Ramona Falls Hike
From Oregon Hikers Field Guide
- Start point: Ramona Falls Trailhead
- End point: Ramona Falls
- Trail Log: Ramona Falls Hike/Log
- Distance: 7.0 miles round trip
- Hike Type: Loop
- Elevation gain: 1100 feet
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Seasons: Late Spring to early Fall, or year round if you don't mind winter conditions
- Family Friendly: No (There are no plans to put back the seasonal bridge)
- Backpackable: No
- Crowded: Yes
The Ramona Falls Hike is a favorite summer destination for outdoor enthusiasts due to it easy trail, relative proximity to Portland, and it's beautiful climax at the wondrous Ramona Falls. This hike describes and out-and-back trail with a slightly longer loop option.
WARNING - DANGEROUS RIVER CROSSING: In August 2014 the bridge over the Sandy River washed out after a thunderstorm that dropped about two inches of rain up above on the mountain, drowning someone that was crossing on it. As of December 2015 the U.S. Forest Service is reporting that it's unlikely the bridge will ever be replaced. That makes this a much more difficult and dangerous hike.
Start south passed the information board. The first mile goes along the south side of the Sandy River. Be careful because the Sandy River can undercut the trail causing it to collapse. You'll shortly come a junction with the Sandy River Trail. Go straight here.
At about mile 1 is the Sandy River Crossing. There is no longer a seasonal bridge, so this can be difficult and dangerous. If it's late August or September and there hasn't been recent rain, you can probably rock hop. Sometimes, it's easier if you go about 100 yards upstream from the old bridge. There are a bunch of trees that can be used to cross. Maybe it's safer to walk across getting your feet wet.
At about mile 1.5 is the junction with the River Side Ramona Falls Trail (#797) which goes right and the Creek Side Ramona Falls Trail (also #797) which goes left. I assume you take the River Side Trail and come back on the Creek Side Trail, but you can take either. This is also the official PCT (northbound goes left, southbound goes right) but most PCT hikers take a route by Ramona Falls.
At mile 2.8 on the River Side Trail is the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail, which goes right. You can take this a short distance down to the Sandy River or continue up a long steep grade to Paradise Park and then further around the mountain (see Paradise Park from Ramona Falls Hike).
Assuming you stay left on the Ramona Falls Trail, at mile 3.3 you reach Ramona Falls at 3450' elevation.
If you're not tired yet, there is a much longer trail option described here: Yocum Ridge Hike
To get back to the trailhead you can return the way you came, but for a minimal additional effort you enjoy a some different scenery by returning via the the Creekside Ramona Falls Trail. This option is 0.3 mile longer but is shadier and hugs the babbling creek for the first mile.
Cross the footbridge at the base of the falls and turn to your left, following Ramona Creek. You may notice the Timberline Trail diverts off to the right (This used to be a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail until being rerouted to avoid crossing the Muddy Fork of the Sandy River). After about a 1/4 mile, watch to the for a huge rock wall to your right. These bluffs are at the base of Yocum Ridge to the northeast. If you weren't able to stop for lunch in the cool respite at Ramona Falls, you'll find plenty more opportunities on this pretty creek-side section. After about a mile your the trail veers away from the creek and heads north. Continue another 0.7 mile to the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail.
As well traveled and wide as the trail is in this next section, it is easy to take a wrong turn and end up miles from your destination, so read the signage carefully and keep tabs with your map.
At the aforementioned junction, the PCT goes off to the right (eventually crossing the Muddy Fork of the Sandy River and on up Bald Mountain). Instead, you will turn left, and continue on the Ramona Falls Trail. You'll pass another junction with a horse route and after about a half mile cross Ramona Creek again before merging back with the trail you came up on. Turn right here the way you came in.
Just after the merge you'll again cross the Sandy River, then head left about a mile back to the trailhead.
- Maps: Hike Finder
Fees, Regulations, etc.
- Northwest Forest Pass required
- Search Trip Reports for Ramona
Related Discussions / Q&A
- Search Trail Q&A for Ramona
Guidebooks that cover this hike
- Hiking Oregon's Geology, by Ellen Morris Bishop
- Ramona Falls Trailhead (USFS)
- Mt Hood solo hiker drowned while crossing swollen Sandy River (Traditional Mountaineering)
- Ramona Falls (Northwest Waterfall Survey)
- Ramona Falls (Oregon.com)
- User:retiredjerry (creator)