It's been a couple of years since I led an ornament trail hike and it looks like I will have to wait until 2018 to do it. Instead of postponing this hike again, I am moving it to Cape Horn since the ornament trail is closed due to the Gorge fires this past summer.
The description is from portlandhikers:
The Cape Horn Trail is a new trail and one of the closest Gorge trails to the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area. It features gorgeous views, rocky crags, streams and two waterfalls. The trail is very well signed. There are both metal stakes and wooden signs at each junction. The signs and markers mentioned in this guide were noted on September 13th, 2014, but they might not last. This hike guide will be wordier than most, but it should keep you on the right path. You might want to print this description and carry it with you on the trail.
The trail starts on the west side of Salmon Falls Road, opposite the Park and Ride lot. It quickly crosses a small creek and passes a waterproof box with trail maps. Next the trail starts the biggest climb in the entire loop. Eight switchbacks later, there's a poorly signed junction with the trail that leads to the temporary 2008 parking area. The main trail heads southward, paralleling a powerline access road for a bit before branching out on its own. The climb gets pretty steep here and the narrow trail probably isn't safe during heavy snow or icy periods.
When you reach Pioneer Point, at the 1.2 mile mark, you'll have climbed about 800 feet. The view from here to the east includes Hamilton Mountain, Beacon Rock, Multnomah Falls and Mist Falls. Carefully step past the viewpoint and in another tenth of a mile, you'll find a short side trail leading to Fallen Tree Viewpoint. The view here is mostly to the west, with a good look at the State Highway viaduct, as well as Oregon points like Angel's Rest, Devil's Rest, Foxglove Falls and Coopey Falls. Back on the main trail, you'll soon come to the summit of Cape Horn, hidden away in the forest, marked by a pair of orange poles.
Now heading westward, the trail soon comes to a fence marking a section of private land. The trail follows the fence to the right, then works its way down the west side of the ridge for about a quarter mile where it comes to a closed road. Head straight ahead on this road, through a broken gate. About 1/10 of a mile later, the trail follows a fainter road uphill to the left. This junction was marked by an orange piece of tape at our last visit. Follow this new road for about a quarter mile under a set of residential powerlines to another private fence. Follow the trail to the right and in another 1/10 mile, you'll be at Strunk Road.
Turn left on Strunk Road and walk the few feet to the end of the road. There are two gravel lanes heading south here. Walk down the right one. This is a private road, but its owned by the Friends of the Columbia Gorge and it's open to hikers. Just after the road enters the woods, turn left on to a trail marked by a green fence post. This I am not sure of the elevation gain or mileage but it is neither long nor steep. We start at Multnomah Lodge, hike to the top of the falls, head up the Larch Mtn. trail and veer off at the Highwater trail. After zigzagging up the hill, we hit a flat area before entering the ornament trail.
It is winter so come prepared for the weather. Absolutely no cotton. Please bring the ten essentials.
No forest pass needed to park at Cape Horn.
$5 to the drivers
PARTICIPATE AT YOUR OWN RISK; Northwest Wilderness Group organizers are volunteers. We come prepared to lead you on a trail or off trail hike but assume no liability for your safety getting to or from the trail-head or on the hike. In case of accident, illness, or other incapacity, hikers must pay for their own medical and/or evacuation expenses, whether or not the hiker has specifically authorized them.