This 9.6-mile lollipop loop showcases lush forests, open vistas, and a rocky overlook in the Columbia River Gorge. The route gains more than 2,800 feet of elevation in the first 3.5 miles, making for a challenging dayhike that, all the same, is doable in a half-day.
Start at the parking area next to the frontage road and follow Herman Creek Road through the campground to Herman Creek Trail. The trail climbs steadily away from the noise of I-84 into quiet forests of Douglas fir, cedar, and hemlock. After 3.6 miles, tackle the myriad switchbacks that crest Nick Eaton Ridge. Keep your camera handy along this scenic stretch—you’ll pass several viewpoints that reveal bird’s-eye views across the Columbia Gorge.
From the spine of Nick Eaton Ridge, the route drops down to Grays Creek and travels north on Gorton Creek Trail to Indian Point, a rocky outcrop that rises 2,400 feet above the Columbia River. When you’re finished soaking up the views, follow Gorton Creek Trail across wooded hillsides and ravines to reconnect with Herman Creek Trail. Turn right for the 1.6-mile stretch back to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Galen Williams