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Herman Creek-Wyeth Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Talus slope on the Gorge Trail (bobcat)
Gnarly Douglas-fir on the Herman Creek Trail (bobcat)
Basalt pinnacle from the Gorge Trail (bobcat)
Wind Mountain from the Gorge Trail (bobcat)
Hike route shown in red (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Herman Creek TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Wyeth Trailhead
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 10.8 miles round trip
  • High Point: 960 feet
  • Elevation gain: 2175 feet round-trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Year-Round
  • Family Friendly: Yes (as a car shuttle)
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

This is a low-level hike, good for rainy days and winter months. The section on the Gorge Trail, which ends at the Wyeth Trailhead is the last addition to that project, completed in the 1990s, and essentially follows the boundary of the expanded Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness. The hike covers typical low-level Columbia River Gorge topography, fauna and vegetation: coniferous woods with a liberal dosage of big-leaf maple, creek crossings, and several talus slopes; you will almost certainly see woodpeckers, Pacific wrens, and silently-flitting varied thrushes. In fall, fungi are profuse, but as with other sections of the Gorge Trail, the sounds of the Gorge as transportation corridor are never far away. A couple of viewpoints allow you to see across the river to the Washington shore. For those wanting a shorter outing, this is an excellent car shuttle opportunity.

From the parking area at the Herman Creek Trailhead, head down the Herman Creek Trail #406 under big-leaf maple, Douglas-fir and western hemlock. The trail drops a little and then switchbacks up five times to a powerline corridor. Ascend to the right through the powerline corridor and enter a mossy boulder field with a contorted Douglas-fir looming overhead. The trail traverses upward and switchbacks twice. Reach the Herman Creek-Herman Bridge Trail Junction and keep left. The trail rises and then levels. From a gap in the trees, one can see the Pacific Crest Trail cutting across scree slopes below the Benson Plateau. At a bend, keep right and head up the old road track in lush forest. The track levels and reaches the junction at the Herman Creek Forest Camp with the Gorge Trail and the Gorton Creek Trail going off to the left.

Take the Gorge Trail #400, the first trail on the left, and head into Douglas-fir/Oregon grape woods. The trail begins to drop under Douglas-fir, hemlock, big-leaf maple and vine maple. Oregon grape and sword fern are the main carpet plants. The woods are mossy, dark and deep. Watch for the pileated woodpeckers that frequent this part of the forest. The trail rises slightly in a cedar grove and crosses a creek. Pass above a huge boulder that tumbled from above centuries ago. Enter open secondary forest and see the powerline corridor below. At a mossy talus slope, the Washington side of the Gorge is visible: Wind Mountain, Home Valley, the Columbia River, and Dog Mountain. A couple of ancient Douglas-firs survive on the jumble of boulders. The trail drops and you cross rushing Grays Creek and then a second, smaller tributary. Pass across another open talus slope with a rocky rampart above. At the third talus slope, there’s a great view of Wind and Dog Mountains as well as Home Valley. Traverse three narrower talus slopes with more views. Then, head down to a brand new footbridge over Gorton Creek and arrive at the Gorge-Wyeth Trail Junction. Go left here to reach the Wyeth Trailhead.

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Columbia River Gorge - West #428S
  • Geo-Graphics: Trails of the Columbia Gorge
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Hood River Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass required at both trailheads

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Afoot and Afield Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain

More Links

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.