Backpacking Herman Creek

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
erbombla
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Backpacking Herman Creek

Post by erbombla » June 3rd, 2021, 10:43 am

My partner and I are researching backpacking trips for next weekend, so at least two or three days. Herman Creek looks like a strong contender. I read one report from January. It appears the area is safe, despite a few blowdowns. But I am having difficulty getting current conditions regarding trail closures and snow levels. When routing a trip on Gaia, it does show Ruckel Creek is closed. Which route do you recommend? I prefer doing a loop, so Benson Plateau looks promising. Wahtum Lake is another option. Any input is appreciated!

Aimless
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Re: Backpacking Herman Creek

Post by Aimless » June 3rd, 2021, 11:01 am

There was some info posted to the Snow Level 2021 thread on May 17. I think this will link to it:

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=29471&p=218623&hilit=Herman#p218623

leiavoia
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Re: Backpacking Herman Creek

Post by leiavoia » June 3rd, 2021, 12:40 pm

In previous years, i have gone down the herman creek trail, up over the green-point cutoff trail, and down the other side to the Rainy / North / Bear / Black lakes area. You can then circle back on the Nick Eaton Ridge trail back to the parking area.

The Harphan Creek / Wy-Eth Campground trail is closed however, last i checked. It was burned out by the Eagle Creek fire and i dont think it ever reopened. It was a somewhat neglected trail to begin with.

Snow level starts around ~4000ft right now. Just because there is snow doesnt mean you cant go, it just means there will be snow on the ground.

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jime
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Re: Backpacking Herman Creek

Post by jime » June 3rd, 2021, 4:55 pm

This is the Dec 2020 update map on Gorge trail closures. I believe this is current with the exception of the Eagle Creek trail was closed again in Jan 2021.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DO ... 872159.pdf

There's a bunch of out-of-date trail status info on the internet and I had trouble finding this map. Herman/Benson open.
Beware - there may still be some "trail closed" signs out in the woods where the trail is now open. I encountered one this week on the South end of the Franklin Ridge trail.
Last edited by jime on June 4th, 2021, 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

erbombla
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Re: Backpacking Herman Creek

Post by erbombla » June 4th, 2021, 10:03 am

jime wrote:
June 3rd, 2021, 4:55 pm
This is the Dec 2020 update map on Gorge trail closures.
Thanks for finding that! It's very helpful. It looks like this trip is definitely possible. I used that map and created one with CalTopo:

https://caltopo.com/m/BDV3

My next concern is the snow level. I understand it's at about 4,000ft. If I go down Herman Creek Trail/406 to the cutoff at 410, the elevation rises to 4,400ft. I'm concerned the snow will be too deep. I certainly don't want to be post-holing! Has anyone been out there recently? I might play it safe and do the Benson Plateau hike instead.

leiavoia
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Re: Backpacking Herman Creek

Post by leiavoia » June 4th, 2021, 10:35 am

I tromped around Mt Hood up to Cast Lake around 4,500ft last weekend. There was snow at 4000+ but it was fully manageable in trail runners with no special equipment. It isnt fresh snow and you can easily walk across the top.

I would recommend going down to Wahtum Lake and taking the trail up the ridge from there though. The cutoff trail from Cedar Swamp might be a little iffy if it has snow on a steep incline. The regular trail would be a smoother ascent.

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drm
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Re: Backpacking Herman Creek

Post by drm » June 6th, 2021, 7:36 am

The most common Herman Creek loop is with the PCT over Benson Plateau. I think the only snow would be some remnant on the ridge at the top of the canyon. Surprised that nobody else here mentioned it.

erbombla
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Re: Backpacking Herman Creek

Post by erbombla » June 7th, 2021, 10:21 am

drm wrote:
June 6th, 2021, 7:36 am
The most common Herman Creek loop is with the PCT over Benson Plateau. I think the only snow would be some remnant on the ridge at the top of the canyon. Surprised that nobody else here mentioned it.
That's a great suggestion. Thanks! I figure the PCT will be maintained, plus it looks like a manageable decent to Herman Creek. We're thinking doing two nights now. So we will find one near Wahtum Lake the first night then somewhere near Benson Plateau the following night.

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retired jerry
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Re: Backpacking Herman Creek

Post by retired jerry » June 7th, 2021, 11:43 am

or up Herman Creek, down Nick Eaton

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drm
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Re: Backpacking Herman Creek

Post by drm » June 7th, 2021, 2:56 pm

Yeah, if there still is snow on the top ridge above the lake, the route finding is easier CW. Last year, somebody going CCW on the snow came down the west fork of Herman instead of the east where the trail is and wandered in the rainforest for days until rescuers found him. If you go CW, you really can't miss the PCT. But maybe it's all melted out now.

If you're going on a weekend, Wahtum Lake is very popular and you can just about drive there, so beware. It's beautiful but there aren't very many campsites. On Benson Plateau there are plenty of sites, but there is no water on the PCT. If you go CCW, you can get your water at Teakettle Spring and then stop anywhere after that.

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