Living in the Pacific Northwest provides many early season hiking opportunities. Some folks like to go the the coastal range, my favorite destination is the Columbia River Gorge. With many hikes just an hour east of Portland and a higher percentage of likely sunshine the Gorge provides the landscape for some spectacular hiking. Over the past couple of weeks we hiked one of my favorites Angles Rest and added a new one to the list Herman Creek/Nick Eaton Ridge. Angles Rest is a comfortable 4.6 mile out and back hike. Elevation gain is 1880ft and the views from the top are awesome. We were welcomed with huge patches of star-flowered Smiliacina and trillium along the trail. And of course the panoramic view of the Gorge from the top. A quick bit to eat, soak in the view and we were back in the car all within 3 hours. A great hike if you are short on time but have to get on the trail.
Trailhead directions: Eastbound on I-84 Take Bridal veil exit # 28. The trailhead is south of the Historic Columbia River Highway, opposite the junction with the interstate access road in Bridal veil. Westbound I-84 Take Ainsworth State Park exit # 35 and follow the Historic Columbia River Highway for 7.1 miles (11.4 km).
This past Monday we ventured a bit further east on I-84 to Herman Creek trailhead were we hiked UP to Nick Eaton Ridge. The trailhead starts at Herman Ck. and splits .6 miles from the start and begins to climb. Elevation gain is 2800 in 2.6 miles. Bring a map because there are several trail junctions as this is a jumping off point for many hikes in the Gorge. Beginning with a cutoff to the Pacific Crest Trail (#2000), Gorge Trail (#400), Gorton Creek Trail (#408) Herman Creek Trail (#406) and Nick Eaton Way (#477). We did a loop starting on Herman Creek Trail and then turning left onto Gorton Creek Trail to a junction with Nick Eaton Ridge cutoff trail which climbs to the top of the ridge. We stopped for lunch before hiking down the 2800 ft. that we had just mastered. All in all a wonderful hike with many vista view points of Gorge and Bison Plateau to the west.
Trailhead directions:Take I-84 East from Portland about 40 miles and take exit 44 for Cascade Locks. Take the road through town, East, then under the freeway, continue East on the frontage road on the South side of the freeway for about 2 more miles to the Herman Creek Campground sign.
Ranger Contact: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, 503-668-1440