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Nesmith-Tanner Traverse Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

This page is marked as a Closed Hike. Some or all of this hike has been closed by a governing body and hikers may be liable for fines or even arrest. At least part of this route may be dangerous and hard to follow, or it may cross areas with sensitive plant life or wildlife habitat. Trailkeepers of Oregon does not endorse or recommend hiking this route. When restrictions are lifted, this notice will be removed.
View from the Nesmith Trail (Jeff Statt)
Leaning outhouse on Nesmith Point (Jeff Statt)
Hamilton and Table Mountain across the river (Jeff Statt)
  • Start point: John B Yeon TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Wahclella Falls Trailhead
  • Trail Log : Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Point to point (Car Shuttle)
  • Distance: 16.7 miles one way
  • Elevation gain: 4350 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult due to elevation gain
  • Seasons: Apr-Oct
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

NOTICE: This trail is closed until further notice because of damage from the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire. Please check the list of Columbia Gorge trail closures before you plan for a hike.

This hike starts the same as the Nesmith Point Hike but then goes down a different trail to a different trailhead. You'll need a second car or someone to pick you up.

This hike starts in the John B Yeon State Park parking lot. This place might be the highest theft lot in the gorge. Leave your valuable things at home! You'll start up the trail, pass an old water tank, switchback and come to a trail junction, all in the first 50 steps. Take the right trail fork, marked as the Nesmith Point Trail #428.

The first mile of the trail doesn't climb too steeply. You'll pass a former trail junction with the Gorge Trail #400, headed west. This trail was completely wiped out by a 1996 landslide. Some books say it's gone permanently, some say it will be rebuilt. You'll have to look for yourself. This hike continues up the Nesmith Point Trail and here we really mean UP! Switchbacks are the norm here, and their pretty steep ones too. You'll get several viewpoints served up as rewards for your climbing. You'll be able to see Mount Adams, Mount Saint Helens and most of the Washington side of the gorge, as well as good looks at the huge 1996 landslide that started from Nesmith and closed the freeway for days.

After about two miles of heavy climbing, things get a little easier when you reach the rim and bear right at Corky's Corner. You'll traverse up the edge of the McCord Creek bowl, still climbing gradually, until you reach the Nesmith Point Trail-Nesmith Point Road Junction about five miles from the trailhead. Turn right on the road and hike about 500 feet to the end of the road and the location of an old fire lookout above the steep red cinder slope at Nesmith Point. Trees have grown up here, but you'll still have a good view to the east. For a better view continue down a small path past the lookout and the old lookout outhouse. A short distance down the slope, there's a great lookout with a view of the entire gorge. Soak in the sites and return the way you came to the old road. Hike down the road past the junction with the Nesmith Point Trail and then past the Horsetail Creek Trail-Nesmith Point Road Junction. From here, it's another 500 feet or so to the Moffett Creek Trail-Nesmith Point Road Junction. Turn left and head east on the Moffett Creek Trail #430.

The trail drops for about 1.1 miles to a crossing of McCord Creek. A half mile beyond that is a junction with Wauneka Point Trail #429, which heads north onto the ridge separating McCord Creek from Tanner Creek. You'll cross a power line road and then you'll come to Von Ahn Rim Campsite, about 2 1/2 miles from Nesmith Point, shortly before the wilderness boundary. After entering the wilderness, the trail drops down toward Tanner Creek. At the bottom, there's a ford and a short trip up to Tanner Creek Trail #431. If you're looking for a campsite, there's a good one a short way to the right.

If you're heading home, turn left on Trail #431, and in a mile and a half, you'll reach Tanner Road #777. Sadly, for your sore feet, this road is closed to cars, so you have 4.5 miles of road walking ahead of you. Fortunately, the road is pretty. At the base of the road, walk around the gate and you'll be at the Tooth Rock Trailhead.

Note - If you're lacking a second car, turn left off Road #777 at a signed junction with the Gorge Trail #400. Follow the signs closely as you're directed across several little roads and 0.7 miles later, you'll be at the Wahclella Falls parking lot. From there, there's a 3.0 mile connection on Gorge Trail #400 back to Yeon State Park.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass required at Wahclella Falls Trailhead, nothing at Yeon Trailhead

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Guidebooks that cover this hike

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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.