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Metro Area Hikes: Whipple Creek Trail, WA
Monday, January 06 @ 14:32:51 PST by Drew (660 reads)
Day hikes in the Northwest.Vicinity Location:
About 15 miles north of Portland, OR in Clark County.

From Portland, take I-5 North to Exit 9. Turn left on NE 179th St. and drive about 1.5 miles.
Turn left on NW 21st Ave, drive about .25 mile to the gravel parking lot.

No permits are required to park at the trailhead.

There are no restrooms at the trailhead.

Blue Trail, South Ridge Loop Trail, North Ridge Loop, Cedar Loop, Raspberry Lane with connections to various trails.

Trail Maps:
Topo Map - future, Whipple Creek Park Map from City of VancouverDownload Garmin .gpx file – future

Length and Elevation:
Distance is 1.7 miles. Trailhead elevation is 250 ft. There is 260 feet elevation gain and 260 feet of elevation loss.

Review: January 18, 2014.
There are many trails that connect to each other providing a variety of loops. Many of the trails are very muddy this time of year. Raspberry Lane and Cedar Loop trail are two trails that are nicely graveled.

Review coming soon

Waypoints coming soon.

Enjoy the photos!

Gallery Pics

Switchback Steve

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Metro Area Hikes: Tryon Creek, OR
Thursday, November 03 @ 08:37:01 PDT by Drew (5398 reads)
Day hikes in the Northwest.Vicinity Location:
About 5.5 miles south of Portland, OR.

From Portland, take I-5 South to Terwilliger Blvd. Take exit 297 and curve around to Terwilliger Blvd. Get into the right lane. From the traffic light, drive 1.6 miles, crossing over I-5, following signs for Terwilliger Blvd and Lewis and Clark College. Turn right to enter the park. The park address is 
11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd.
Portland, OR 97219

No permits are required.

There is a bathroom at this trailhead attached to the visitor’s center.

Dogs on a 6 foot leash are allowed. Bikes are only allowed on bike trails. The trails in this review are mostly for hikers only.

Hours for parking at trailheads vary. Hours at main parking lot are 7AM to Dusk.

The main parking lot can fill up on busy weekends so plan to arrive early or take a bus because there is not much alternate parking.

Maple Ridge Trail, Middle Creek Trail, Cedar Trail, Red Fox Trail, Old Main Trail, Trillium Trail with connections to multiple trails in the park.

There is at least one geocache for this trail at: N 45° 26.055 W 122° 40.681 Info at Geocaching.com.

Trail Maps:
Topo Map, State of Oregon Map, Download Garmin .gpx file

Length and Elevation: 2.5 miles round trip. Elevation gain of 590 feet and loss of 590 feet. . Elevation at the trailhead is 265 feet, highest point is at 300 feet. Lowest elevation is 200 feet.

Review: April 6, 2012.
The trailhead is at the north end of the main parking lot. It is off to the right just before the first parking spot on your right as you enter the main parking lot. There is also an equestrian parking lot which is reserved for equestrian parking only.

Follow the well traveled Maple Ridge Trail through the open forest. Stay on the Maple Ridge Trail and pass a junction for the North Horse Loops. You’ll then pass a patch of stinging nettle on the left and patches of coltsfoot covering the wetter areas along the trail. The understory is mainly Oregon Grape, Salmonberry, Salal, and Sword Ferns and of course Trillium in the spring.

After walking about .1 mile you will come to a kind of roundabout in the trail. Continue generally straight ahead on the Middle Creek Trail. Walking down the trail you’ll see a diversity of plants. This area is like a rainforest with the moss hanging down and draped all over the trees. The trail is compacted gravel with broken down leaves on top of the gravel. The trail is generally about four feet wide. The area is surprisingly quiet for being in the city. There really is no car noise and you can’t hear any freeway noise.

Just after crossing over two bridges, make a left onto the Middle Creek Trail for hikers. Shortly the trail uses a boardwalk to cross a very wet area. Skunk Cabbage blooms in the spring and Jewelweed in the summer. Towards the fall, touch the ripe Jewelweed pods to have them spring out their seeds in a mini-explosion. It is great fun for kids and adults. How does a plant build up that much tension in a seed pod? There is also buttercups and more stinging nettle along this part of the trail.

