Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •    Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!
| Page | Discussion | View source | History | Print Friendly and PDF

Rainy Lake Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Rainy Lake and Mt. Defiance from Green Point Mountain, Gorton Creek Trail (bobcat)
A-frame outhouse, Rainy Lake Campground (bobcat)
World War II signal hut at the junction with the Herman Cutoff Trail (bobcat)
Rainy Lake and Green Point Mountain (bobcat)
The short loop from the Rainy Lake Trailhead (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo/USFS
  • Start point: Rainy Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Green Point Mountain
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 3.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 755 feet
  • High Point: 4,736 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Summer through fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

This is a shorter, family-friendly version of the Green Point Mountain Loop Hike which still takes in the summit of Green Point Mountain itself as well as Rainy Lake. You'll experience some old growth montane forest on the Rainy-Wahtum Trail, visit a World War II signal hut, get big views to Mount Defiance, Mount Adams, and Mount Hood, and then walk the low dam wall at Rainy Lake.

From the Rainy Lake Trailhead, walk to your left to the beginning of the Rainy-Wahtum Trail #409 (There was a temporary sign here in 2018). The trail follows the route of the old Wahtum Lake Road, a narrow, nail-biting, rock strewn nightmare according to those who drove it back in the day. Cross a seep vegetated with skunk-cabbage, salmonberry, and arrow-leaf groundsel, and step over an old berm. This is an old-growth montane forest of tall Douglas-fir, mountain hemlock, noble fir, and silver fir. Hike up to old wooden gate posts on either side of the road. Two hundred yards from the posts, you'll pass the almost imperceptible junction with the abandoned Black Lake Trail (See the Black Lake from Rainy Lake Hike). Keep rising on a wet trail, and pass below a cliff face before crossing a talus slope rimmed with vine maple. Reach the Gorton Creek-Herman Creek Cutoff-Rainy Wahtum Trail Junction, and note the old World War II signal hut at the beginning of the Herman Creek Cutoff Trail.

Make a sharp right onto the Gorton Creek Trail #408. Swish gradually up through huckleberry bushes in montane forest. Pass a rock outcropping, and veer towards the eastern rim of Green Point Mountain. Heading up over the summit of the mountain, you will find a couple of viewpoints past the lodgepole pines to the right offering expansive vistas to Mount Defiance, Mount Adams and Goat Rocks. Look back also to Mount Hood. Steep andesite cliffs and scree lead down to Rainy Lake. Continue on down the ridge crest in a bear-grass understory to reach the four-way Gorton Creek-Green Point Ridge-North Lake Trail Junction.

Make a right to descend a rocky slope supporting lupine and clumps of pinemat manzanita. Get a view of Mount Defiance, and then come to a talus slope where views open up to the Hood River Valley and back to Mount Hood. Pass through a dense thicket of Sitka alder, bitter cherry, vine maple, cascara, boxwood, and snowberry to reach another talus opening. Then enter the fir/hemlock forest, and hike through a gap in a mossy boulder field. Reach the North Lake-Rainy Lake Trail Junction, and turn right.

Look for a rock-studded meadow rimmed by Sitka alder on the left before walking through bear-grass carpeted woods. Cross a footbridge over a creek, and reach the east shore of Rainy Lake. The trail uses the low earth dam that contains the lake, which was dammed to serve as a log pond in the early 20th century. A screen of Sitka alder conceals views as you negotiate a buckled bridge that spans the outlet creek. You can get a glimpse of Green Point Mountain before you reach the small beach and access point at the lake's southeast corner. From here, Trail #623A descends in a forest of mountain hemlock, Douglas-fir, silver fir, and Alaska yellow-cedar with some lodgepole pines. Pass the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness sign, and reach the Rainy Lake Campground and Trailhead.


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Bonneville Dam, OR #429
  • Green Trails Maps: Columbia River Gorge - West #428S
  • Geo-Graphics: Trails of the Columbia Gorge
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Hood River Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Outhouse, campground, picnic area at Rainy Lake Trailhead
  • $5 day use fee; $15 camping fee (payable to Lost Lake Resort)

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 70 Virtual Hikes of the Columbia River Gorge by Northwest Hiker

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.