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Sherrard Point Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View north from Sherrard Point (Steve Hart)
Rock penstemon (Penstemon rupicola), Sherrard Point (bobcat)
Mt Hood from Sherrard Point (Steve Hart)
Winter at the summit, Sherrard Point (bobcat)
The short loop to Sherrard Point (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Larch Mountain TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Sherrard Point
  • Trail Log : Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 0.6 miles round trip
  • High point: 4,055 feet
  • Elevation gain: 170 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Apr-Oct
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes

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 walk on a paved trail does ascend a series of stairs, so it still could be a bit of a chore for those with heart problems. The destination is probably the best viewpoint in Multnomah County, the volcanic plug atop Larch Mountain known as Sherrard Point. Concrete panels at the site of the old lookout tell about the Cascade peaks in view, and there's an attractive and varied display of wildflowers around the rocky summit in early summer. Note that the name 'Larch Mountain' is a misnomer: larch, a much coveted tree often used for telephone poles, does not grow here - the name was coopted by the timber trade to label noble fir, which grows at this elevation in abundance.

From late November/early December through June, the road leading to the top of Larch Mountain is gated about four miles down, so during those months the trip to Sherrard Point becomes a nine-mile round-trip hike/ski/snowshoe, mostly on the snow-covered road.

The trail departs from the northeast corner of the Larch Mountain parking lot. You want the paved trail on the far right, closest to the pay station. The paved trail wanders slightly downhill through a montane forest of noble fir, silver fir, mountain hemlock, and western hemlock to a saddle, where you'll pass the Larch Mountain Trail coming in from the left. Then you come to several flights of stairs - about 125 steps in all. Near the top, you'll see a plaque commemorating Thomas H. Sherrard, an early Mt. Hood National Forest Supervisor. Blooming on the steep rock faces in summer are Howell’s daisies, alumroot, rock penstemon, matted saxifrage, and Cardwell’s penstemon.

At the top, you'll find a flat cement viewpoint, fenced for safety. Below the point, you'll see a tarn and the crater meadow. The view extends to the coast range on the west and to Mount Defiance on the east. On the Washington side of the Gorge, you'll see Silver Star Mountain, Hamilton Mountain, Birkenfeld Mountain, and Table Mountain, while behind them rise the snowy peaks of Mount Saint Helens, Mount Rainier, and Mount Adams. To the south, Mount Hood and the top of Mount Jefferson are visible.

On the return, you can make a min-loop by going left at the junction in the saddle. The trail takes you up to the old automobile turnaround, which is lined by a low stone wall. There used to be a viewpoint here. From the south end of this turnaround, take the trail down into the picnic area, and keep going to reach the Larch Mountain Trailhead.

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Bridal Veil, OR #428
  • Green Trails Maps: Columbia River Gorge - West #428S
  • Geo-Graphics: Trails of the Columbia Gorge
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service/Bureau of Land Management: Columbia River Gorge
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass required at the trailhead.
  • Restrooms and picnic area

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Columbia Gorge Getaways by Laura O. Foster

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.