Notice: 9/24/2019 – This trail and many others in the Columbia River Gorge are closed until further notice, sometime in 2020 or later, due to the Eagle Creek Fire.
From Portland, OR, take I-84 east past Troutdale and take the Warrenton/Dodson exit, exit 35. Turn left at the stop sign towards Dodson. After about 150 feet, turn right on Frontage Road towards Dodson. Drive 2.2 miles to the parking lot at Yeon State Park. To return, you can go back on Frontage Road or merge into the eastbound lane of I-84 and turn around at the next exit.
No parking permits are needed.
No outhouses are at the trailhead.
Length and Elevation:
10.2 Miles total, Total elevation gain 3,880 feet. High point on the trail is 3,872 feet.
Nesmith Point Trail #428. Connections to trail #400, #425, #430.
There is at least one geocache along this trail at: N 45° 35.280 W 122° 00.436 Info at Geocaching.com
Review: June 15, 2008
Note: This trail has steep switchbacks and some deadfall to negotiate.
From the trailhead, pause to look at the wood water tank at the first turn. You’ll see the supply pipe further up the trail. About .1 miles up the trail, turn right at the junction onto trail 428. About ½ mile up the trail you’ll come across an old water pipe popping out of the ground. If you listen you may hear water coursing through the rusty steel supply pipe for the water tank.
After that, the trail parallels the stream for s short time, drowning out most of the traffic noise. The trail crosses a small step-across stream and continues up. The first views of the gorge are available after negotiating a couple of switchbacks and opening out onto a couple of scree fields. As usual in the Gorge, watch out for the poison oak growing along the trail where the sun shines onto the rocky parts of the trail.
This trail has some of the steepest switchbacks of the popular trails in the Gorge. The trail continues to climb multiple, steep switchbacks and crosses more scree slopes and boulders in the trail from a landslide. It is easy to pick your way among these tent-sized boulders.
Eventually the trail comes out at the top of a rockfield, turns south, and goes through a less dense forest. The grade of the trail also changes to a moderate slope with no more switchbacks.
After continuing to climb, you reach a junction in the trail to the right, uphill, to Nesmith Point Road and from there, walk up the old fire road to Nesmith Point. A small landslide has made a clearing that provides nice views of Silver Star mountain to the north. If you walk east a bit more is the spot where the fire lookout used to be. A nearby boulder has a block of concrete used for a guy wire. The lookout is mostly overgrown now and you can enjoy the forest from a small flat clearing.
Descending from Nesmith Point, plan to make a short side trip on trail #425. Turn right at the junction, or follow the old road down to the trail junction sign and bear southwest, then northwest along the trail to a very find viewpoint about ½ mile from the junction. There is a second, smaller viewpoint about 200 feet farther west. Enjoy the view of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams before taking the trail back to trail 428 and back to the trailhead.
This trail is not suitable for small children due to the steepness of the trail and the steep slope the trail ascends. Also, the clearings at the top are due to landslides and hikers must use caution so they don’t slip off the edge.
Enjoy the photos!!