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Larch Mountain Crater Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Large hemlock in the crater's old growth forest (bobcat)
False lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum dilatatum) (bobcat)
A small lake in the Larch Mountain Crater (Don Nelson)
View to Sherrard Point from the crater's boggy meadow (bobcat)


Hike Description

NOTICE: The Forest Service has reopened the trail, but warns hikers to enter at their own risk because of hazardous conditions, including loose rocks, falling trees and limbs, debris flows, and damaged or blocked trails. The trails here were not burned by the Eagle Creek Fire, but experienced an accumulation of debris and vegetation during the closure period. Less experienced hikers should consider an alternative to this hike while these conditions exist, and all hikers with dogs or small children should consider safer alternatives.

Larch Mountain is second only to Mount Hood on the Portland skyline. It's distinctive profile can be seen from the entire city. What's less known is that like Mt. Hood, Larch Mountain is a volcanic peak with a crater of its own, albeit very old and eroded. The original hard rock surface of the crater has been eroded into soil that now supports forests and flowery meadows.

This hike starts at the Larch Mountain Trailhead. The Larch Mountain Trail, #441, starts at the southwest corner of the parking lot. This section is one of the few Columbia Gorge trails open to mountain bikes, although it doesn't seem to see a lot of use. You'll start by passing through an old, mostly abandoned campground. The trail then drops down somewhat steeply through a dense, view blocking forest. You'll cross a closed road and a large campsite. Two miles down, you'll turn right on to the Multnomah Creek Way Trail #444.

The path continues dropping down to a log bridge over Multnomah Creek 2/10 of a mile from the trail junction. Just across the bridge, you'll find Multnomah Creek Spur Trail #446. Stay to the right and continue on Trail #444 traveling upstream. The trail, now deep in the old crater, passes through a marshy meadow filled with shooting stars and marsh marigolds in the spring. This was once a lake, but centuries of natural sediments have filled it. Sherrard Point towers over this area. The trail switchbacks up the crater wall to an old logging railroad grade. The trail follows the relatively level abandoned grade for about a mile to a junction with Oneonta Trail #424.

Turn right here and head up Trail #424 for almost a mile to Larch Mountain Road. Turn right and hike up the road for 3/10 of a mile to your car.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hike! Columbia Gorge by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Afoot and Afield Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • 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 and Southwest Washington by William L Sullivan

More Links


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.