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Backpacker Magazine – September 2010

Local Hikes: Portland, OR

The best hikes near Portland.

by: Kim Phillips

Dog Mountain, Columbia River Gorge (Eli Boschetto)
Dog Mountain, Columbia River Gorge (Eli Boschetto)

Your Guide

Mazamas Mountaineering Organization (

Your Hikes
» Ruckel Ridge, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area “This is a quintessential hike in the Gorge,” says Mazamas member Mike Campbell. Starting from the Eagle Creek Campground, the challenging, 7.9-mile loop rises 3,500 vertical feet along a forested ridge to the Benson Plateau. Near mile two, traverse a narrow spine of rocks called The Catwalk and continue climbing east another 1.5 miles. After cresting the route’s highpoint at mile 3.6, boulder-hop across Ruckel Creek and head southwest to begin a nearly four-mile descent on the return. Miles from city center 41; Trip ID 44965

» Elk Mountain-Kings Mountain Traverse, Tillamook State Forest  An hour west of Portland, this 10.5-mile circuit features rocky scrambles, stiff climbs, and five-star views. “It’s more of an adventure than a dayhike,” says club member Ryan McGibbon. From the Wilson River Highway, the counterclockwise loop ascends nearly 2,000 feet in 1.6 miles to the 2,788-foot summit of Elk Mountain. From here, follow the ridgetop trail northwest, then southwest for the final three-mile climb to 3,206-foot Kings Mountain. Catch your breath at the top before dropping 2,400 feet to Dog Creek. Turn left at mile 6.7 and close the loop on Wilson River Trail. Miles from city center 46; Trip ID 753494

» Dog Mountain, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area The stout, three-mile climb up Dog Mountain’s southwest slope catapults you nearly 3,000 feet above the Columbia River on countless switchbacks. The payoff? Spectacular displays of buttercup and larkspur and summit views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens—all just an hour from town. “It’s close enough that you can leave your house in the morning, hike to mountaintop views, and be back in Portland by early afternoon,” says Campbell. Miles from city center 56; Trip ID 417637

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Sep 23, 2010

Glad to see Dog Mt. made it to a list like this. Your picture doesn't nearly do it justice though, when the flowers are at their peak I've never seen better anywhere - A solid sheet of yellow over the entire hillside.

Paul Beebe
Sep 23, 2010

Why do you publish hikes marked as Private on the public site? I'm am going to be in the Portland, OR, area for a couple of weeks and am looking for good dayhikes. The Elk Mountain-Kings Mountain Traverse, Trail ID 753494, looks awesome but it is marked as PRIVATE and I cannot access it!!!


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