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Mitchell Point Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mitchell Point (right) and Mitchell Spur (left) from the highway (Tom Kloster)
Expansive views of the Gorge spread out from the summit perch (Tom Kloster)
Columbia River view from the open slopes of Mitchell Point (Tom Kloster)
Looking back on the trail from the summit (Tom Kloster)
An toppled transmission pole from a bygone era on the slopes of Mitchell Spur (Tom Kloster)
The imposing summit of Mitchell Point as seen from the Spur (Tom Kloster)
  • Start point: Mitchell Point TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Mitchell Point
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 2.6 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 1,270 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: all
  • Family Friendly: no
  • Backpackable: no
  • Crowded: never

Contents

Hike Description

NOTICE: Most trails on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge are closed until further notice because of damage from the Eagle Creek Fire. The closure involves ALL trails between Rooster Rock State Park and Hood River. It is anticipated that most of these trails may not reopen until Spring or Summer 2018. Please check the list of Columbia Gorge trail closures before you plan for a hike.

This short hike to Mitchell covers a lot of scenery in just 2.6 miles. The trail is often steep and rugged, so you'll feel like you made a longer trek, especially when you consider that you will gain nearly 1,300 feet in that short distance! But the rewards make the trip well worth the effort - lots of views, wildflowers and interesting terrain throughout the hike. Note that the 0.3 mile side trip to Mitchell Spur is included in the mileage and elevation totals for this hike. Like most eastern Gorge trails, this route has several patches of poison oak that you'll need to watch for, and you should check for ticks when you get home. Long pants are essential for this trip.

The trip begins at the Mitchell Point Trailhead, located at exit 58 on Interstate-84 eastbound. Park at the south end of the large parking area, where a paved path heads into the trees. Take this path uphill until it begins to follow an old road, then quickly veer to the right onto the main trail. The route curves gently through forest, briefly, before beginning the steep climb. You'll notice a prominent trail heading straight from the last switchback before you reach the open talus slopes of Mitchell Point -- this will be your side-trip to Mitchell Spur on your return. The main trail continues past several switchbacks traversing open talus slopes before curving back into forest and another switchback, then to a brushy powerline corridor.

From here, the trail climbs under the powerlines for a short distance, leaving the corridor at the crest of a saddle and heading directly up the south ridge of Mitchell Point. Hiking poles will be especially helpful along this final stretch where loose scrabble can make the steep path slick. Wildflowers bloom here in spring and summer, including grass widows in late March and early April. Soon, pass dramatic cliffs and ever-expanding views as you reach the rocky plug that forms the summit of Mitchell Point. This is a good spot to stop and enjoy the view - the cliffs beyond are dangerous should not be explored.

After taking in the view, carefully descend the summit ridge and retrace your path to the side path just beyond the talus slopes. This trail is easy to follow as it descends to a low saddle below Mitchell Spur. From here, the path gets faint, but the route is obvious -- just make your way to the open summit straight ahead, which is dotted with wildflowers in spring and summer. From the top of Mitchell Spur, you will have more views, including the imposing pinnacle of Mitchell Point, towering above you. To complete the hike, follow the side path back to the main trail, and follow it back to the parking area.

Maps

MitchellPointMap.jpg

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • None

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Afoot and Afield Portland/Vancouver, by Douglas Lorain (grouped with Latourell Falls Hike)
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon - 3rd Edition, by William L. Sullivan

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.