It was a wonderful, sunny day for this 13.8-mile hike. We began from the Bonneville Trailhead, and enjoyed the rolling grade of the Tamanous Trail. The section of this hike that coincides with the Pacific Crest Trail is likewise very pleasant - beautiful little lakes interspersed with rushing creeks and lovely footbridges make for a scenic few miles.
However, the trail condition took a turn for the worse when we split off onto the Two Chiefs Trail (a junction which notably lacks any signage). This trail looked as if it had not been maintained in quite some time - there were small branches strewn over almost the whole path, and numerous downed trees blocking the trail. Navigating these downs necessitated some off-trail ventures, which put us into the extremely thick growth of 4ft high nettles that lines the trail on both sides. While it was a fun challenge at first, it greatly slowed our pace and left our legs stinging from nettles. Future hikers might benefit from wearing long pants or gaiters for this section.
The trail condition improved significantly once we joined up with the Aldrich Butte trail, and the climb up to the peak of the Butte was a very nice grade. The view from the top could not have been clearer! We continued past the WWII remnants on a narrow trail with a steep drop on the south side to get a glimpse of Mt. Adams' snowy peak.
Use this forum to report and discuss trails in need of maintenance. This will help organizations like TKO and agencies like the Forest Service get the most recent on-the-ground trail conditions.
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That area, like much of the Gorge, was hit hard by the snowy winter. The Two Chiefs Trail in particular sees no official maintenance and relies on the charity of its users to get cleared. It doesn't have the benefit of organized PCT trail maintenance nor the use. Excluding the PCT, there is a general lack of signage in the area. Also, the change in land access may have delayed the trail clearings further. Nonetheless, sounds like you had a great hike and great views. It is a very nice area, indeed!