Early in the spring you may be able to smell the Skunk Cabbage. If you think you smell a skunk then you’ll know you are downwind from Skunk Cabbage. If you don’t know what Skunk Cabbage looks like, it has a yellow hooded flower about a foot tall in the spring and two foot long shiny leaves in the summer. It likes to grow in very wet areas.

As you’re walking, you may notice a parallel trail on the right. This is the West Horse Loop and it intersects a bit farther down the trail at a confusing junction of trails. At this junction has a sign that says Middle Creek Hiking Trail. Turn right and go over a small seasonal creek bridged by a culvert, walk across the horse trail, and look for Cedar Trail, a small trail that winds along the right edge of a small wet area. You will see the moss covered sign for the trail about 20 feet from the horse trail.

The Cedar Trail parallels a small creek for a bit then climbs and passes several groupings of trillium, Indian Plum, along with Cedar, Alder, and Fir trees. There are small meadows of Coltsfoot because the ground is so wet here. The trail climbs a bit more then drops down to cross Park Creek on Bunk Bridge. Park Creek is a lovely little bubbling stream with mosses and ferns all around.

Cross over the bridge and continue up, leaving the creek behind. Continue on the Cedar Trail, passing the junction for the Hemlock Trail on the right. This leads up to a trailhead with no parking.

The next bridge is over Red Fox Creek which is a small creek with a pleasant sound. Climb up the hill looking at all the moss draping down from the trees and listen to birds singing in the trees.

Walk through the pleasant forest for another .25 mile and drop down to Tryon Creek on the Red Fox Bridge. Trillium and Salmonberries bloom here early in the season.

Climb up a couple of switchbacks to the junction with the Old Main Trail. Turn right and continue back towards the trailhead and the Trillium Loop. Continue straight on the Old Main Trail past the junction to the Big Fir Trail.

This part of the trail is wide and mostly level which makes for an easy walk back towards the parking area. Take some time to turn right and walk along the Ruth Pennington Trillium Trail. Walk the lower and upper loops of the trail and learn names of some of the native plants of the area. The trail sports at least 40 signs naming different plants found in Tryon Creek State Park. This is a paved trail and is accessible to strollers and wheelchairs. There are also some benches where you can sit to enjoy the flora.

After completing the Trillium Trail you are at the south end of the parking lot. From here you can walk back to your car, tour the visitor’s center, or stroll along the brick walkway back to the trailhead where you started your hike.

This is a great spring hike or a hike on a cloudy day. It is a great hike for kids because the length of the hike can be changed depending on the weather and moods of the hikers.

Enjoy the photos!!

Gallery Pics

Switchback Steve

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Metro Area Hikes: Sag Ponds, OR
Tuesday, December 09 @ 08:33:55 PST by Drew (3706 reads)
Day hikes in the Northwest.Vicinity Location:
The trailhead is about 15.4 miles Northwest of Portland, OR.

From Portland, OR, At the junction of I-405 and Hwy 30, take exit 3 for Hwy 30 West. Drive past Corneilus Road as 12 miles northwest of Portland and continue for about another 6.5 miles. At 16.4 miles from the junction of I-405 and Hwy 30, trun left onto NW Rocky Point Road. This is just past a highway weighing station. After turning left onto NW Rocky Point Road, drive 1.4 miles up the road to the first blue gate and barrier on the left. Park in the small parking at the trailhead or drive up just a bit to another parking area on the right.

No permits are required.

There are no bathrooms at this trailhead.

Length and Elevation:
5.5 miles round trip. Elevation gain 450 Feet and loss 450 feet round trip. Elevation at the trailhead is 650 feet and the high point is 1,065 feet.

Unnamed logging roads with connections to other unnamed roads and trails.

Trail Maps:
Topo Map

A sag pond is defined as a small, permanent pond that is caused from a depression formed over a strike-slip earth crust fault or by a landslide that creates a natural dam which becomes filled with water.

Review: January 25, 2009
Walk past the blue metal gate and down the logging road. GPS coordinates are helpful due to the number of logging roads in the area.

