March 23 Update:
- This will be (another weather) adventure! Bring your layers, gaiters, extra gloves, ice axes, pack covers, warm drinks. If you have an ICE AXE, PLEASE BRING IT. If you have extra ice axes, please bring them.
- Weather synopsis for Herman Creek: The Cascade Lock area is under a special weather statement (see below). Expect drizzly rain on the drive to Herman Creek trailhead. Allow for some extra drive time. There will be rain at the trailhead start (Oh yay!....another test of rain gear)! Temps will hover above freezing and there will be snow on the trail at the 1500-foot level as we work our way up in elevation. Precipitation will turn to snow along the route up. At the higher elevations and in the Westerly exposed areas of the route, expect a breeze of <10 mph but there will be some gusts. Expect several feet of snow at or near the highest elevations of the Eaton Ridge along the route.
On the Oregon side of the magnificent Columbia River Gorge, our hike takes us into the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness as we ascend a fairly steep ridge that has a series of switchbacks. Much of the hike is through forested area, but we will also encounter open areas and will be exposed to the effects of the 2017 fire that swept through the area. This is a good and challenging conditioning hike for anyone early in the climbing year; it has an elevation gain of close to 2800’ and we travel in all about 8 miles. We call this Herman Creek Trail, a trail that we start and end on, although we also follow the Nick Eaton and the Gorton Creek Trails which compose part of the Indian Point Loop. We will NOT be heading out the spur trail to Indian Point, but will stay on the loop itself.
The Herman Creek Trail 406 begins at the western side of the Herman Creek Campground parking lot. We climb switchbacks, pass under power lines at 0.2 mile, and continue on another 0.4 mile to the junction with trail 406E, Herman Bridge Trail. We continue on 406 up the hill to the left. In another 0.9 miles we come to the junction with the Nick Eaton Trail 477 (passing along the way another trail junction, which is with Gorton Creek Trail that we will be on later in the day). We take 477 to the left and again uphill 1.6 miles climbing along several switchbacks to an elevation of 2930' and going through a saddle to the junction with Ridge Cutoff Trail 437. We take Ridge Cutoff to the left and traverse and go downward for 0.5 mile to the junction with Gorton Creek Trail 408. At the junction we continue left on Gorton Creek Trail for 2.4 miles to the junction with Herman Creek Trail 406. We continued down Herman Creek Trail to where we started the day!