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Munra Point from Yeon Trailhead Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Revision as of 14:03, 19 March 2007 by Jeffstatt (Talk | contribs)

View looking back to the west from the trail up to Munra Point (Joseph Rabinowitz)
Elowah Falls along the Gorge Trail (Steve Hart)
The trail is a rocky scramble in places (Joseph Rabinowitz)
Tight switchbacks nearing the summit (Jeff Statt)
View from the summit (Joseph Rabinowitz)
  • Start Point: John B Yeon Trailhead
  • End Point: Munra Point
  • Trail Log : Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 7.4 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 1800'
  • Difficulty: Difficult (scramble, exposure)
  • Seasons: March - October
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

The hike up to Munra Point is one of the funnest in the Columbia River Gorge. It features a steep climb/scramble to arguably one of the best viewpoints in the Gorge! The summit features a unique star-like formation.

There is one unmaintained trail to the summit, but there are two approaches to the start of that trail. The approach described here starts at the Yeon Trailhead, passes Elowah Falls, a few talus slopes and crosses Moffet Creek. The other one, described here, is shorter but is much less scenic..

From the John B Yeon Trailhead, you'll start eastward on the Elowah Falls Trail. You'll stay straight at a junction with Nesmith Point Trail #428 and again at a junction with the trail to Upper McCord Creek Falls. Soon the trail switchbacks down to beautiful Elowah Falls. Stop for a few picture taking opportunities, then continue across the footbridge. As you leave the falls the trail becomes Gorge Trail #400, although no signs mark the fact. The trail parallels the noisy freeway for about a mile, though it passes some interesting rockslide areas. Near a freeway underpass, the trail works steeply down to a bridge over Moffett Creek. The trail climbs steeply out of the gully and turns east to parallel the freeway once more. Just after this turn, an unimproved trail departs uphill to the right, marked only by a "trail not maintained sign" (which is about 30 feet uptrail).

The unofficial Munra Point Trail starts out easy but soon starts one of the steepest climbs in the Gorge. You will welcome the quiet as you start south away from the freeway and begin winding through the young forest of oaks and Douglas firs. After about a 1/4 mile you begin to think "this isn't so bad", but the steepest climbing is still ahead of you!

Soon you pass by a rock-wall of sorts and the steep climbing begins. There are switchbacks through this next section, but there are other spots were straight up is the only option! If you see a what looks like a trail junction what you're really seeing is a rock-slide area. Although climbing up the rockslide looks fun, take the "low road" each time as it will switchback shortly. There will be plenty of time for climbing shortly!! If you are here are a wet, rainy day, you may find this section quite slippy and downright difficult in places .

After a few switchbacks and some good climbing you approach a nice viewpoint as the trail ascends out of the forest for the first time. There's a nice perspective of the valley formed by Moffett Creek and points west. In fact, you overlook your entire hike to this point! Take care as you walk the 15 foot section of trail here, there is a bit of a vertical meadow here that will be vertigo-inducing for some!

From this point, the hike becomes one of the funnest in the Gorge - and one of the steepest! It's a mix of tight switchbacks like those seen on the Starvation Ridge Trail, rock scrambles and ridges, like those seen on the Ruckle Ridge trail, and at least one ten-foot section that borders on rock-climbing!

You soon pass along the front of the mountain and begin to get your first views to the North and of the Columbia River. You'll see Beacon Rock, Hamilton Mountain and Table Mountain on the Washington side. The viewpoints are nice enough along the way that those wanting to bow out of the hike, having reached beyond their comfort zone, can be content to enjoy the view and head back down.

Soon you are hiking a pretty defined rocky, ridgeline. A few false summits provide motivation (but ultimately frustration!) For an unmaintained trail, is never too hard to follow - although it is a bit indefinite in places -- as previous hikes have chosen different tactics to traverse various obstacles.

The final approach to the true summit is completely exposed, and a bit dizzying for those scared of heights! While it never dangerous per se, you do want to stay on the trail and take it slow. Dog owners are strongly cautioned.

Finally, you reach the summit at the convergence of three well-defined ridgelines. Your first views to the east give you just enough motivation to make that final push to the top. The "true summit" is a knob of sorts at the vertex of the three spines. Some may feel compelled to scoot up this to make the summit "official". It's not recommended, however...as your punishment for error is about a 500 foot tumble into the Tanner Creek valley.

From this vantage you get a great view of the Columbia River to the north spanning from Archer Mountain to the west all the way to Dog Mountain to the east. That large valley just to the east of you is the aforementioned Tanner Creek valley. Just below you to the northeast is the Bonneville Dam and the Bridge of the Gods.

After taking a much deserved break and enjoying one of the nicest viewpoints in the Gorge, start heading back down. Take it slow in places, as the down is often more unsafe than the up! Even taking it slow you'll find yourself beating your climb time by about a 1/3! You will really value your trekking poles in places! It may take you as little as 45 minutes to get back down to the trail junction with #400.

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Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hike! Columbia Gorge, by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Afoot and Afield Portland/Vancouver, by Douglas Lorain
  • 35 Hiking Trails, Columbia River Gorge, by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Columbia River Gorge, 42 Scenic Hikes, by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Hiking the Columbia River Gorge - 1st and 2nd Editions, by Russ Schneider
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon - 3rd Edition, by William L Sullivan

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Contributors

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.