The trail passes a second set of posts as the trail drops down to cross a small creek then begins to climb past a dead-end junction on the right. The road passes underneath a set of powerlines that will reappear a couple more times.

At .6 mile from the trailhead, the road climbs up to a ridge and passes waypoint JCT01. Keep to the right at this junction and cross over the ridge at .9 mile. A mountain bike trail crosses the road and the trail on the right will be used on the return trip. The road drops down and passes under the powerlines and there is a very nice view looking towards Portland.

At waypoint JCT02, .9 mile from the trailhead, is a Y-junction where you turn right and head uphill. Just past JCT02 is another dead-end road leading to the right. This section of the trail is gravelled with local basalt from the Tualatin Mountains. In places the rocks are packed so tightly it is like walking on cobblestones. The road is walked on and driven on enough so the grass in the road is short and there is no mud even in the rainy season.

Abouit 1.1 miles from the trailhead is the next junction, JCT03. This junction is where the return loop rejoins the trail. Head up the right fork and climb a fairly steep grade for the next .5 mile.

At JCT04, bear left.

At JCT05, bear left for about .1 mile to the high point of this hike. Wander off to the east for views of Portland. The views are becoming blocked by the douglas fir which are quickly reclaiming the clear-cut.

At JCT06, bear left, along a ridge and pass two roads that drop down into a clear-cut. The road has blackberries growing out of it, but this is the correct path.
Full Review by 2/28/2009.

At JCT07, the road makes a sharp left and you can see the remains of an old blue tarp in the distance. Turn right and look for flagging that marks a path into the forest. After about 100 feet, the trail becomes a soft path darkened by the close forest canopy. The trail drops fairly steeply for .3 mile with a clear-cut just to the east.

At JCT08 turn left.

At JCT09 bear left and return to JCT03.

Enjoy the Photos!

Gallery Pics

Switchback Steve

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Metro Area Hikes: Steigerwald Lake Trail, WA
Tuesday, December 09 @ 08:31:45 PST by Drew (4446 reads)
Day hikes in the Northwest.
Vicinity Location:
Steamboat Landing is about 15 miles East of Portland, OR, on the north shore of the Columbia River.

From Portland,
Take I-205 north across the Columbia River. Get into the right lane while crossing the river and take exit 27 for Washington State Route Hwy 14 East towards Camas. Take SR-14 East for 9.5 miles to Washougal, Washington.

Turn right at the traffic light at 15th St. This takes you into the parking lot for Steamboat Landing Park.

No permits are required to park at this trailhead.

Park Rules and Regulations:
Park Hours are 7 a.m. to dusk.
Animals have to be on leash. Sccoper laws are in-effect.
Swim at your own risk.

Toilets and water are available at the parking lot and at the east end of Cottonwood Beach.

Length and Elevation:
6.8 Miles roundtrip, Elevation gain and loss totals 30 Feet

Steigerwald Lake Trail trail with connections to Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail.

Trail Maps:
Topo Map, Clark County Map

This area of the Columbia River was a favored place of Native Americans for thousands of years. At the end of March, 1806, Lewis and Clark travelled to a "handsome prairie" two miles upriver from the mouth of Seal River (Washougal River) and directly across from the upper Quicksand River (Sandy River). They planned for just an overnight camp, but the next morning they encountered families of Indians descending the river from the Cascade region. The Native Americans were starving from a lack of food east of the Cascades. The Indians had eaten their dried salmon and the spring salmon run was late so they came to where the Sandy and Washougal rivers meet the Columbia.

The Corps of Discovery decided to camp near Cottonwood beach and "put in a store of meat" to prepare for their trip eastward. They stayed from March 31 to April 6, 1806 to re-provision and explore. The Corps of Discovery camped near Cottonwood Beach in Washougal. William Clark led a group explorers down the Columbia to map the mouth of the Willamette River, which they had missed on both their outward and return voyages.
While Clark was exploring the area, Meriwether Lewis supervised the reprovisioning and the braiding of rope from elk hides that would be used to portage their canoes over Celilo Falls when they reached the Columbia River Gorge. Clark mapped the region during their encampment and historians credit the campsite in Washougal as a key staging point for the Corps of Discovery's journey back to St. Louis, Missouri.

