Portland, OR: Indian Point via Nick Eaton Ridge

You'll find postcard-worthy views atop a rocky lookout on this 9.6-mile lollipop loop touring the lush forests and ravines of the Columbia River Gorge.
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You'll find postcard-worthy views atop a rocky lookout on this 9.6-mile lollipop loop touring the lush forests and ravines of the Columbia River Gorge.

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

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 15.4

Waypoints

IND001

Location: 45.682669, -121.8443924

From the parking area, pass through a wooden gate into Herman Creek Campground and follow the Herman Creek Road 0.3 mile to the trailhead.

IND002

Location: 45.6826558, -121.8424773

Herman Creek Trailhead: Parking is also available here when Herman Creek Campground is open. Follow the trail to the southwest past towering Douglas fir, cedar, and hemlock. You'll climb nearly 2,850 feet in the next 3.2 miles.

IND003

Location: 45.678803, -121.8427992

Bear left @ Y-junction. Ahead, the trail travels to the northeast above Herman Creek.

IND004

Location: 45.679785, -121.840117

Bear right @ Y-junction, heading northeast.

IND005

Location: 45.6801898, -121.8292379

Pass a clearing on the left-hand side of the trail. Keep straight @ 3-way intersection, heading southeast.

IND006

Location: 45.6786456, -121.8267596

Turn left off of Herman Creek Trail onto Nick Eaton Trail. Ahead, a switchback climb leads to Nick Eaton Ridge. Keep an eye out for wildlife; you may spot deer and black bears in the woods.

IND007

Location: 45.6781, -121.815824

Just below the ridgetop, a clearing offers picturesque views of the Columbia Gorge to the west.

IND008

Location: 45.676761, -121.805847

Hike past the boundary of the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness. In 500 feet, bear right. The trail on the left leads to an unnamed, 3,152-foot summit.

IND009

Location: 45.6732707, -121.7977166

Bear left onto Deadwood Trail. The path leaves the ridge and descends to the east above Grays Creek.

IND010

Location: 45.6744177, -121.7898631

Turn left (west) @ T-junction onto Gorton Creek Trail. The narrow trail winds through lush understory.

IND011

Location: 45.6822811, -121.7989987

Turn right (northeast) @ 3-way junction onto side trail to Indian Point.

IND012

Location: 45.683522, -121.797951

Indian Point: This rocky outcropping showcases sky-high views of the Columbia Gorge to the east and west. Next, return to Waypoint 11 and turn right.

IND013

Location: 45.681127, -121.807412

The trail wraps around a wooded ravine. You'll walk past a massive, fallen tree on the left-hand side of the trail.

IND014

Location: 45.6803772, -121.8290663

Continue straight @ the junction of Gorton Creek Trail and Gorge Trail No. 400. In 70 feet, turn right @ T-junction (Waypoint 5) and follow the same route back to the trailhead.

Indian Point

Location: 45.6834354, -121.7978936

© Galen Williams

Parking Area

Location: 45.6826633, -121.8443012

© Galen Williams

Herman Creek Campground

Location: 45.6826558, -121.8439901

Go around this gate into the Herman Creek Campground. © Galen Williams

Trailhead

Location: 45.6826408, -121.8423915

© Galen Williams

Powerlines

Location: 45.6812242, -121.8425953

Pass a row of powerlines and continue on the trail. © Galen Williams

Trail Sign

Location: 45.6787955, -121.8425846

© Galen Williams

Nick Easton Rock Sign

Location: 45.6786306, -121.8266201

© Galen Williams

Deer

Location: 45.6795301, -121.8237448

© Galen Williams

View through the trees

Location: 45.6788105, -121.818037

© Galen Williams

Clearing

Location: 45.6780909, -121.8156445

© Galen Williams

Trailside Views

Location: 45.677821, -121.8120933

© Galen Williams

Columbia Gorge

Location: 45.6773413, -121.8111813

© Galen Williams

Wilderness Boundary

Location: 45.6767716, -121.8055701

© Galen Williams

Trail Sign

Location: 45.6732632, -121.7976201

Take a left at the Deadwood Trail. © Galen Williams

Bear

Location: 45.6729183, -121.7927599

© Galen Williams

Gorton Creek Trail

Location: 45.6744102, -121.7897236

© Galen Williams

Wooded Trail

Location: 45.6750774, -121.7929316

© Galen Williams

Trail

Location: 45.6763143, -121.7955816

© Galen Williams

Views to the East

Location: 45.6835291, -121.7978078

Views of the Columbia Gorge from Indian Point. © Galen Williams

Views to the West

Location: 45.6835253, -121.797899

© Galen Williams

Dry Creek

Location: 45.6811417, -121.8072867

© Galen Williams

Wooded Trail Sign

Location: 45.6803472, -121.8288624

© Galen Williams

Trail Junction

Location: 45.6803697, -121.8289912

© Galen Williams