spine of the ridge.

Finally you get to a nice spot after working you way across a treacherous little ridge. There is a small mountain meadow here. You can hear streams in the distance and nearby you can see the Sandy Glacier to the right and the Elliot Glacier on the left side of the ridge.

From the top of the ridge, you can work your way down some snowfields and rocks to where melted snow comes out, then follow the stream to where it passes through a wildflower meadow and cascades down a rock face. From there, keep fairly level and follow the valley past some nice flat areas which are good for camping sites. You should find a way trail that will take you through a rock field and allow you to scramble up the hill a bit and reconnect with the trail.

The rest of the review will be coming soon.

Link to Photos

Switchback Steve


(Read More... | Score: 0)

Dayhikes: Dillon Falls, OR
Monday, April 28 @ 09:26:15 PDT by (194 reads)
Day hikes in the Northwest.Drew writes "
Vicinity Location: The trailhead is about 125 miles southeast of Portland, Oregon in the Deschutes National Forest. 

From Portland, drive to Bend, about 175 miles. From Bend, drive south onto Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway passing through several traffic circles. After the last traffic circle, continue on Cascade Lakes Highway / SW Century Dr for about 5 miles.

Turn left onto Dillon Falls Rd / NF-41 and continue for 2.6 miles.

Turn left onto Forest Road 4120 for .5 mile, and take the left fork to head south for 1 mile on Forest Road 4120 100. The road leads to a parking area just upstream from the falls.

There is a restroom at the trailhead.

From May 1 through September 30 $5 daily permit or a Northwest Forest pass is required. No on-site purchase for permits. No permits are needed to park between October 1st and June 30.

Dogs are allowed and have to be on-leash from May 15th to September 15th.


Deschutes River Trail.

There is no geocache on this trail, but there is farther up the Deschutes River Trail.

Trail Maps:
Topo MapDownload Garmin .gpx file

Length and Elevation:
1.3 miles roundtrip. Elevation at the trailhead is 4,050 feet. Elevation gain totals 100 feet. Total gain and loss is 200 feet. Highest elevation is 4,050 feet. 

Review: April 17, 2014.
Dillon Falls was named after Leander Dillon, a homesteader from the late 1800’s. The trail goes north towards Dillon Falls with a short side-trail to the river’s edge. Here the river spits water into the air during the spring runoffs. The river races over a series of small waterfalls and quickly drops about 10 and into a narrow canyon. Over the next quarter mile the river drops about 50 feet more. Follow the trail along the rim of the cliff as the Deschutes River is squeezed into a quarter-mile long chasm that is 40 to 60 feet wide. There are several nice views looking both upstream and downstream at the churning water.

After following the trail downstream for about .25 mile, there is a trail junction with steps leading to a trail that continues downstream along the bottom of the lava cliffs. Follow this for as long as you like. It eventually rejoins the upper trail.

The river fans out at the end of the canyon and this is a good place to turn around and return up the stairs.

Back at the junction, wander a bit more downstream for more nice views of the Deschutes

You can continue along the trail and go upstream and enjoy other views of the Deschutes River or return to your car.

This trail is good for children who have done some hiking and know to stay back from the cliffs and fast-moving river. Use caution with your pets as squirrels and other rodents can safely scamper over the edge of the cliff but your pet cannot.

Enjoy the photos!!

Gallery Pics

Switchback Steve


(Read More... | Score: 0)

Dayhikes: Memaloose Hills, OR
Monday, April 28 @ 08:34:15 PDT by (191 reads)
Day hikes in the Northwest.Drew writes "Vicinity Location: The trailhead is about 65 miles east of Portland, in the Columbia River Gorge.

From Portland, drive on I-84 East from Portland for about 65 miles, driving past Hood River.

Take exit 69 for U.S. 30 and drive towards Mosier for .2 mile.

Turn right at the stop sign onto U.S. 30 E and drive for about 2.8 miles,  passing through Mosier, to the parking area for the Memaloose Overlook.

There is no restroom at the trailhead.

No permits are needed to park here.

Length and Elevation:
Total length is about 1.5 miles. Elevation gain is 700 feet and 700 foot loss. Elevation at the trailhead is 200 feet. The high point is 900 feet.

