I estimate we'll go in about 5.5 - 6 miles for an 11 or 12 mile RT.
Elevation gain: 3330 feet, but we will go at a moderate pace with time for photographs and discussion. Expect to spend some time climbing over logs as well because the trail had not been maintained.
I'm offering this hike as a day hike to introduce you to the magnificent Bell Creek area--hopefully before the rain makes the ford crossing difficult. (It was simple two weeks ago.) In order to spend more time in the old growth forest portion, I don't plan to do the whole 14.5 mile loop--as the Bell Creek side (east side) is far better than the west side IMO.
Steve Hart says: "you'll enter what is arguably the best stand of old-growth in the entire Columbia Gorge area. Traversing across the upper basin of Oneonta Canyon through stands of huge hemlocks and firs, you'll cross several open scree fields, and navigate spring soaked wetlands ringed by towering cedars." See his entire write-up here:
Do further research too and come prepared to share your knowledge about the area: natural and cultural history, geology, mycology, etc.
Expect some fall color and fabulous mushrooms and other fungi. Bring a mushroom ID book if you have one. Hiking poles are helpful too.
Bring the 10+4 essentials found here http://www.meetup.com/The-Portland-Vancouver-Sierra-Club-Outings/files/ and lunch. Wear layers of quick drying synthetic clothing--no cotton. Bring money to pay drivers and for voluntary donation to Sierra Club.
This is not a wilderness area, but I still prefer to limit group size. Please do sign up for the waiting list if the trip fills as you will almost surely get a spot.