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Portland, OR: Herman Creek Pinnacles

Ditch the crowds on this lesser-traveled, 8.7-miler in the Columbia River Gorge that features shady old-growth forest, striking rock pinnacles, and a breathtaking waterfall.

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While it’s no secret that the trails along Herman Creek and Dry Creek offer spectacular hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, relatively few hikers know to link these two popular trails on a short section of the Pacific Crest Trail. This 8.7-mile out-and-back explores a lesser-known route that travels through old-growth forest to the towering remains of several crumbling basalt monoliths and a 50-foot waterfall.
The trail starts in the Herman Creek Campground and climbs through lush forest. After 0.6 mile, leave the crowds that head up the canyon, and descend to the Herman Creek Bridge and the PCT; keep an eye out for fairy slipper, a vibrant purplish-pink wildflower. After 1.8 miles, turn right (west) onto the PCT and pass a small, tiered waterfall. Less than a quarter mile past the falls, look for towering lava pinnacles on the right side of the trail. A short, rocky spur leads to the base of the pinnacles and a small campsite.
From the pinnacles, continue west on the PCT toward Dry Creek Road. Along the way, cross several moss-covered rockfall slopes that offer views of the Columbia River and Table and Hamilton mountains. Less than 2 miles later, cross the bridge at Dry Creek, then turn left on the road, heading up the hill. The road ends at the 50-foot Dry Creek Falls, a stunning waterfall that pours down a moss-covered basalt amphitheater. After enjoying the cool falls and a snack, return to the trailhead on the same route.
-Mapped by Eli Boschetto, Bosco Mountain Photo

To Trailhead

I-84 E to Cascade Locks (exit 44). Merge onto US 30. In 1.9 miles, continue on Frontage Rd. In 1.7 miles, turn right onto Herman Creek Rd. (Herman Creek Campground). Follow signs to trailhead.


  1. weresquatch

    Did this on Sat 03/07. Set out early as the trailheads get FULL. The reviewer is right however that even though there were obviously a lot of people near Dry Creek and Herman Creek, the vast majority of the people were NOT on the PCT connecting them. A surprising amount of trail runners training for a local race. I’m absolutely going to do it again soon or maybe go up Herman Creek but make camp on a knoll I found near the pinnacles. Thanks for the post.

    Profile photo of weresquatch

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