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Knebal Springs Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View east from Perry Point (bobcat)
View to Mt. Hood, Knebal Springs Trail (bobcat)
Heart-leaf buckwheat (Eriogonum compositum), Perry Point (bobcat)
Upland larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum), Bottle Prairie (bobcat)
The loop using the Knebal Springs and Bottle Prairie Trails (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Bottle Prairie TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Knebal Springs Trailhead
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 9.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,885 feet
  • High Point: 5,049 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Late Spring into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Description

In addition to the Eightmile Creek Loop Hike, this loop is another route used and maintained mainly by mountain bikers that can also be a rewarding experience for hikers (It is also used by horses). The loop uses two trails, the Knebal Springs Trail #474 and the Bottle Prairie Trail #455. It is an especially interesting wildflower hike in early summer as it passes through eastside coniferous woodland as well as dry meadows and the lush Bottle Prairie. There are some views to Mount Hood, and the main viewpoint on the loop, Perry Point, offers a vista to the rolling uplands of the Columbia Plateau. If you are camping at the Knebal Springs Trailhead, you could also begin the loop there: a Northwest Forest Pass is required.

From the trailhead parking area, head left about 80 yards to the Bottle Prairie-Knebal Springs Trail South Junction. Keep left on Knebal Springs Trail #474. There’s a wonderful meadow, part of Bottle Prairie, to the right as the trail ascends gently. White false hellebore, long-spurred violets, tawny horkelia, lupine, monkey flower, white bog orchids, and arnica are all in bloom here in early summer. The trail enters a partial cut area that offers views to Mount Hood. The path continues to rise and crosses a road in a lodgepole pine plantation. Posted on trees on the left hand side of the trail all the way are No Trespassing signs for The Dalles Watershed. The trail makes a traverse in a clearcut and winds up to pass below a dry meadow that blooms with sulfur buckwheat and scarlet gilia. Then, enter a varied coniferous woodland of Engelmann spruce, grand fir, western larch, silver fir, Douglas-fir and noble fir. Rise to the highest point on the trail, a small meadow, and then drop and go level along the edge of a clearcut. There’s a view of the top of Mount Hood. Back in the woods, cross an old track and then reach an old forest road. Hike 150 yards to the right and pick up the trail descending into a clearcut. The trail switchbacks down into woods and then emerges at a clearcut and a road. Walk 20 yards to the left to resume the trail. Drop again to cross another road and keep descending as the trail begins to roughly parallel FR 1720 for over a mile (There is a tie trail that leads out to 1720). First, you are hiking in mature forest, but then Douglas maple and willow become common in scrubby woods. The trail rises and drops in thinned forest and then, in a thicket of manzanita and chinquapin, reaches a junction.

The campground and Knebal Springs Trailhead are to the left and the Knebal Springs Trail continues to the right. The path heads up over a rise and passes through a meadow of sulfur buckwheat, frasera, little sunflower, and scarlet gilia. The trail then drops into the valley of the Middle Fork of Fivemile Creek. It’s a dusty descent to the creek crossing. Then, rise above a tributary and cross two more creeks. Traverse up and get views back to the Mill Creek Buttes. Reach a road, go left, and resume the trail in a manzanita/chinquapin thicket on the right after 70 yards. The path is level, drops, then levels and rises in dry woods. Reach the Bottle Prairie-Knebal Springs Trail North Junction. The sign says Perry Point is three miles away.

Go right here. The trail is level and then rises. Pass through an open grassy area with manzanita, ponderosa, grand fir, and silver fir. The trail continues to ascend in mixed woods. You'll hike over some mountain bike jumps in this section. Cross a road and head up. The trail rises to a forest opening and then passes along the edge of a clearcut. There are rock outcrops to the right and a lush meadow to the left. Enter a clearcut and then return to shady woods. The trail gradually ascends in deep woods with a carpet of starry Solomon plume and vanilla leaf. Here are the biggest trees on the trail: a few large Douglas-fir and western white pine. There’s a meadow with a spring to the right. The trail switchbacks up and traverses, passing above another spring. Continue to hike up to an opening with views south to Flag Point and Lookout Mountain. At a junction, a spur leads left up to Perry Point.

Take this short side trail to get restricted views through the trees looking east to the Tygh Valley area and the Columbia Plateau. Wildflowers bloom here among the pinemat manzanita: arrow-leaf balsamroot, glaucous and shrubby penstemon, sulfur buckwheat, scarlet gilia, and worm-leaf stonecrop are among them. The crow's nest lookout platform here has decayed away, but look for the remains of a ladder leading up a Douglas-fir. From Perry Point, the trail drops to a meadow with little sunflowers. In a clearcut, you'll be treated to a view of Mount Hood. Keep descending past a couple of large ponderosas to the Bottle Prairie-Eightmile Creek Loop Trail Junction. Here, proceed right through an open dry meadow blooming with heart-leaf buckwheat. The trail drops again into coniferous forest and then reaches the Bottle Prairie-Knebal Springs Trail South Junction. From the junction, go left to the trailhead.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Share trail with mountain bikes and horses

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Knebal Springs Trail #474 (USFS)
  • Bottle Prairie Trail #455 (USFS)
  • Green Trails Maps: Flag Point, OR #463 and Mt Hood, OR #462
  • 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

  • Kissing the Trail by John Zilly
  • More Oregon Trails and Horse Camps by Kim McCarrel

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.