Cherry Orchard

  • Level: Moderate
  • Length: 5 miles
  • Elevation: 1,100 ft. gain
  • Type: Out and back
  • Open: all year
  • Permit: n/a, $2 for bridge crossings
  • Drive time from Portland:ย 1h30m
  • Google map: n/a, at milepost 77 on WA-14, large gravel pullout on left (if you’re coming from the west)
  • Features: Eastern Gorge, spring wildflowers

I love this underrated trail. It’s the perfect substitute for overcrowded Coyote Wall. Maybe not quite as grand, but plenty of nature prizes. Don’t let the name fool you. There used to be an actual Cherry Orchard, but there’s only one cherry tree left and it’s easy to miss. Caution: The poison oak is so fucking bad I almost want to say don’t go, but it’s so dang beautiful I don’t wanna keep you from it. Wear pants, know what to look for and mind your limbs as it crowds the trail in many places. I feel like it is an actual miracle that I didn’t have a fallout this time.

The trail starts at the far right side of the pullout and begins climbing immediately. After 0.9 mile, intersecting trails may get confusing, but the pictures I’ve provided should help. Unless, you want to just explore the meandering trails on the plateau. Do your thing! But the wildflowers are best the higher you go.

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In the pullout. Of course, I love it.
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A few switchbacks in.

 

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Just past the second cattle baffle you walk through this ridiculous lupine and oak daydream land for about a mile.

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From the trailhead:

The trail immediately switchbacks up through gnarly oaks for about 0.9 mile to a big plateau. Turn right at both trail junctions. (You want to be climbing up and away from the plateau.) Climb steeply for 0.7 mile. At the second cattle baffle, the traill begins to amble through old oaks, grass and spring wildflowers for about 0.9 mile to an old road with a fence to the left. Turn down to the right to the meadow, and then keep left with the most distinct trail which leads to a stately ponderosa pine and what looks like a dead tree with some green leaves sprouting out of it. That’s the one cherry tree! Return as you came.

 

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This easy to miss oak cross on the meadow is in memoriam to an old orchardist.


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The turnaround point Ponderosa Pine.
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Actual cherries growing on this ancient, gnarly beast.

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One example of poison oak. I saw about three different kinds out there. Leaves of three, let them be. Do a little homework before you go.

Hiking in a daydream. This Taurus new moon is giving me my powers back ๐ŸŒ‘

A post shared by Jenny Bruso (@unlikelyhikers) (@jennybruso) on

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