Dalles Mountain Ranch

  • Level: Easy (Beginner level: challenging)
  • Length: ~5.5 miles
  • Elevation: >1,000 ft. gain
  • Type: loop
  • Open: all year
  • Permit: Discover Pass or $5
  • Drive time from Portland: 1h30m
  • Google map: “crawford oaks trailhead”
  • Features: Eastern Gorge, spring wildflowers, waterfall

Every day that has passed in the week-and-a-half since I did this trail, I’ve felt like I was hoarding it. It was so unbelievably beautiful. You must go before the flowers go to seed and it gets too damn hot. There’s very little shade and it’s been so gross in Portland that I wasn’t even thinking about sunscreen yet and got pretty badly burnt. WEAR SUNSCREEN. Continue reading “Dalles Mountain Ranch”

Smith Rock

  • Level: moderate
  • Length: 4 miles
  • Elevation: 800 ft. gain
  • Type: loop
  • Open: all year
  • Permit: Oregon State Parks pass or $5
  • Drive time from Portland: 3 hours
  • Google map: “Smith Rock State Park”
  • Features: Central Oregon lava plains, rock-climbing, wildflowers, views, Crooked River, bird watching
  • Pair with: Tumalo Falls, Scout Camp Trail, Steelhead Falls, Cove Palisades

Other worldly beautiful, the yellow-orange rhyolite cliffs appear to change color with the seasons and sun’s position. The exaggerated bends of Crooked River snaking it’s way around the main attractions almost looks fake. Monkey Face, the 300-foot natural rock sculpture jutting above everything doesn’t exactly add to the park’s believability. Continue reading “Smith Rock”

Cape Horn (+ writing)

“I look around and try to notice everything I possibly can, something I do when I need to get out of my head. Drenched neon mosses and licorice ferns growing off every alder trunk. The remaining leaves, a yellow deserving of new definition. The fog swirls thicker. Gratitude for green. All year, the seasons haven’t known whether to shit or get off the pot, but it is distinctly becoming winter, which isn’t so stark in Northwest Oregon, but actually kind of luscious, lively, magical. I’ve been going through my days like I’ve lost my magic and I hope to get some back today. I listen to the trees, the hollow roar of the Columbia River Gorge and the distant noises of highway fourteen. The sounds fill me up and I imagine them pushing out my pain.” Continue reading “Cape Horn (+ writing)”

Klickitat Rail Trail

  • Level: Easy to Moderate Beginner Level: Doable, turn around whenever you feel like it!
  • Length: +/- 7.8 miles
  • Elevation: +/- 270 ft. gain
  • Type: Out and back
  • Open: all year (but read below)
  • Permit: n/a, $2 for bridge crossings
  • Drive time from Portland: 1h30m
  • Google map: n/a, I-84E to Hood River Bridge (exit 64). Turn right on 14 for 12.8 miles to Lyle. Turn left on Centerville Hwy for 0.4 mile, fork left to stay on the hwy and continue 14.5 miles. Turn left on gravel Harms Road for 0.5 miles to the trailhead on the left, just after green metal bridge
  • Features: spring flowers, rimrock cliffs, grasslands, butterflies, great bird watching and wildlife: marmots, snakes, deer, etc

Portland life hack: sometimes, just an hour east, the sun is shining! I did this on a gross day in Portland, but out here it was over seventy degrees and sunny. Continue reading “Klickitat Rail Trail”

Angels Rest

  • Level: Moderate
  • Length: 4.6 miles
  • Elevation: 1,500 ft. gain
  • Type: Out and back
  • Open: all year
  • Permit: n/a
  • Drive time from Portland: 30m
  • Google map: “angels rest”
  • Features: Columbia River Gorge, Coopey Falls, views out the yingyang

Angels Rest, you are the McDonalds Value Menu of trails and I’m lovin’ it. So much bang for your buck and because of this, it gets really crowded. SO CROWDED. This used to be a go-to of mine, but despite it’s amazing beauty, it’s been downgraded because people. Hence why  it hasn’t been profiled here until now. Regardless, I highly recommend it. It’s a great trail for people who want to work on their elevation gains and it’s one of the closest Gorge trails to Portland. I have a particular fondness for it because it’s one of the first “hard” ones I ever did. I think it was 2012 or so and I was still in The Fog© of my life: hungover, unhealthy, sad, negative, angry, ashamed, but still somehow hopeful. It crushed me like a bug. I learned what a “false summit” is. I cried, I fell in mud, I almost turned around twice, but when I got to the top, I felt like such a bad ass. It started my love affair with hiking. Continue reading “Angels Rest”

Travel Journal Feb. 5-7, 2016

Locations: Santiam Foothills, Santiam Pass, McKenzie Foothills, McKenzie River National Trail, Central Oregon Cascades, Shellburg Falls, Tamolitch Pool, hot springs

Friday, February 5, 2016

We piled into the car at 9am, an hour later than we intended, but we work late so for us this was getting a good start. Our first stop of the trip was Shellburg Falls in the Santiam Foothills. This trail has been on my list for a long time, but like many things on my many lists I just couldn’t seem to make it happen until now. Strange, since it’s only an hour and twenty minutes from Portland. Continue reading “Travel Journal Feb. 5-7, 2016”

Tamolitch Pool

  • Level: Easy (Beginner Level: Doable)
  • Length: 4.2 miles
  • Elevation: 200 ft. gain
  • Type: out and back
  • Open: April to mid-December
  • Permit: n/a
  • Drive time from Portland: 2h45m
  • Google map: “Tamolitch Trailhead”
  • Features: Old growth forest, crystal blue springs, McKenzie River

Continue reading “Tamolitch Pool”