Munra Point from Yeon Trailhead Hike
From Oregon Hikers Field Guide
- Start point: John B Yeon Trailhead
- End Point: Munra Point
- Trail Log : Trail Log
- Hike Type: Out and Back
- Distance: 6 miles round trip
- Elevation gain: 2270 feet
- Difficulty: Difficult (scramble, exposure)
- Seasons: year-round, but hazardous when wet
- Family Friendly: No
- Backpackable: No
- Crowded: No
Munra is a non-maintained trail. Hikers have been seriously injured falling from the summit ridges. Use extreme caution near the summit of Munra and do not climb the chimney to the summit ridge unless you will be able to safely climb back down unassisted.
This hike starts at the John B Yeon Trailhead, but you can also start at the Wahclella Falls Trailhead, which saves approximately 1 mile round trip. For directions from Wahclella, see the Alternate Trailhead note at the bottom.
Munra Point is a fun, non-maintained scramble route to arguably one of the best viewpoints in the Columbia River Gorge, where three open knifeblade ridges converge on an exposed summit pyramid with 360 degree views.
From the John B Yeon Trailhead, you'll start eastward on the Elowah Falls Trail. You'll stay straight at a junction with Nesmith Point Trail #428 and again at a junction with the trail to Upper McCord Creek Falls. Soon the trail switchbacks down to beautiful Elowah Falls. Stop for a few picture taking opportunities, then continue across the footbridge. As you leave the falls the trail becomes Gorge Trail #400, although no signs mark the fact. The trail parallels the noisy freeway for about a mile, though it passes some interesting rockslide areas before ending at the paved Gorge bike path. Turn right and walk the paved path around a little bend for a couple of hundred yards until you see a sign for Gorge Trail #400 continuing off to your right. Follow the trail until it intersects the pavement again at the Moffet Creek bridge overpass. (You can also stay on the paved bike path to get to the overpass, rather than returning to the 400 trail.) At the overpass, cross the pavement and descent to a bridge over Moffett Creek. The trail climbs steeply out of the gully and turns east to parallel the freeway once more. Just after this turn, an unimproved trail departs uphill to the right, marked only by a "trail not maintained sign" (which is about 30 feet uptrail).
The unofficial Munra Point Trail climbs through a young forest of oaks and Douglas firs until it meets the other spur approach coming from the east side. Stay right at this junction and continue uphill. The trail has multiple braids as you climb up onto the ridge. Generally, staying to the right will ascend an easier switchback, while there is another option that will climb directly up the hill. In order to reduce erosion caused by hikers, please refrain from cutting any of the switchbacks or creating any new trails in this area.
After the steep switchbacks, the trail curves around a small hill and you gain the ridge. There is a short spur off to your left that takes you to an exposed viewpoint with a great view of the western Gorge. Continue to the right and follow the trail steeply up the ridge, scrambling over some rocky obstacles en route. Note: the original Munra use trail ascended directly up the ridge. Please do not cut around the climbing obstacles, as this creates new trails and further erodes the hillside.
The trail exits the forest onto an open slope leading up to the final summit ridges. The views of Beacon Rock, Hamilton Mountain and Table Mountain on the Washington side are nice enough that those who do not want to make the technical climb to the summit can be content to stop here and head back down. Dog owners are also encouraged to stop here, as the final section of the hike requires steep scrambling and there are dropoffs that may be dangerous for dogs.
Note: the summit area of Munra is exposed and a fall would result in severe injury.
To reach the summit, climb up an easy but steep chimney that leads to the summit ridge. From here, walk the exposed summit ridge to the summit pyramid. There is a well defined path along the ridge and up to the top, where you will be rewarded with magnificent 360 degree views.
From this vantage you get a great view of the Columbia River to the north spanning from Archer Mountain to the west all the way to Dog Mountain. Just below you to the northeast is the Bonneville Dam and the Bridge of the Gods, and Tanner Creek runs through the canyon off the east side of the summit. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Adams over the NE horizon.
Descend from the summit the way you came up. Use caution while down climbing the chimney, as climbing down is more difficult and dangerous than climbing up.
Note: there is a faint side trail heading down the ridge fin shown in the photo below that runs NE from the summit towards Bonneville Dam. This trail is not an alternative descent from the summit, as it only leads to exposed drop offs. There is no other way off the summit of Munra except back down the chimney and along the ridge you came up.
Starting at the Wahclella Falls Trailhead, backtrack toward the freeway and turn left on the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail. Cross Tanner Creek on the old highway bridge and look to your left for a sign for Gorge Trail #400 and a dirt path leading up the hill. Follow Trail #400 as it climbs up a small hill and then traverses west, parallel to the highway. Part of the trail follows an old roadbed, and the trail can be very overgrown with blackberries and other brush in summer - long pants are advised.
Just before the freeway bridge over Moffett Creek, the trail drops steeply for about 25 feet. At the base of this drop, you'll find an unmaintained trail heading up to the south. About 50 feet up the trail is a sign reading "Trail not maintained". If you start down to the trail bridge over Moffett Creek, you've gone a bit too far.
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Guidebooks that cover this hike
- Day Hike! Columbia Gorge, by Seabury Blair, Jr.
- Afoot and Afield Portland/Vancouver, by Douglas Lorain
- 35 Hiking Trails, Columbia River Gorge, by Don & Roberta Lowe
- Columbia River Gorge, 42 Scenic Hikes, by Don & Roberta Lowe
- Hiking the Columbia River Gorge - 1st and 2nd Editions, by Russ Schneider
- 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon - 3rd Edition, by William L Sullivan
- NWHiker.com Hike #22: Munra Point
- Munra Point - Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
- Moffett Creek - Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
- Geocache's on Munra Point