Excerpt from William Clark’s journal, March 31st, 1806, “we proceeded on about 2 miles above the enterance of this Seacalf river and imedeately opposit the upper mouth of the quick Sand river we formed a Camp in a Small Prarie on the North Side of the Columbia where we intend to delay one or two days to make Some Selestial observations, to examine quick sand river, and kill Some meat to last us through the Western Mountains which Commences a fiew miles above us and runs in a N. N. W. & S. S. E. derection.”

Review: January 19th, 2009. July 11th, 2010.
Hike, bike, or run along the north shore of the Columbia River with nice views of Mt. Hood on sunny days. Winds from the Columbia River Gorge can make this a very windy hike. Smells from the waste processing plant which is .4 mile from Steamboat Landing can make the first portion of the trail less than pleasant.

Start from waypoint THSL and head southeast. This trail has hardly any tree cover, which is a consideration on hot summer days. The trail goes along a dike and the openness affords views of Mt. Hood and the surrounding countryside. After about a mile, is waypoint CED at N 45° 34.076, W 122° 20.369. It is an open cedar structure called “Recognition Plaza”. It has signs talking about the Corps of Discovery and their encampment at nearby Cottonwood Beach.

Walk south on a short spur trail to Cottonwood Beach for pleasant views of the Columbia River and canoes made of concrete which look like dugout and native canoes which were described in the journals of Lewis and Clark. There are picnic areas along the beach where you can sit and enjoy the river traffic on plying Columbia River.

Continuing east on the trail for the next .7 mile, there are no views of the river and you pass by an industrial area on the left. The trail also passes more public access points then into the wildlife refuge. The trail passes a barn on the left which is about the last man-made structure to be seen. The nearby ponds and lakes along this part of the trail are part of a national wildlife refuge. The refuge is closed during bird migrations but there are still good views of the migrating birds from the trail.

The gravel trail continues east along a slough of the Columbia River, with Reed Island on the far side of the channel. You pass groves of cottonwood trees near the trail but they are too far away to provide much shade. Pick your spot to turn around and return to the trailhead. On the return to the trailhead, stop at the rest spots and read more about the Corps of Discovery.

This is a popular trail for people with dogs, so expect to see a few dogs off-leash. This trail is totally child friendly, but be cautions of currents, undertows, and dropoffs if you consider swimming. It may sound silly, but you should always wear a life jacket when swimming or wading in the Columbia where there is any current. The Columbia is a powerful river and swimmers drown from undertows nearly every summer.

Enjoy the Photos!

Gallery Pics

Switchback Steve

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Metro Area Hikes: Maple / Koenig Trail, OR
Friday, November 07 @ 14:37:51 PST by Drew (3640 reads)
Day hikes in the Northwest.
From Portland, OR, take West Burnside St.

From West Burnside St. and NW 15th Ave, go uphill for 2.6 miles and bear right onto NW Skyline Blvd. Follow NW Skyline Blvd. for 2.7 miles, passing NW Cornell Road and reaching NW Thompson Road. After passing NW Thompson Road, continue on NW Skyline Blvd. for .9 mile and turn left on NW Mears Dr., dropping down into Forest Heights Subdivision.

Park on NW Mears Dr. or one of the other side streets nearby. Walk back up to Skyline Blvd. and Thunder Crest Subdivision is across NW Skyline Blvd., just on the left. Walk .1 mile through the subdivision on NW Thunder Crest Road. The gray gate, at the end of the road on the right, is the trailhead.

Parking, hiker drop-offs and pick-ups are not allowed in Thunder Crest Subdivision.

Leash law and scoop laws are in effect for this trail.

No permits are required.

There are no bathrooms at this trailhead.

Length and Elevation:
4.5 miles round trip. Elevation gain 600 feet and loss 600 feet round trip. Elevation at the trailhead is 1,100 feet and the high point is 1,100 feet. The low point is 550 feet in elevation.

Fire Lane 3 Road, Wildwood Trail, Maple Trail, and Leif Erikson Drive.

Trail Maps:
Topo Map

Review: November 10, 2008
Walk to the gray metal gate at the end of Thunder Crest Road. Walk past the gate and down Fire Lane 3 for a few hundred feet and pass a second metal gate. The trail descends steadily and enters Forest Park after about .2 mile.

