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Juniper Ridge and Mt Adams Meadows--2 long day hikes + car camp


This will be an exploratory outing for me--two long day hikes (+ two nights car camping) in areas just west and south of Mount Adams that I've not visited before.  We'll leave late Friday afternoon and return on Sunday evening. You'll likely be very tired by the end of the weekend, but if the weather cooperates it should be a memorable one, with two very different hikes in the same beautiful part of south-central Washington...more than 25 miles of hiking total for the weekend. We'll be back in Portland around 9pm on Sunday evening.  See the explanations below for details.  You must be in good hiking shape to join this event.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The final approach roads to a couple of the trailheads are not appropriate for passenger cars, so if you have a high-clearance vehicle and are able to drive, you will be given priority RSVP treatment!  If the hike's already full, just email me and let me know what vehicle you have and how many people it can hold; if we still need drivers I'll add you to the 'yes' list.  We'll need 3 high-clearance vehicles in order to make this outing happen.

FRIDAY EVENING (Portland to campground)

We'll meet at a location to be determined in Portland, finalize our carpool arrangements, and drive the 3+ hours (via I-5 and US Route 12) to North Fork Campground southeast of Randle, WA.  Bring something to eat...we might make a quick stop at a convenience store or drive-thru, but we won't be stopping for a proper meal this evening in order to get to the campground before dark.  We'll be staying put at the same campground for 2 nights.


SATURDAY Hike (Juniper Ridge)

Rating: Difficult

Elevation gain: about 2,500 feet from lowest to highest point, but with lots of ups and downs (and 3 optional side-trips to the top of the peaks) it will feel like a good bit more.

Hike distance: 13-15 miles, depending on side trips

Hiking time: 8-10 hours

We'll get an early start (730ish) and do the hour-long car shuttle, depositing one or two of our cars at the finish trailhead before heading to the start (FS road 2904) and beginning our hike.  We should be on the trail by 930 or so.

I've seen this intriguing ridgeline trail on maps and in photos, and would like to give it a try. The Juniper Ridge Trail (#261) runs for over 10 miles along the mostly exposed Juniper Ridge and past several small peaks (Juniper, Sunrise, and Jumbo, all of which we can ascend as short side trips) in south-central Washington's Dark Divide area, between Mt St Helens and Mt Adams.  Weather permitting, there should be some great views in all directions.  It's not all easy ridge walking as the photo might suggest...there will be plenty of significant ups and downs along the way!

I've not found a site which describes the complete hike I'm planning, but here are a couple links which describe bits of it.

NOTE: The trail is multi-use, and popular with bikers (both mountain and motorbike)--although reports I read suggest that you'll likely see more evidence of bikers (deep ruts in places on the trail) than you will see bikers themselves. Come prepared for a possibly-overused path and don't let it spoil your experience! From what I've seen and read, our efforts will be more than worth it.

We should be back to the cars by 6pm or so, when the drivers will shuttle back to the start to collect the cars, come back to pick up the rest of us, and return us to the North Fork Campground for the night.


SUNDAY Hike (Mount Adams Meadows)

Rating: Moderate to Difficult

Elevation gain: about 1,500 feet

Hike distance: 12-13 miles

Hiking time: 7-8 hours

Another 730(ish) start, but no car shuttle to worry about today, so we'll just caravan the 90 minutes or so from the campground to the South Climb Trailhead.  We should be on the trail by 930am.

This hike starts up the Mt Adams South Climb route, but then veers east onto the Round-the-Mountain Trail, where it crosses a lava bed into Yakama Nation territory and enters open wildflower fields at Bird Creek Meadows.  We'll do a 3-mile loop through the meadows and up to Hellroaring Viewpoint, with its spectacular views of the mountain, then will backtrack the 4 miles or so back to the car.  We should be finished hiking around 5pm.

We'll stop in either Hood River or Stevenson for well-deserved food and drink on the way back.  We should be back to Portland no later than 9pm on Sunday, but as always I can never guarantee it.  If you really need to be back by a specific time, please don't sign up!


MORE DETAILS (please read them!)

My hiking style: I'm a pretty tireless hiker, but I like pausing for photos, viewpoints, and/or snack breaks whenever the scenery demands it.  To me outings are more about enjoying your surroundings than reaching the 'finish line' at any set time or pace, although I do like to keep on schedule, and in general keep a moderate to quick pace (2-2.5 mph) when we're on the move.  (With that said, if you're wanting full-speed-ahead hikes without pauses, this isn't your event.)  I like keeping the group somewhat 'together' on the trail and not leaving anyone behind. Most of all, I want it to be an enjoyable day out for everyone!

Total driving distance for the weekend: roughly 350 miles

Costs: Suggested $30 per person to driver for gas (may vary depending on each car's gas mileage), $15 per person fee for camping, and possible Yakama Reservation hiking permit fee (to be determined).

What to bring: enough layers for 2 warm days and 2 cool nights; sunscreen; hat (for shade); gaiters (may not need them but they could come in handy along Juniper Ridge if the trail is muddy and rutted); tent, a warm sleeping bag (I'm taking my 40 degree one plus a liner), sleeping mat for padding, trekking poles; headlamp and spare batteries; sunglasses; camera; enough water and food for 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners, plus snacks for the trail; sturdy hiking boots or shoes.  Always bring a waterproof layer just in case.  Leave the cotton at home.  If you have a NW Forest Pass, please bring it with you.

Sorry, no dogs...



- There's a manual waiting list for this event, meaning that when someone on the YES list drops out, everyone waitlisted gets an email noting that there's a spot open.  First one to the open spot gets it.