No official named trails. The 1.5 miles is not the total length of this trail as there are connections to other trails.

There is at least one geocache for this trail at: N 45° 41.153 W 121° 20.364 Info at Geocaching.com.

Trail Maps:
Topo Map - future, Download Garmin .gpx file - future

Review: May 11, 2014
From the parking area along the road, find the signboard on the left side and walk a short distance downhill to an overlook with a stone railing. The overlook provides great views of basalt rock formations in the Gorge. From the overlook you can see the part of Memaloose Island that wasn’t covered when the Bonneville Dam was built, over 30 miles downstream.

Walk back across the road and watch out for bicycles speeding downhill. There is a fair amount of Poison Oak near the trailhead but very little once you reach the groves of oak trees.

This is one of the shadier hikes in the east end of the Gorge. You walk through and alternate landscape of lovely meadows and under old oak trees along a winding trail. Though the trail is fairly rocky with cantaloupe sized rocks poking above the soil, there are plenty of places where it is a dirt path with very few rocks.

The countryside is a carpet of green. Everything is green; the grasses, the lupines, the desert parsley, and the oak trees are that nice shade of new-leaf green with the wildflowers sprinkled throughout.
The nice breeze and rustling leaves makes you want to lie down and take a nap.

As you walk through the woods, the trail gently gains elevation, goes up a little bump, then traverses a flat meadow before dipping down and climbing again.

Continuing along the trail there is a seasonal creek to cross.

The birds, crickets, and wildflowers make for a delightful hike. For a Gorge trail, this is an amazingly level trail and is great for kids who know what Poison Oak looks like. As with any trail in the Gorge, beware of ticks along the trail and in the trees.

Enjoy the photos!

Gallery Pics - future

Switchback Steve


(Read More... | Score: 0)

Dayhikes: Horsethief Butte, WA
Monday, April 28 @ 08:26:15 PDT by (185 reads)
Day hikes in the Northwest.Drew writes "Vicinity Location: The trailhead is about 77 miles east of Portland, in the Columbia River Gorge.

From Portland, drive on I-84 East from Portland for about 65 miles, driving past Hood River.

Take exit 87 to Hwy 197 and drive 3 miles north to Highway 14 and turn right.

Go 2.8 miles, driving past the main entrance to Horsethief Lake State Park. Look on the right for the paved parking lot for the trailhead.

There is a restroom in the parking lot.

A Washington Discovery Pass is required to park here.

Length and Elevation:
Total length is 1.6 miles. Elevation gain is 220 feet and 220 foot loss. Elevation at the trailhead is 285 feet. The high point is 440 feet.

There is at least one geocache for this trail at: N 45° 38.849 W 121° 05.861 Info at Geocaching.com.

Trail Maps:
Topo MapDownload Garmin .gpx file

Review: May 4, 2014
From the trailhead, walk past the restroom and down the gravelled path. Pass by a wet area containing dogwood and wild roses. After a short distance the landscape becomes very dry and the soil turns dusty. You soon come to a junction. The left fork heads to the butte and starts climbing. In a very short time the trail runs out and you are forced to climb rocks to continue. This is a good place to turn around and walk back towards that first trail junction.

Continuing on the right fork of the trail, walk along the base of Horsethief Butte to another well-trodden junction and continue on the right fork, walking around the butte. There are really nice views of spring flowers with the Columbia River as a backdrop.

All too soon the trail starts passing through Poison Oak then ends at a precipitous drop. This is a good point to turn back, make your way back to the last main trail junction, and turn right to head up onto Horsethief Butte.

It is an easy but rocky walk that leads up and into the center of the butte. It isn't long before you start seeing rock climbers. This is a very popular spot for beginning rock climbers and there is a good chance you’ll see clusters of climbers learning the ropes.

You can walk all the way through the center of the butte. Near the far end of the butte there is an easy scramble up to the north rim of the butte, providing nice views of the lava cliffs to the north and the Gorge both east and west. Sit and watch the rock climbers then make your way back the way you came to the trailhead.

This hike has some shortcomings in that there isn’t a loop trail and the terrain is dry. There are some wildflowers but not carpets of wildflowers. The views are nice but not spectacular. What can make this an outstanding trip is to hike Horsethief Butte then drive west for 1.2 miles and turn left down into the park and view the petroglyphs that were rescued when the dams were built and parts of the Gorge were flooded.

