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First time in Oregon. Hiking suggestions

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First time in Oregon. Hiking suggestions

Postby Miroslava » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:00 am

Hello everyone on Pacific Northwest forum!
My parents and I will take a week long trip around Oregon and possibly Washington. We are very much into dayhiking, preferably with some elevation gain and beautiful views. Although I like cross country hiking, my father prefers to stay strictly on trail (class 1) especially when carrying me. We plan to spend a day at Crater Lake, a day in the area around Bend, 2-3 days in Portland/Columbia River Gorge area. No definite plans for 2-3 days beyond that.
We certainly want to hike up Mount Defiance, maybe Larch mountain. Another hike we are considering to do on a weekday is South Ridge of South Sister. Does it have a trail all the way to the top or is it mostly a scree slog?
We are really open to other opportunities and I wanted to ask for your suggestions. Something with 3000-5000 ft gain, 10-14 miles roundtrip preferably on trail. Having lakes, streams, waterfalls along the trail is a big bonus. We would love to visit Washington as well. Anything we simply must do that does not involve driving all day from Portland?
Thanks a lot!
Miroslava.
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Postby billisfree » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:16 pm

Over the years, I've been all over.

You're trying to cram a lot into a SHORT vacation. It's diffictult to enjoy the mountains on the fly.

I'll strongly suggest you not try Mt. Defiance... its a long drive to the far end of the gorge and a tough hike. It's mostly wooded, few waterfalls and HOT on top. Plus a 4,000 ft climb.
The view is good tho. You can drive to the top of that one from the backside.

Why not do Eagle Creek instead? There are more spectacular waterfalls. If that's too sissy, then start climbing up to the Benson Plateau (4,000 ft) up to the PCT. and loop around back to the trailhead. Carry a GPS if you do... it's kinda hard to find the trail forks on Benson Plateau.

If you hike up Eagle Creek, there's Tunnel Falls, Crossover Falls... only 5 miles one way. The drop-offs below are quite dizzying! It's a safe, flat trail - yet two ladies have been careless to slip and fall to their deaths on this trail in 2008. Just be sure-footed.

Munra Point is a very nice scenic climb... only 1,700 ft and definitely not for kids. But the view is fantastic! It's a relatively unknown trail.

I've done many of the gorge trails, but these two stand out as my favorites.

(pictures later)
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Postby BeDrinkable » Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:32 pm

The Bend area is great.

edit: just re-read your post. Yes, Middle Sister is a slog. Here is a trip report that might help you decide whether to tackle it.
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Re: First time in Oregon. Hiking suggestions

Postby Miroslava » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:54 pm

1000Pks wrote:I did a few trips to OR, all on my PTP website>Past Peaks Vacations. While I was unable to do many challenging hikes solo, I did some coast range peaks, like Kings and Elk Mountains, which may be too hot this time of year. Saddle Mountain is another good low one. I recommend seeing Silver Falls SP, and Multnomah Falls as well. Mt. St. Helens is not very far north, although I think that you need a good vehicle.

You'll have fun in OR, it's a beautiful state.


Thank you Pete. Going to Oregon and the first responce I get is from you back in California! I will check out Saddle Mountain, maybe we'll combine it with a visit to Cannon Beach. We are also thinking about visiting Multnomah Falls on our way to Larch Mountain. Where is the Silver Falls park?
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Postby Miroslava » Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:57 am

billisfree wrote:Over the years, I've been all over.

You're trying to cram a lot into a SHORT vacation. It's diffictult to enjoy the mountains on the fly.

I'll strongly suggest you not try Mt. Defiance... its a long drive to the far end of the gorge and a tough hike. It's mostly wooded, few waterfalls and HOT on top. Plus a 4,000 ft climb.
The view is good tho. You can drive to the top of that one from the backside.

Why not do Eagle Creek instead? There are more spectacular waterfalls. If that's too sissy, then start climbing up to the Benson Plateau (4,000 ft) up to the PCT. and loop around back to the trailhead. Carry a GPS if you do... it's kinda hard to find the trail forks on Benson Plateau.

If you hike up Eagle Creek, there's Tunnel Falls, Crossover Falls... only 5 miles one way. The drop-offs below are quite dizzying! It's a safe, flat trail - yet two ladies have been careless to slip and fall to their deaths on this trail in 2008. Just be sure-footed.

Munra Point is a very nice scenic climb... only 1,700 ft and definitely not for kids. But the view is fantastic! It's a relatively unknown trail.

I've done many of the gorge trails, but these two stand out as my favorites.

