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South Mt. Defiance and Bear Lake trails. 9/03/06

Posted by bjul49 (2006-09-04)
  In the old 100 hikes in NW Oregon books this hike had a separate page in the front of the book, but in the newest(06), edition the directions are wrong, so you need Green Trails map Hood River and an old book.
 Let me first say that this hike really needs a high clearance vehicle or nerves of steel, neither of which I had.  So it took at least 45 minutes to do the last 10 miles of bad gravel ( a piece of cake for a truck), in my  car. 2 hour trip from Gateway in Portland.
 The road,(Punchbowl Rd which becomes 2820) eventually leads to Rainy Lake, which has a nice loop around Green Point Mountain.  Both these hikes are for those who don't want to labor up from   I 84, and since the whole hike to Mt D and Bear Lake was only 4.8 and 1600 elevation, afterwards you could drive 1.5 miles further and do the rainy Lake loop.( In back of Sullivan, and in my opinion, nicer.)
  At the trailhead turn right after a few steps or else you'll be barrelling down to Wahtum Lake. The trail is rubbly to start with, then climbs  through woods, past the left turn to Bear Lake, reaching an intersection in a large rock field(actually the third, and largest) The sign is very old, and the trail is  an amazing jigsaw of stone. Turn right here and go around  the hill and up to the unsightly and eerie microwave towers. There  might have been great views of  Mt Hood, but too smokey yesterday.  However on the  left hand side at the top is a small trail leading to a large rock where you can look right down to the Columbia River and feel thankful you didn't slog up all that way for this. Descend to the Bear Lake turn off and go  slightly up and then down 0.8 mile to Bear Lake.On this Labor Day weekend, even though it is only 20 miles from Hood River, there was no one there, even though it is  a pleasant lake with at least 3 campsites and view of Mt D. In fact  though there were 4 cars at the TH we only saw 2 people all day.

Re: South Mt. Defiance and Bear Lake trails. 9/03/06

Posted by jeffstatt (2006-09-04)
Thanks for that up to trail trail info and the directions.  Great!

Count me among the many who slogged up the hard way to Mt Defiance, to no view at all!  It was like the one day all last summer that was socked in.  Go and figure. 

I'd like to see a pic of bear lake.  I haven't seen a photo in any of the books, although the hike itself is included in two of the books I have.

What about camping?  Any sites availabe on that lake?

Re: South Mt. Defiance and Bear Lake trails. 9/03/06

Posted by Bill Sullivan (2006-09-07)
You're right! When I reduced the Bear Lake hike to an "Other Hiking Options" listing in this year's edition of "100 Hikes in NW Oregon" I edited the text so severely that it left out a turn in the driving directions. I'll add a line or two to the next printing in April, 2007 and fix it.

In the meantime, bjul49, you've won a free book! I like to reward people who find corrections for my guidebooks. All you'll need to do is tell me which of my books you'd like (the complete list is at www.oregonhiking.com, and then send me your snail mail address (my email is at the bottom of the www.oregonhiking.com site).

Thanks for helping -- I update this book every single year, and I appreciate suggestions.

Best, Bill

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