Recommendations for creek backpacking near Portland?

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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theoryofmymind
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Joined: July 6th, 2019, 4:49 pm

Recommendations for creek backpacking near Portland?

Post by theoryofmymind » June 18th, 2020, 7:54 am

Hello!

I normally head to the lakes for my backpacking trips at this time of year, because my midwestern roots result in Oregon mosquitos finding me inedible. But this year I'm bringing a local friend along who doesn't want to be vampirized. But I still like to be near water of some kind, so we don't have to pack three days worth of water in with us. I have considered Elk Lake Creek because a map I have shows it running right along the water for most of it, but I have concerns about it still being pretty buggy. Does anyone have perspective on this? I couldn't find a trip report for this trail from June.

I'm open to any recommendations for this time of year. Hoping for something like a medium-length (10-20 mi.) trail that follows a creek of some sort, within 2.5 hours of east Portland. Doesn't need to follow the water the whole way, or have any specific "end" point or highlight. We prioritize solitude and less bugs over cool views.

Thank you for your input :)

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teachpdx
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Re: Recommendations for creek backpacking near Portland?

Post by teachpdx » June 18th, 2020, 8:37 am

Badger Creek. Right around 2.5 hours from Portland, and meets mileage and creek criteria.

https://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guid ... Creek_Hike
instagram: @robo_remy

theoryofmymind
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Re: Recommendations for creek backpacking near Portland?

Post by theoryofmymind » June 18th, 2020, 8:52 am

teachpdx wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 8:37 am
Badger Creek. Right around 2.5 hours from Portland, and meets mileage and creek criteria.

https://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guid ... Creek_Hike
Looks very nice! I have a question, if you've been there. What's the crowd situation like? A lot of cites list the usage here as "heavy", so I'm concerned about too many people. Trip is planned for the middle of the week.

leiavoia
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Re: Recommendations for creek backpacking near Portland?

Post by leiavoia » June 18th, 2020, 10:06 am

Quartz Creek near Mt St Helens might fit the bill here. It goes up a steep canyon up to Dark Meadow and eventually up to the ridgeline. The first few miles pleasantly follow water. There are a few dicey crossings, depending on the current year's bridge status and water volume. After that it starts going hard uphill, following the creek but not necessarily with water access. You can make a difficult loop by going up to the ridge and then following one of the Quartz Creek connector trails back down. These are likely steep and not especially well maintained.

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teachpdx
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Re: Recommendations for creek backpacking near Portland?

Post by teachpdx » June 18th, 2020, 11:43 am

theoryofmymind wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 8:52 am
Looks very nice! I have a question, if you've been there. What's the crowd situation like? A lot of cites list the usage here as "heavy", so I'm concerned about too many people. Trip is planned for the middle of the week.
I've never seen more than a few people, even on weekends.
The trailhead only has parking for maybe 4-5 cars, we definitely aren't talking anything near Gorge crowds, especially in the middle of the week. You'll have your pick of camping spots.
instagram: @robo_remy

theoryofmymind
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Re: Recommendations for creek backpacking near Portland?

Post by theoryofmymind » June 18th, 2020, 6:24 pm

[/quote]

I've never seen more than a few people, even on weekends.
The trailhead only has parking for maybe 4-5 cars, we definitely aren't talking anything near Gorge crowds, especially in the middle of the week. You'll have your pick of camping spots.
[/quote]

Sounds good, thanks! I never know how to gauge what different website consider "crowded".

theoryofmymind
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Re: Recommendations for creek backpacking near Portland?

Post by theoryofmymind » June 18th, 2020, 6:26 pm

leiavoia wrote:
June 18th, 2020, 10:06 am
Quartz Creek near Mt St Helens might fit the bill here. It goes up a steep canyon up to Dark Meadow and eventually up to the ridgeline. The first few miles pleasantly follow water. There are a few dicey crossings, depending on the current year's bridge status and water volume. After that it starts going hard uphill, following the creek but not necessarily with water access. You can make a difficult loop by going up to the ridge and then following one of the Quartz Creek connector trails back down. These are likely steep and not especially well maintained.
That does look like a nice hike. Unfortunately its over 3 hours drive for me, so I might have to save it for another time. Thanks for the rec though!

greenjello85
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Re: Recommendations for creek backpacking near Portland?

Post by greenjello85 » June 19th, 2020, 9:44 pm

I've never had mosquito troubles on Elk Lake Creek. The trail meets the creek every couple miles but only short sections are really on the creek. The southern few miles leave the creek all together as it gains elevation to Elk Lake. Bull of the woods area in general doesn't see a lot of maintenance so be prepared for blow down & potentially tricky navigation.

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drm
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Re: Recommendations for creek backpacking near Portland?

Post by drm » June 20th, 2020, 6:09 am

Lewis River. At it's end, it morphs into the Quartz Creek trail mentioned above, but that gains a lot of altitude and you will hit snow if hiking in June.

The lowest trailhead for the Lewis River trailhead is Curly Creek Falls, which is unique because the falls emerges from beneath a rock bridge.

erbombla
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Re: Recommendations for creek backpacking near Portland?

Post by erbombla » July 15th, 2020, 9:49 am

Where did you end up going? I recommend Siouxon Creek in Washington. It's about an hour and a half from Portland. You can do an out and back trip.

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