While Nesmith Point does not stand as it's own mountain, it is an important addition to the mountaineering community. Located seven miles west of Cascade Locks in the Columbia River Gorge, the point used to serve as a lookout post for the USPS post. It now serves as one of the best locations in Oregon for mountain climbing training. The four mile climb has close to 3800 feet in elevation gain and the views from the cliffs edge is amazing. During the main ascent, you gain over 2000 feet in 1.6 miles. It is a great training run with excellent views.
Take I-84 East 25 miles to exit 35. Turn left onto Old Senic Road and follow unti a dead end at Yeon State Park. Park the car and start hiking. To get back to Portland, you need to drive all the way back to Multinomah falls to head West.
Parking is available at John B Yeon State Park and is free (w/o NW Forest Pass).
The first mile is a gradual ascent through old growth forest (typical gorge style).
The next 0.25 miles is a series of constant switchbacks along the cliff face of the Gorge. Intermittent views of the Gorge and several dropoffs are present.
The next 0.9 miles are a continual climb up the side of the cliffs. The views become largely obstructed by dense grass and vegitation growth. Reaching the ridge line is a welcome relief and the climb becomes much easier from here.
The next 1.1 miles are a gradual hike (only 740 feet) up to the old forest roads used when there was a lookout. Turn right and follow the roads the remaining 0.25 miles up to the summit.
When To Climb
Route can be climbed from early April until late October.
While there is no water nearby, there is one site for a backcountry tent feet away from the 1000 ft cliff. Although I cannot confirm it, the map indicates there is water 1.1 miles east from the site.
What to Bring
As usual, this is the Gorge, so bring some additional layers for the higher elevations. One windy or rainy days, bring your jacket as well as a good pair of shoes (don't want to fall off the trail).
One of the most important things on this trail is water. Dont expect to find much even if you bring your filter. During warm summer days you may go through 3-4 liters of water.
For the summit, a book and munchies are well in order. And for the decent, trekking poles will save your knees for the next climb.
Although I don't recommend it, you can bring the people you dislike to shove them off a cliff, or bring your friends for a refreshing day hike away from the crowds of other Gorge hikes.
Things to do at the Summit.
Unlike most summits where there is little to do, Nesmith Point has a full group of options:
1. Sit down next to the cliffs and read a good book.
2. Walk north from the cliff view to see the old tilted outhouse.
3. Walk to the north edge of the cliffs to view Mt. St. Helens, Rainier and Adams.
4. Bring your pad of paper and add an "African Safari Series" stamp to your collection - visit http://www.geocities.com/rscarpen/Lb/US/OR/AfricanSafari/
5. Bring your GPS and go geocaching - visit http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?ID=81197
6. Setup camp and spend the night under the trees and stars.