Location visible to members
TOTAL MILES: 11.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: up 1200 ft, then down 2600 (max 5608’)
PACE: “Quick” (~2.5 mph)
DIFFICULTY RATING: Difficult
ESTIMATED HIKING TIME: 8 hours
PERMITS: NW Forest Pass
***RSVPs will open at 10pm tonight (Tuesday)***
CARPOOLING: RT mileage is 150 miles, give or take; we suggest a mileage donation of 10 cents/mile/person, or $15.00. Exact change makes it easier to divide among our drivers. No one will be turned away for an inability to contribute. Thanks!
Sunday’s forecast looks good, so what say we avoid some of the crowds and head over to the east side of Mt Hood for a nice, long hike? A good way to think of this hike is to picture two hikes rolled into one: a 2.9 mile, +1200 footer to a dynamite viewpoint, and an 8.9 mile, -2600 footer along a ridgeline to Tamanawas Falls, with great views along the way.
We’ll set up a car shuttle between the Elk Meadows and Tamanawas Falls trailheads (~8 miles apart). Starting from Elk Meadows we’ll hike in on #645 to a bridgeless crossing of Newton Creek, then start the climb up towards Elk Meadows and the junction with #647, where we’ll turn right and continue the climb up to the Elk Meadows Vista and a calorie break. Once we’ve enjoyed the vista and a bite or two we’ll hop back onto #647 and follow it ~4.8 miles as it meanders northeasterly along Bluegrass Ridge, then down to where it reconnects with #645. From there we’ll again turn right and go for another mile or so to the Tamanawas Falls cut-off, which will take us to the falls (if we so choose) and/or our cars and home.
A couple of wildcards. I was able to cross Newton Creek about a month ago with no problems, so I’m not worried about that. I have a feeling that we’ll run into some residual snow as we climb up to the vista, which will make navigation a bit tricky (I don’t have a GPS), but again, I’m not too worried about that. Finally, the trail along Bluegrass Ridge gets pretty faint after a couple of miles, but is still pretty easy to follow due to the very large fire that burned there a few years ago (2004???). We’ll be pretty exposed for much of this hike (sun/wind), so please pack accordingly. Finally, with at least 1.5 hours of driving on either side of the hike, plus (hopefully) stopping for a post-hike bite and beer somewhere on the way home, I don’t expect us to return to PDX any earlier then 9pm or so, so please RSVP accordingly.
Please note that there is a MANUAL waiting list for this hike. What this means is that if a spot opens up everyone on the waiting list will automatically receive an e-mail notifying them of the opening. The first person (whether on the waiting list or not) to RSVP gets the spot.
NO DOGS, please.
What to bring:
• Sturdy hiking boots/shoes with at least one change of socks
• Two or three light layers of clothing that can be adjusted or removed as necessary (NO COTTON!!!)
• Rain gear
• Safety whistle, preferably on a cord around your neck (highly recommended)
• The 10 essentials*
• Trekking poles (never a bad idea)
• Lunch, snacks and plenty of water
*Navigation, Sun protection, Insulation, Illumination, First Aid, Fire, Repair Kit/Tools, Nutrition, Hydration, Emergency Shelter. For a more detailed description, check out “The Ten Essentials” on the Portland Hiking Meetup Group’s FILES page.