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St. Cloud Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View east from the Columbia shore, St. Cloud (bobcat)
Apple tree, St. Cloud (bobcat)
Columbia coreopsis (Coreopsis atkinsoniana), St. Cloud (bobcat)
The loop and shore walk at St. Cloud (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: St. Cloud TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Columbia River Shore
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 1.0 miles
  • High Point: 50 feet
  • Elevation gain: 25 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

The St. Cloud Trail #4410 is a very short universal access loop of less than half a mile that meanders around an old apple orchard and picnic area. You can also explore the Columbia River shore here to add to your walk. When water levels are low in summer and fall, you may meander east on the exposed flats and enjoy the late summer riparian bloom. Blackberries are also ripe then! The orchard is the site of the St. Cloud Ranch, which was a summer estate for the Vial family from 1909 to the 1950s. The Forest Service purchased the land here in 1990; part of the former estate is an extensive protected wetland. Since the Northwest Forest Pass is required just to park here, you will find it little used much of the time.

There’s a restroom and information sign at the west end of the parking lot. From the trailhead, you can drop into the old apple orchard of Spitzenburg and Newtown-Pippin varieties. Warning signs tell you not to eat the apples since they are infested with maggots. Skirt the east side of the orchard area, passing hawthorns and a blackberry patch, and then take a path down through false indigo and willow scrub to the river bank. Coreopsis and sneezeweed bloom here in late summer/early fall. There’s a trail that leads east across Gable Creek and through the sedge to reach a wide mudflat, which has good footing from July to October. Bright yellow sneezeweed blooms against the willow thickets. You can hop across Indian Mary Creek, where wapato, a Native American staple, blooms in late summer, and head along the mudflat. You might see hundreds of mussel shells here. At some point, you’ll reach the boundary with the Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Turn back at that point, since the refuge is out-of-bounds to the general public. Multnomah Falls is visible across the river and you can see to St. Peter's Dome and Yeon Mountain; Archer Mountain looms behind to the north. Downriver are Skamania Island, Phoca Rock, and Cape Horn.

On the return, you'll find that the beach going west is considerably more narrow and rocky, so resume the St. Cloud Loop through the orchard and return to your vehicle.

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
  • USDA Forest Service/Bureau of Land Management: Columbia River Gorge

Regulations, facilities, etc

  • Northwest Forest Pass required at the trailhead
  • Dogs on leash
  • Vault toilet
  • Picnic area
  • Interpretive signs

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hike! Columbia Gorge by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • 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.