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Sevenmile Hill Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Rockpile on Sevenmile Hill (bobcat)
Grassy swards, Sevenmile Hill (bobcat)
Paintbrush, balsamroot, lupine, Sevenmile Hill (bobcat)
View to Chenoweth Tableland from Sevenmile Hill (bobcat)
Flowers eye view, Sevenmile Hill (bobcat)
Possible walking loop in red; access road shown in blue; USFS boundaries in yellow (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Sevenmile Hill TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Devils Hole Viewpoint
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 4.8 miles
  • High point: 1980 feet
  • Elevation gain: 1260 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All year, but spring is best
  • Family Friendly: For older, adventurous kids
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

Sevenmile Hill stretches from Badger Creek to McCall Point on the Oregon side of the Columbia River and fronts a section of the Washington Gorge from the Klickitat River to The Dallesport scablands. There are no official trails between McCall Point and Badger Creek, although it is doable as a cross-country jaunt if you pay keen attention to private/public land boundaries. However, the Forest Service owns a substantial parcel of land on the southeast slope of Sevenmile Hill, and these open slopes, which exhibit some of the most magnificent flower displays in the Gorge in the spring, can be hiked to viewpoints overlooking the Rowena Gap and Devils Hole. In reality, you can hike anywhere on this property, but the description sends you on a loop to the western boundary fence, then to the north rim, and lastly down the eastern boundary fence.

Hike up to the left of, but away from, the entrance road (Don't pass through the No Trespassing barrels), and keep up the slope after you cross a rocky draw. Soon walk over the top of a knoll with a small rock windbreak composed of granite glacial erratics (This whole lower face of Sevenmile Hill displays numerous erratics rafted downriver from the Rocky Mountains during the massive Missoula Floods at the end of the last ice age, 15,000 to 13,000 years ago. The periodic floods backed up here, sometimes to a depth of 1,000 feet, at the entrance to the Rowena Gap.). You will get a view of Mount Hood to the left and sweeping views back to The Dalles and the Columbia Hills. The slope here is thick with blooming balsamroot, lupine, milk-vetch, popcorn flower, tarweed, and fiddleneck, to name a few, from mid-April to early May. The dominant plant is the balsamroot which, in a good year, paints the entire hillside a dazzling yellow. Head up gradually to your left, reaching a draw. Walk across the broken fence line here and cross a small bench. Continue hiking up to your left. At some point, you should see the southwest boundary corner of the property and a fence line ahead. This is the western boundary, so head towards it.

Go right along the fence line, but do not cross it even though it is in disrepair. Periodically, signs will remind you that you cannot trespass. Eventually, reach a thicket of scrubby oaks. Keep through the oaks - you will find a deer trail that roughly parallels the fence. Poison oak flourishes here: if you want to avoid it, head down keeping to the outside of the oak copses. When you reach the rim in oak woods, turn right and begin heading down the slope, keeping the rim to your left.

At a gap in the oaks, head out to a viewpoint over the Devils Hole and the Ortley Pinnacles. Mount Adams is also visible on a clear day. Drop down on an open meadow, with oaks to your left and a collapsed ponderosa pine to your right. Reenter the oak woods and find another viewpoint on the rim. Now wind down out of the oaks to an open grassland. With more oaks below, begin to head to your right down the slope and find the eastern property fence. Cattle graze on the private side, where the lush balsamroot/lupine carpet has disappeared. On the Forest Service side, however, the slope is brilliant with blooms in mid-spring. Coming above a steep-oak lined draw, go right to cross it, be careful of the poison oak here. Cross another draw and continue angling down the slope to where you parked.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Columbia River Gorge East, OR-WA #432S (Shows property boundaries only)

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Respect all private property signs

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Curious 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.