New to hiking gorge

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mba
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Joined: September 6th, 2018, 5:41 pm

New to hiking gorge

Post by mba » September 6th, 2018, 5:49 pm

Planning two day hikes, staying in White Salmon and wondering if Cape Horn Loop and Dog Mt are good hikes for last week in September. Planning on wearing layers and have rain gear for me and my backpack. Any other recommendations would be appreciated. I am accustomed to 10-15 mile hikes with varied elevation gain.

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arlohike
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Joined: April 28th, 2014, 8:28 pm

Re: New to hiking gorge

Post by arlohike » September 7th, 2018, 9:21 am

I'd suggest Hamilton Mountain instead of Cape Horn, especially if you can go on a weekday when it's less busy. You have to pay a $10 day fee to hike from Hamilton Mountain, but it's prettier IMO and will be a more satisfying challenge if you're accustomed to 10-15 mile hikes. Cape Horn is unique, especially the rocky lower section, but has some uninspiring road sections and isn't very long.

If you want to make the Dog Mountain hike longer, you can continue on to Augspurger Mountain. However, parts of that trail were getting overgrown when I did it in May; I don't know what it's like at this time of year.
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squidvicious
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Joined: May 11th, 2015, 8:41 pm

Re: New to hiking gorge

Post by squidvicious » September 7th, 2018, 4:04 pm

IMO Cape Horn is more something you do because you happen to live nearby, not something you travel for. I've been just once, and it was such an overall negative experience that I can't see giving it another try. The trails were just ravaged with people cutting switchbacks every few feet. Even on a weekday morning the viewpointa were so packed with crowds and picnickers that I didn't really even get a chance to check out views. And I saw so many cigarette butts on the trail that it's a wonder it wasn't burned out (apart from the jungle humidity in the overgrown brush). Did not enjoy.

If you did Hamilton Mountain you could also go up Beacon Rock while you're there, which is just kind of fun, especially if it's a weekday and there aren't too many people. But it is worth mentioning that Hamilton Mountain may not be an ideal choice if you have an issue with heights/fear of falling.

You're unlikely to have to worry much about layers or (probably, especially the way this year is going) rain gear in September.

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jdemott
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Re: New to hiking gorge

Post by jdemott » September 7th, 2018, 4:50 pm

Staying in White Salmon, I'd think seriously about making one of my day hikes in Indian Heaven Wilderness...late September is usually an ideal time to visit there. If you are set on hiking in the Gorge, you might consider exploring the Catherine Creek area...not a good destination in summer but nice once the leaves start to turn in the fall, and it offers very nice vistas.

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: New to hiking gorge

Post by Chip Down » September 8th, 2018, 10:37 am

Cape Horn and Dog are only worthwhile if you're out of other options (like if you live here and have done everything else). Hamilton and Table would be my recommended two. And they're close enough you can do them both on a loop (mostly kidding about that last part; it can be done, but not suitable for a first-timer). Beacon rock just takes a few minutes, and it's a worthy add-on.

If weather is sketchy, consider the Catherine Creek area. It's a little farther east, and tends to get less rain. A labyrinth of trails takes you through lots of great scenery, but you're never far from your car, so you don't feel uncomfortably committed.

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arlohike
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Re: New to hiking gorge

Post by arlohike » September 13th, 2018, 10:16 pm

If climbing Table Mountain seems like too much, you can view it from below from the Two Chiefs trail, exactly 15 miles:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=26518&view=unread#unread
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