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Eightmile Creek Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Fivemile Butte Lookout (bobcat)
Xeric meadow on Bottle Prairie Trail (bobcat)
Eightmile Creek on the lower section of the loop (bobcat)
Rosy pussytoes (Antennaria rosea)(bobcat)
Sketch of Eightmile Creek Loop (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Bottle Prairie TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Eightmile Creek Loop Junction
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 6.8 miles round-trip with possible extensions totaling 2.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,985 feet including extensions
  • High Point: 4,915 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Late Spring through Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: On weekends expect moderate use by mountain bikers; quiet during the week
Ticks

Contents

Description

This hike provides a moderate loop using the slopes above Eightmile Creek in the Barlow District of the Mt. Hood National Forest. It is recommended for its hydric (wet) and xeric (dry) flower meadows from June to mid-July especially. A highlight of the hike are the vistas from Fivemile Ridge and a visit to the Fivemile Butte Lookout tower.

From the trailhead parking area, head left about 80 yards to the Bottle Prairie-Knebal Springs Trail South Junction. Go right on the Bottle Prairie Trail. To your left, you will see the lush Bottle Prairie meadow with flowery swaths of arrow-leaf groundsel, white false hellebore, upland larkspur, swamp buttercup, tawny horkelia, etc. You will rise in woods of Engelmann spruce, grand fir, Douglas-fir, western larch, and ponderosa pine. The trail enters a sunny xeric meadow and reaches the Bottle Prairie-Eightmile Creek Loop Trail Junction. An optional extension here, taking about five minutes, is to continue below a replanted clearcut to the turnoff for Perry Point. From the point, blooming with balsamroot in late spring, there are views to Flag Point, Tygh Ridge, and the rolling countryside of the Columbia Plateau. The crow's nest lookout platform here has decayed away, but look for the remains of a ladder leading up a Douglas-fir.

Return to the Bottle Prairie-Eightmile Creek Loop Trail Junction and go left. The trail rises in a meadow and then drops through a carpet of vanilla leaf to Rail Hollow Road. Cross the road and continue towards the prominence of Fivemile Butte. The trail traverses below this western end of Fivemile Ridge, but it is a short scramble up a slope of loose platy andesite to get views of Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helens. The trail continues to rise in ponderosa parkland with some views south. At a junction, go left to visit the Fivemile Butte Lookout tower. A lookout was first erected here in 1934, with the current version being constructed in 1956. You cannot go inside as the lookout is rented throughout the year, but there is a picnic table at its base and there are sweeping views to the Washington summits from this part of the ridge.

From the lookout junction, the trail descends to make three wide loops down in thinned forest and crosses an old logging track before entering a clearcut. The trail heads into shady woods and makes a number of switchbacks down the slope. When you reach the Eightmile Creek Loop Junction, you have a choice - go left for a two-mile extension, or complete the loop by turning right.

For the extension, cross a paved road, FR 4430, and switchback down to cross the Eightmile Campground road. Walk in shady woods of western hemlock, western red-cedar, Douglas-fir, and grand fir and cross a footbridge over Eightmile Creek. You will reach the day-use area and the lower Eightmile Loop Trailhead. Go left down the campground loop road and recross the creek. Opposite campsite #14, pick up a graveled interpretive trail. There are two large new footbridges over the creek. You will pass a clearcut and a stretch of thimbleberry to reach a FR 4440 and the Lower Eightmile Forest Camp. Return the way you came to the bottom end of the Eightmile Creek Loop.

The return to the trailhead is a quick three-mile walk up the creek valley. The trail rises in dry forest and passes through an old clearcut redolent of blooming snow brush in late spring. Pass through a shallow gully in shady woods with Eightmile Creek below to the left. The trail crosses the creek on a footbridge and switchbacks and traverses up. You will soon reach the access road, FR44-120, to the trailhead. Go right here to get to your vehicle.

Notes:

1. The Eightmile Creek Loop is used more by mountain bikers than hikers. For solitude, try hiking it during the week.

2. The “interpretive trail” east of Eightmile Campground was being refurbished as of 2015 and was officially closed. There were no interpretive signs at that time.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass required at Eightmile Campground
  • Share trail with mountain bikes

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Eight Mile Loop Trail #496 (USFS)
  • Eight Mile Interpretive Trail #496A (USFS)
  • Green Trails Maps: Flag Point, OR #463
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Barlow Ranger District
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area
  • Adventure Maps: Hood River, Oregon, Trail Map

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks

  • 105 Virtual Hikes of the Mt. Hood National Forest by Northwest Hiker
  • Kissing the Trail by John Zilly

More Links


Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.