Beginners Backpacking Recommendation Needed

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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lisabee328
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Beginners Backpacking Recommendation Needed

Post by lisabee328 » August 14th, 2019, 11:35 am

Hi All,
I'm taking a friend out on an overnighter (just one night, 2days) and I'm looking for recommendations. We want to stay within a 2 hour drive of Portland. Since it's her first time, I want to do something not too crowded and fairly low elevation gain, and keep it around 10-12 miles RT. I've been looking at some places in Indian Heaven and Mt Hood area but I'm open to other ideas too :) Anybody have suggestions?

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retired jerry
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Re: Beginners Backpacking Recommendation Needed

Post by retired jerry » August 14th, 2019, 1:23 pm

Mt Hood because 11 months out of the year there's too much snow. Alpine areas are best during those few times of the year they're accessible.

Timberline Lodge to Paradise Park although that might be too much. Check out the lodge while you're at it.

Or Top Spur to Cairn Basin. Or to the McNeil shelter trail. But again, might be too much elevation gain.

leiavoia
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Re: Beginners Backpacking Recommendation Needed

Post by leiavoia » August 14th, 2019, 1:51 pm

Serene Lake Loop (12 mile loop, Roaring River Wilderness) and Big Slide Lake (12 miles out and back, Bull of the Woods Wilderness) make good first-time trips. These are better after labor day weekend when kids are back in school and crowds have gone home. They are also accessible later into the fall as snow levels descend.

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drm
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Re: Beginners Backpacking Recommendation Needed

Post by drm » August 14th, 2019, 2:10 pm

You say that you don't want it to be too crowded but you didn't say if it will be a weekend. Short, easy, and uncrowded on a weekend isn't all that easy. Trapper Creek (north of Carson) to Terrace Camp could be an uncrowded weekend option.

lisabee328
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Re: Beginners Backpacking Recommendation Needed

Post by lisabee328 » August 14th, 2019, 3:32 pm

It will be a weekend. Unfortunately we can't take the time off to enjoy the solitude of during-the-week!

I was considering Carin Basin or Paradise Park because it's so pretty and that's part of the fun of backpacking. Do you have intel on where to camp at Carin Basin? Are the sites pretty obvious?

I'll be sure to check out the other recs in Bull of the Woods and Roaring River too.

pcg
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Re: Beginners Backpacking Recommendation Needed

Post by pcg » August 14th, 2019, 5:27 pm

lisabee328 wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 3:32 pm
I was considering Carin Basin or Paradise Park
She needs to be in fairly good shape or she will not enjoy the hike. Even hiking from Timberline, the trek down and out of Zig Zag Canyon on a hot August day can be a mistake if you want to introduce your gal to backpacking. The alpine is wonderful, but combining carrying a backpack with uphill hiking in August heat is introducing three challenges right out of the gate.

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adamschneider
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Re: Beginners Backpacking Recommendation Needed

Post by adamschneider » August 14th, 2019, 6:38 pm

Like Jerry said, if you're going at this time of year, I'd go for alpine terrain since it's such a short window. And like Dean said, if you want a beautiful spot close to Portland on a weekend, you may have to forgo the "uncrowded" part.

I'd recommend McNeil Point, but lord knows you won't be alone. That said, if you hike to McNeil Point but then go cross-country to the east from the McNeil Point Trail (i.e., across Glisan Creek but uphill/south of Cairn Basin) you might have that whole area to yourself.

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retired jerry
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Re: Beginners Backpacking Recommendation Needed

Post by retired jerry » August 14th, 2019, 6:55 pm

At Cairn Basin there are a number of nice sites, it's pretty obvious. Just explore around and on side trails.

I think there are several nice sites before Cairn Basin, after the ponds. There are several side trails including the marked trail to McNeil Point. Go down each maybe 0.1 mile and see if you can find a nice spot.

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