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Sams Walker Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View to the Oregon side of the Gorge, Sams-Walker (bobcat)
Invasive brownray knapweed (Centaurea jacea), Sams-Walker (bobcat)
Grace's Meadow, Sams-Walker (bobcat)
The loop walk around the old Sams farm (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Sams Walker TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Sams Walker Viewpoint
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 1.1 miles
  • High Point: 45 feet
  • Elevation gain: 15 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

This is a pleasant interpretive loop taking in some river frontage and meadowland on former farmland directly across the Columbia River from St. Peter's Dome. Horsetail Falls and the Oneonta Gorge can be seen to the southwest. If it were not for the intervention of Friends of the Columbia Gorge, this spot of prime riverfront real estate would be a suburban-type subdivision. The development, Hidden Harbor, was approved in 1983 by Skamania County, but a lawsuit by the Friends halted construction and the property was acquired by the Trust for Public Land, which transferred it to the Forest Service in 1988.

Picnic tables sit under shady walnut trees in the parking area. An information sign explains that this is the old Sams family farm. The trail passes through a fence and enters Grace’s Meadow, explained by an interpretive sign. Cross the meadow, which blooms with invasive knapweed in the summer, and reach a junction. Here, go left under oaks, cottonwoods and hazel bushes. A spur leads left to a viewpoint over the river under shady cottonwoods. Back at the junction, make a left to cross a meadow. Pass under oaks and reach a thicket of plums on the left with apple trees on the right. Then tall cottonwoods lend their shade again. At a junction with a tie trail, keep left and reach an overlook with a picnic bench and a willow thicket below. From here, you can see across to Horsetail Falls. Pass more interpretive signs, crossing a meadow that also forms the boundary with the Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge. There are cottonwoods to the left and Oregon ash and oaks to the right. The trail bends to the right as you crunch along on acorns under the oak trees. Enter evergreen woods with Douglas-firs and a view of the meadow to the right. Pass a junction with the tie trail and head into lush woods under alders, Douglas-firs, and western red-cedars. There’s a small cedar grove, explained by a sign. Exit the woods under an old, spreading ash tree - worth a moment of awe if you're a dendrophile - to reenter the meadow. Reach a junction, where you go left and walk along the edge of the riverside woodland. There are views of Hamilton Mountain and Hardy Ridge. At the last junction, go left and return to the car.


  • 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
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Regulations, facilities, etc

  • Northwest Forest Pass (or America the Beautiful 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

  • Take a Walk: Portland by Brian Barker
  • Columbia Gorge Getaways by Laura O. Foster
  • Day Hiking: Columbia River Gorge by Craig Romano
  • Day Hike! Columbia Gorge by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Pokin' Round the Gorge by Scott Cook

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.