- As a Meetup organizer, I'm an unpaid volunteer.  While I always try to ensure a safe and enjoyable outing for everyone, by signing up for this event you assume full responsibility for your own health, safety, and well-being for its entire duration, including while traveling to and from both the meeting place and destination.

- The 'ten essentials' to always have in your pack generally include: Map/compass (and advance understanding of where you're going!), sun protection, extra clothes, extra food, extra water, headlamp/flashlight (and spare batteries), first aid kit, matches/firestarter, knife/tools, and a whistle if you need to signal for help.  You should always be prepared in case you get separated from the rest of the group and/or have to spend a night on your own in the wilderness.

- I absolutely welcome and encourage other NW Wilderness Organizers to sign up for and join my events; it's always great to have you guys along.  I do, however, reserve the right to move you to the Waiting List if I decide to move qualified and Waitlisted non-organizers to the YES list.

- I also reserve the right to remove anyone from my events if I'm concerned that their ability or fitness level will slow down the rest of the group.  If there is a waiting list, I may remove anyone with multiple past 'no-shows' to the 'no' list to make room for those who may be more reliable.


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  • Will

    Another amazing weekend in the PNW. Thanks for making this happen, Matt. Shot out to the drivers who did the shuttle. Couldn't have done it without you.

    2 · July 15, 2013

  • Matt T

    Thanks, guys, for helping to make it a great weekend! Views (and the beargrass) on the Juniper/Sunrise/Jumbo hike were really spectacular. Hope everyone enjoyed their adventure!

    1 · July 15, 2013

  • Marc

    The following measurements are from my GPS. Juniper Ridge trail: 14.5 mi/8 hr 41 min/4073 ft ascent/5125 ft descent. Round-The-Mountain trail to Bird Creek Meadows: 10.8 mi/5 hr 30 min/2095 ft ascent and descent. Those measurements don't include the Sunrise Peak ascent.

    July 15, 2013

  • Marc

    The Juniper Ridge trail gave us many outstanding views of Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, Mt Hood and Mt Adams, as well as numerous climbs up smaller peaks. The Round-The-Mountain Trail along the side of Mt Adams to Bird Creek Meadows featured gorgeous flower-covered meadows split by snow-melt streams, and Hellroaring Viewpoint offered a stunning view of the southeast flank of Mt Adams. We had perfect weather on both days and a strong hiking group. Thanks to Matt for leading both hikes and for suggesting the excellent North Fork campground!

    1 · July 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Gorgeous trip! Will definitely visit this area again.

    1 · July 14, 2013

  • Matt T

    If anyone has a NW Forest Pass, please bring it along!

    July 12, 2013

  • Matt T

    By the way, mid-July in the mountains may mean mosquitoes, so come prepared just in case!

    July 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Need to give my feet a longer break, I guess. 9 miles in wet boots was a killer!

    July 10, 2013

  • jeremiah

    My place is also a possibility, since it's close to I-84 and I-205 on the east side.

    July 8, 2013

  • Juergen

    Matt, if you still need a place to meet, we can meet at my place again.

    July 7, 2013

  • Jenny

    Have to skip this one... Trying to join next time.

    July 3, 2013

  • Matt T

    FYI, I've booked the campsites at North Fork Campground for Friday and Saturday nights. Should be about $15 per person total for the 2 nights.

    1 · July 2, 2013

    • Cyndy L.

      Great, thx for the reminder, I'll bring some cash for that.

      July 3, 2013

  • Chatchay Ramone de la M.

    I looked at the start time and not able to make it due to getting off work at 10PM. Be safe and have fun.

    June 24, 2013

  • Carissa j.

    I'm still having too many issues with my feet from my Rogue River dunk. Searching for a new shoe/sock system. Gotta bail on that type of mileage.

    June 23, 2013

  • Nicholas

    Apparently the quilt show in Sisters takes precedence. At least that's what the wifey tells me. Sorry to miss this one.

    1 · June 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    How much clearance are you looking for on the vehicles, Matt? I have around 10 inches.

    June 13, 2013

    • Matt T

      It's almost impossible to get this kind of info (no one official wants to be held liable for leading you astray) but I'd assume 10 inches is fine. I don't think we're going over boulders...just some rough roads with bumps that might cause passenger cars to bottom out.

      June 13, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      No problem then. It's an XTerra. :)

      June 13, 2013

  • Susan

    Dang you for scheduling this on a weekend I have other commitments! Bird Creek meadows is high on my list for this summer. I will want a snow report. Don't forget you'll need an entrance permit to go onto Yakama land - these are available from the USFS Trout Lake ranger station. Have fun out there.

    June 13, 2013

    • Matt T

      :-) Yeah, I'm looking into the permit situation. I'm thinking snow won't be much of an issue since it's been a wimpy snow year, but I'll find out more closer to the date to make sure. Hope you get to go at some point soon!

      June 13, 2013

  • Claudio

    That's an incredible area I visited a couple of years ago. I did Sunrise and Jumbo and it was spectacular. Your feet will be tired though. The trail is very rooted so it's actually hard to keep your feet level unless you can put one literally in front of the other.

    June 11, 2013

  • Matt T

    By the way, I need everyone who's interested in going on this hike to answer the questions you were asked when you RSVP'd. Thanks!

    June 11, 2013

  • Emma

    Stupid Samsung keyboard froze as I was typing in the answers to the questions. My most difficult hike this month was mt hood and yes I do hage a nw forest pass :)

    June 11, 2013

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