After about .5 mile from the gray gate turn right, towards the southwest, onto Wildwood Trail. Bicycles are prohibited on the Wildwood and Maple Trails but there is plenty of foot traffic on the Wildwood trail on sunny weekends.

After gently descending for about .1 mile, you reach the first switchback. Just down the trail a bit is a short connector trail to the Maple Trail. Stay on the Wildwood trail and turn right at this junction. The trail drops down, crosses a small gully, then climbs towards another ridge. This part of the trail is absent of any city noises. When you stop to listen, there aren’t any sounds from cars, trains, or mountain bikes.

The trail winds on a mostly level contour as it goes around the end of a ridge. This area is second growth forest with Cedars, fir trees, maple, alders, vine maples, salmon berries, sword, maiden hear, and bracken ferns. There are elderberry trees, thimbleberries, piggyback plants, nettles, and mosses. There are also some old growth trees scattered along this section of the trail.

About 1.5 miles from the junction of Fire Lane and the Wildwood Trail is the next junction, the Maple Trail at N 45° 33.139’, W 122° 45.498’. Turn left onto Maple Trail and head downhill. The trail switchbacks down into and then across a gully with a small stream in it then the trail switchbacks up the north side of the gully.

After a rain the trail has mud and puddles but the mud is only a couple of inches deep and the puddles are pretty small so it is fairly easy to negotiate through these with hiking boots.

After going on the Maple Trail for about .5 mile, you pass the lower junction of the Wildwood Trail connector trail at N 45° 33.252, W 122° 45.602.

After climbing up the north side of the gully, the Maple Trail is fairly level and there are some clearings below the trail that are open to the sky. The Maple Trail begins to go downhill and meets Leif Erikson Drive and Fire Lane 3. Cross Leif Erikson Drive and walk towards the log barricade. Maintenance vehicles are the only motorized vehicles allowed on Leif Erikson Drive but it is open to bicycles in addition to foot traffic.

The Maple Trail continues off into the woods past the log barrier. After about .4 mile on the Maple Trail, turn left on Koenig Trail and walk up to Leif Erikson Drive. Turn left at Leif Erikson Drive, walk about 150 feet, and turn right on the lightly used trail to continue on the Koenig Trail.

This section of the Koenig Trail climbs fairly steeply up a small ridge to the Wildwood trail. Turn left at the unsigned junction onto the Wildwood Trail.

After following the Wildwood Trail for about .6 mile, turn right on Fire Lane 3. Now comes the downside of this hike, which is steep trek back to the trailhead. Luckily the ascent doesn’t last very long, but the next few hundred feet of the trail are pretty steep.

Walk past the gates, back through the subdivision to return to your car.

This hike in Forest Park uses very heavily used trails and very lightly used trails. It is great for young hikers because there are shortcuts available if someone gets tired. It is a great experience for people learning to navigate with a map and compass or GPS because of the various trail junctions.

Enjoy the Photos!

Gallery Pics

Switchback Steve

(Read More... | Score: 0)

Random Photos

From: 2008 John Muir Trail Adventure

From: Timberline Trail 2004

Innovative trail sign along the Steigerwald Lake Trail in Washougal, WA.
Innovative trail sign along the Steigerwald Lake Trail in Washougal, WA.
From: Steigerwald, Lake, WA

As the lava flowed through the tube, the top of the lava cooled and made ledges.
As the lava flowed through the tube, the top of the lava cooled and made ledges.
From: Ape Cave, WA

Stellar's Jay next to the Nisqually River near Cougar Rock Campground.
Stellar's Jay next to the Nisqually River near Cougar Rock Campground.
From: Paradise River Snowcamping

Previous Articles
Thursday, October 23
· Fire Lane 12, OR
Monday, September 15
· Salmon Creek Trail, WA
Wednesday, July 23
· Lacamas Heritage Trail, WA
Wednesday, February 27
· Leif Erikson Trail, OR
Friday, January 25
· Portland Eastbank Esplanade, OR
Friday, April 07
· Battle Ground Lake, WA
Monday, June 13
· Bells Mountain Trail, WA
Monday, July 21
· Burnt Bridge Creek Trail, WA

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