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Catherine Creek-Coyote Wall Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Revision as of 18:02, 24 February 2018 by Bobcat (Talk | contribs)

In between Catherine Creek and Coyote Wall, there are grassy ridges with great views towards Mount Hood, the Columbia River, and Mosier. (Jerry Adams)
To the Southeast, you can see the Columbia River and The Dalles. (Jerry Adams)
The trail follows an old 4 wheel drive road. There is a single lane bicycle track. A lot of the ways, the trail goes through grassy meadow areas. (Jerry Adams)
Sometimes, the trail goes through forested areas of mostly Oak trees. (Jerry Adams)
  • Start point: Catherine Creek TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Coyote Wall Upper Viewpoint
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 11.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2640 feet
  • High point: 1675 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Year round, best March–May
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes, on spring weekends


Hike Description

This hike links the Catherine Creek area with the Coyote Wall area. There are great views of the Columbia River, the east end of the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, and a lot of wildflowers.

From the Catherine Creek Trailhead, hike on a closed road (Atwood Road, signed FR 020), toward the northeast. This trail soon drops down to Catherine Creek as it bubbles through a small oak forest. The graveled road continues upstream for a bit to a junction with another closed road, this one signed FR 021, a.k.a. the Catherine Creek Arch Trail. Follow the road as it crosses the creek on a small bouncy bridge made of logs and plywood. This trail heads up the east side of the creek next to large wall of columnar basalt. You'll soon come to an abandoned corral filled with miner's lettuce that blooms in April. The rock arch looms over the corral high above a talus slope made of fallen rock. In times past, visitors could scramble up and through the arch to the bench above, but now it is fenced off by pole and rail to protect it as a significant cultural site for Native Americans. Past the corral, on your left, are the collapsed remains of a shed: rattlesnakes take cover under the planks here, so be careful if you're poking about! This is a good spot to turn around and begin the loop proper.

Return to cross Catherine Creek, and go right on the FR 20 spur road (Atwood Road). Hike up under oaks and ponderosas to get views across to the Catherine Creek Arch. You may notice Lewis’s woodpeckers flitting about in the trees, turkeys may scuttle off in the undergrowth, and there are views back to the Columbia River. Keep up the main road bed and pass under powerlines. Big-leaf maples and Douglas-firs suddenly become the dominant canopy. In dark Douglas-fir woods, the track drops to the Atwood Road-Old Stove Road Junction (There's an old stove just down the road to the right). Keep left here and curve up on a poison oak-lined track to emerge from the woods onto the vast grassy slope of Sunflower Hill. Death-camas and bare-stem desert parsley bloom in profusion here in the spring, and views extend east to the Columbia Hills and across the river to McCall Point and Memaloose Hills near Mosier.

You'll soon reach the trail post at the Atwood Road-Sunflower Hill Trail Junction. Keep heading west on Atwood Road here.

There are an infinite number of variations you could make to this hike:

  • Once you get to Coyote Wall, you could hike up the trail that goes along the top of Coyote Wall. See the Coyote Wall Hike.
  • Once you get to Coyote Wall, you could hike down to the road, and then walk back to the Catherine Creek Trailhead.
  • There is a trail that goes back to the Catherine Creek Trailhead halfway between the road and the trail described here.
  • You could hike back on the trail described here to where the powerline towers are, then walk down the grassy slope and connect up with the Catherine Creek West Loop Hike.
  • There are many other old 4 wheel drive roads, bike trails, and game trails that go in every direction.


Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • None

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Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.