Full review soon.

Enjoy the photos!!

Switchback Steve


(Read More... | Score: 0)

Dayhikes: Mitchell Point, OR
Monday, April 28 @ 08:25:15 PDT by (171 reads)
Day hikes in the Northwest.Drew writes "Vicinity Map: 52 miles east of Portland in the Columbia River Gorge.


From Portland, take I-84 east to exit 58.

The exit road leads to the parking lot.

To return to Portland, drive east to exit 62 for Hood River, cross over the freeway, and merge onto I-84 west, back to Portland.

No permits are needed for parking.

There is a restroom in the parking lot.

Length and Elevation:
Total length is 2.2 miles for the loop. Elevation gain is 1325 feet and 1325 foot loss. Elevation at the trailhead is 188 feet. The high point is 1,178 feet.

There are no geocaches on this trail.

Trail Maps:
Topo Map,  Download Garmin .gpx file

The Native American names for these prominent outcrops were called Storm King for Mitchell Point and Little Storm King for Mitchell Spur. The current name reportedly comes from an early trapper who lived in the area. In the 1940’s there was a roadhouse, service station, sandwich shop, and bungalows for rent at Mitchell Point.

Mitchell Point is composed of floods of dense layers of basalt lava that reached all the way to the Pacific Ocean. In this part of the Gorge, earth movements have tilted the earth by 30-degrees. This tilt is very apparent by looking at the layers composing Mitchell Spur. This tilt is also why the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge has more waterfalls than the Washington side of the Gorge.

The trail briefly follows a wagon road through the Gorge which was built in the 1870s.

Review: April 26, 2014
The trail meanders through the forest for several hundred feet, passing a few remnants of a powerhouse, then begins climbing several steep series of switchbacks up the rocky slope. After about .3 mile from the trailhead, there is a junction that drops off on the left. This leads to Mitchell Spur and is good for the return trip. Watch out for Poison Oak along the trail.

After about .4 mile from the trailhead, cross a talus slope with a nice field of spring blooming wildflowers. There are some nice views from the open slope but better views are ahead.

Back in the woods there are more spring wildflowers including Fairy Slipper, Prairie Star, and Oregon Grape. Continue climbing fairly steeply up towards the point.

In about .75 mile, you reach the powerline corridor with some nice views from a saddle. Of course the powerlines are part of the view. From here it is a short, fairly steep walk along the unprotected trail to the top of Mitchell Point. Spring wildflowers abound on the open slopes.

At the point there are great views all around. To the west, the Columbia River curves gracefully.

On the way back, take the junction out to Mitchell Point and return the same way to the junction. Continue back to the trailhead.

Full review soon.

Enjoy the photos!!

Switchback Steve


(Read More... | Score: 0)

Random Photos
'Da Man'
El Capitan
'Da Man' El Capitan
From: Jeff Furnia

From: Eagle Peak, WA

From: Timberline Trail 2004

From: PNWH Mar 19-21 2004

This bridge on the way up to Panhandle Gap was just about done as the water was working on it's supports.
This bridge on the way up to Panhandle Gap was just about done as the water was working on it's supports.
From: Mt. Rainier Wonderland Trail 2004

Previous Articles
Monday, April 28
· Benham Falls, OR
· Toketee Falls, OR
· Dalles Mountain Ranch, WA
· Mosier Plateau Trail, OR
Monday, January 06
· Indian Beach Trail, OR
· Greenleaf Falls, WA
Tuesday, September 03
· Whittier Ridge Trail, WA
Friday, February 15
· High Rock Overlook Trail, WA
· Pinnacle Peak Trail, WA
Monday, October 22
· Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail, WA
· Klickitat River Trail, WA
· Otter Bench, OR
Tuesday, September 18
· Smith Rock State Park, OR
· Horseshoe Ridge, WA
· Glacier Basin, WA
· Emmons Moraine Trail, WA
Tuesday, June 26
· Plaikni Falls, OR
· Garfield Peak, OR
· Sun Notch, OR
· Sweet Creek Falls Trail, OR

Older Articles

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