(pictures later)


Thank you very mush for a detailed response.
We might reconsider Defiance and do Larch (from the falls) instead. Eagle Creek is a good suggestion, can you see Mt Hood from Benson Plateau? How good is the trail back (Ruckel Ridge or Ruckel Creek)? Munra Point is out of the question. My mother will never allow it.
Last edited by Miroslava on Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Miroslava » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:04 am

BeDrinkable wrote:The Bend area is great.

edit: just re-read your post. Yes, Middle Sister is a slog. Here is a trip report that might help you decide whether to tackle it.


Thanks! Looks like too much scree. Beautiful though. Is it very loose? We might just start and see how it feels and go to Green Lakes if it is not safe.
Do you know if McLaughlin is any better? We wanted to do at least one volcanic cone.
Any other hikes in the Bend area really worth doing?
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Postby Miroslava » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:26 am

billisfree wrote:
You're trying to cram a lot into a SHORT vacation. It's diffictult to enjoy the mountains on the fly.



True. Having to do now with my parents' vacation. At least we will be hiking every day instead of just driving around from one tourist spot to another.
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Postby wkriesel » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:43 am

Hi,
My son and I did South Sister 3 years ago. He was 15 and I was 54. There is scree on the trail, but the summit view makes it worth it! If it is too much you can turn around, then drive to Mt Bachelor and take the ski lift up to altitude. Be careful because high mountains are addictive.
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Postby Miroslava » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:45 am

wkriesel wrote:Hi,
My son and I did South Sister 3 years ago. He was 15 and I was 54. There is scree on the trail, but the summit view makes it worth it! If it is too much you can turn around, then drive to Mt Bachelor and take the ski lift up to altitude. Be careful because high mountains are addictive.


Thanks! I am already addicted! I think we'll give it a try.
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Re: First time in Oregon. Hiking suggestions

Postby Miroslava » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:51 am

1000Pks wrote:AAA or Google Maps.

Otherwise, it's out of Salem, from I-5 take OR 22 east to 214. Few facilities along this way. Slow driving, too. Or, from Woodburn, you can take 214 (?) south/east to visit Mt. Angel and Silverton as well. Cool small towns. Road's less boring and not too bad driving. I did a loop.

That Seven Falls Trail there sounds pretty good if you can shuttle a car. South Falls is the best.


Thanks! We might check it out on the way back from Portland. Many places to go and not enough time!
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Postby oldandslow » Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:55 pm

Good hikes in the Bend area--Green Lakes and beyond (Beautiful trail along Fall Creek), Wikiup Plain, Broken Top Crater, Tam MacArthur Rim, PCT south of Mackenzie Pass (if the fire is out).
About half way from Bend to Portland by way of Santiam Pass is the Whitewater Road which goes to the trailhead for the Jefferson Park Trail. Jefferson Park is a special place at the base of Mt. Jefferson.
From Portland, as has been suggested, Eagle Creek in the Columbia River Gorge is really nice and you would have time to stop at some of the falls along the way. An excellent hike at Mt. Hood would be Cairn Basin with a side-trip to McNeil Point (an outstanding silver fir forest along part of the trail and then spectacular mountain views). The Top Spur trailhead is less than 1 1/2 hours from Portland. There are good day hikes at Mt. Adams along the Round-the-Mountain Trail but it is about 2 1/2 hours of driving each way. Silver Falls State Park should not be dismissed because it is a very worthy hiking area.
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Postby Miroslava » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:09 am

oldandslow wrote:Good hikes in the Bend area--Green Lakes and beyond (Beautiful trail along Fall Creek), Wikiup Plain, Broken Top Crater, Tam MacArthur Rim, PCT south of Mackenzie Pass (if the fire is out).
About half way from Bend to Portland by way of Santiam Pass is the Whitewater Road which goes to the trailhead for the Jefferson Park Trail. Jefferson Park is a special place at the base of Mt. Jefferson.
From Portland, as has been suggested, Eagle Creek in the Columbia River Gorge is really nice and you would have time to stop at some of the falls along the way. An excellent hike at Mt. Hood would be Cairn Basin with a side-trip to McNeil Point (an outstanding silver fir forest along part of the trail and then spectacular mountain views). The Top Spur trailhead is less than 1 1/2 hours from Portland. There are good day hikes at Mt. Adams along the Round-the-Mountain Trail but it is about 2 1/2 hours of driving each way. Silver Falls State Park should not be dismissed because it is a very worthy hiking area.

Thank you very much for your suggestions. We haven't heard about many of these places before. We will check them out.
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