Portland: Ruckel Ridge Loop

Locals coined this 8-miler the "toughest hike" in the Columbia Gorge. It gains roughly 3,500 feet from Eagle Creek to a highpoint with picturesque views.
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Locals coined this 8-miler the "toughest hike" in the Columbia Gorge. It gains roughly 3,500 feet from Eagle Creek to a highpoint with picturesque views.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 12.7

Waypoints

RRL001

Location: 45.640917, -121.926414

This long dayhike requires fitness, agility, and endurance. Pack food; start early. Take Gorge Trail to Buck Point sign. Turn R, pass two campsites; start switchbacks

RRL002

Location: 45.64175, -121.920616

Keep R; avoid eroded shortcut. Cross scree field past "Trail Not Maintained" sign. Views of Bonneville Dam

RRL003

Location: 45.641468, -121.917282

Follow cairns up scree field. Navigation clue: Look L for a rock wall. This is where the trail goes. Ignore other trails

RRL004

Location: 45.639133, -121.913086

Trail tops out after thigh-burning climb (a taste of the next 4 mi.)

RRL005

Location: 45.637783, -121.90947

Outcrop with views to Eagle Creek below. Trail climbs again over logs, roots, and moss-covered rocks

RRL006

Location: 45.635117, -121.900185

Cross a narrow spine of rocks called The Catwalk

RRL007

Location: 45.634102, -121.881668

Head NE along the Columbia Wilderness border

RRL008

Location: 45.635685, -121.874268

Gorgeous views of mountains and lower forests on R

RRL009

Location: 45.636622, -121.869857

The climb eases ahead. Fire rings mark campsites on the Benson Plateau

RRL010

Location: 45.637917, -121.866936

Boulder-hop over Ruckel Creek. Cool off in pools; refill water bottles. Follow blazed trail on L; steep downhill ahead

RRL011

Location: 45.638466, -121.873085

After several switchbacks, trail passes pit dug by Native Americans

RRL012

Location: 45.636577, -121.887732

Cliff views of the Columbia River

RRL013

Location: 45.642467, -121.909233

Emerge onto campground road. Turn L; follow old road back to trailhead