image_pdfimage_print

Notice: 11/24/2018 – This trail and many others in the Columbia River Gorge are closed until further notice, sometime in 2018 or later, due to the Eagle Creek Fire.

Vicinity Location:
65 miles east of Portland, Oregon in the Columbia River National Scenic Area.

Directions:
From Portland, Oregon, take I-84 east and take exit 58, Mitchell Point Overlook and drive uphill to the parking lot. There is no westbound on-ramp at exit 58. To return to Portland, merge onto I-84 east and drive towards Hood River. Take Exit 62, turn left at the stop sign. Cross over I-84 and take the next left and merge onto I-84 west back to Portland.

From Hood River, Oregon, take I-84 west to exit 56, Viento State park, and return to the freeway eastbound. For the return trip, merge onto I-84 east.

There is an outhouse above the parking lot and to the west.

No permits are required to park at the trailhead.

Length and Elevation:
Total length is 7.6 miles with a loop and an out-and-back trail to Wygant Peak. Elevation gain to Wygant Peak is 2,070 feet and 100 foot loss. Elevation at the trailhead is 140 feet, the high point is 2,214 feet.

Trail:
Wygant Peak Trail, Chetwoot Loop Trail. Connects to Mitchell Point Overlook Trail.

There is at least one geocache along this trail at: N 45° 41.756 W 121° 38.176 Info at Geocaching.com

Trail Maps:
Topo Map

History:

The Chetwoot Loop was constructed by volunteers headed by Basil Clark. The trail was named  for the Chinook word for bear. Basil encountered a bear while working on the trail and decided to name the trail Chetwoot. There were several hand-painted signs on this trail in the past, but I only found one of the trail signs as of this review.

Review: April 13, 2008

From the parking lot, walk west to a gated road. There should be a sign above the gate indicating this is the trailhead for Wygant trail. The road heads slightly downhill to the west. The road takes a left, goes uphill, and changes into a dirt road. The trail branches off to the right at the first turn of the road. The trail follows the stream a bit, then ford the stream on a narrow log. Continue through the woods to the west. The trail goes through nice second growth trees with Ladyslipper Orchid and Trilliums blooming in the springtime. The trail uses parts of the old Columbia River Scenic Highway for about ¼ mile then the trail leaves the road and goes up a small creek valley with a small waterfall. The stream splashing over the rocks makes the narrow valley feel cool. After hopping across the small stream, the trail ascends a couple of switchbacks and rounds a corner to head west. There are some views of the Columbia River through the trees. Now the trail levels off for a while until it reaches the junction for Perham Creek and the viewpoint. The trees at the viewpoint obstruct portions of the view, but there is still a nice view of the Columbia River through the trees.

Pass back under the Oregon White Oaks and return to the junction and head along the creek. The trail drops down to Perham Creek where you cross on a log bridge with railings on both sides. From there, the trail ascends up the hillside through the woods. The trail winds through the woods and comes to a junction. The branch to the right leads out to very nice, unobstructed views of the Gorge. Back on the trail, the trees have been cleared for a service road for the powerlines. Cross the road and continue along the powerlines for a short distance and then back into the woods on the trail. The trail switchbacks up the hillside to another junction. You can see there were viewpoints along this trail because there are old post and cable railings on a couple of the switchback corners. The trees have grown to block the views of the Gorge. To the right is a very nice viewpoint of the Gorge. This viewpoint is not for small children.

Back at the junction, continue on a few more switchbacks up to the junction for Wygant Peak Trail and the Chetwoot Loop Trail. From here, turn uphill to the right to climb the Wygant Peak Trail. The trail to the peak is an out and back trail. Looking at the map, the trail climbs several more switchbacks up to the peak. Expect some deadfall on the trail to deal with.

Returning to the junction of the Wygant Peak and Chetwoot Trail, head east on the Chetwoot trail for a bit of bushwhacking. About ¼ mile past the junction to Wygant Peak Trail are a few trees blocking the trail. One large tree has fallen down the trail and you have to navigate down the hill, through the brush, and back up the hill to the trail. The map notes this as waypoint “TREE”. I believe I walked through poison oak in this off-trail area.
The trail descends to Perham Creek and there is no bridge across the stream. Remember that the rocks in the water and the moss along the edge of this creek are extremely slippery and can offer poor footing for jumping and landing on the other side. The next obstacle is just up the hill where about 30 to 40 feet of the trail has slid away from the rock face of the valley. The water seeping out of the hillside makes this crossing a little slippery. This missing part of the trail will be difficult for inexperienced hikers and small dogs to negotiate.
After climbing up from the stream crossing, the trail descends along the rim of Perham Creek Valley. This is a rustic trail with twists and turns to avoid trees and rocks. There are wet spots in the winter and spring where water seeps from the hillside and trickles across the trail. Eventually the trail leaves the valley rim, descends through the woods, and comes back to the powerline. At the powerlines, turn right, to the east, walk about 75 feet down the service road, and look for the first small trail that goes downhill, into the woods. It is about a 90 degree left turn from the service road. From the powerline the trail goes through the woods and rejoins the main trail near the junction of the viewpoint and Perham Creek. Turn right and follow the trail
This loop trail is not recommended for small children or small dogs. The Chetwoot trail is narrow, there are steep spots in the trail, the slide, and the large deadfall in the trail. Watch out for ticks in the brushy areas where you have to leave the trail. There is also poison oak on this trail and you’ll probably walk through it going around the deadfalls in the trail. This is a nice walk through the woods and a couple of nice viewpoints. Perham Creek pleasantly splashes along and both crossings are quite scenic.


Enjoy the photos!!

Switchback Steve