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Difference between revisions of "Ramona Falls Loop Hike"

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=== Hike Description ===
 
=== Hike Description ===
The Ramona Falls Hike is a favorite summer destination for outdoor enthusiasts due to it easy trail, relative proximity to Portland, and it's beautiful climax at the wondrous [[Ramona Falls]]. This hike describes and out-and-back trail with a slightly longer loop option.  
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The Ramona Falls Hike is a favorite summer destination for outdoor enthusiasts due to the gradual elevation gain, relative proximity to Portland, and its beautiful climax at the wondrous [[Ramona Falls]].  
  
<font color=red><b>WARNING - DANGEROUS RIVER CROSSING:</b> In August 2014 the bridge over the Sandy River washed out after a thunderstorm that dropped about two inches of rain up above on the mountain, drowning someone that was crossing on it. As of December 2015 the U.S. Forest Service is reporting that it's unlikely the bridge will ever be replaced. That makes this a much more difficult and dangerous hike.</font color>
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Two longer hikes that include [[Ramona Falls]] are the [[Muddy Fork Loop Hike]] and the [[Yocum Ridge Hike]].
  
Start south past the information board. The first mile goes along the south side of the Sandy River. Be careful because the Sandy River can undercut the trail causing it to collapse. You'll shortly come a junction with the Sandy River Trail. Go straight here.
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Take the wide, sandy trail leading up from the southeast corner of the parking area. You will be hiking among stunted mountain hemlock, Douglas-fir, and lodgepole pine on a carpet of moss, pinemat manzanita, and reindeer lichen. Beginning in about 1780, pyroclastic flows from [[Mount Hood]] buried the Sandy River, which continues to change its course as it carves through the soft strata. Pass the first of at least three glacial river crossing signs warning about safe passage when waters are high (There has been more than one drowning death in the area). Come to the [[Sandy River-Ramona Falls Trailhead Trail Junction]], and proceed past a large boulder to a Stop sign, where you’ll need to fill out a wilderness permit.
  
At about mile 1 is the [[Sandy River Crossing]]. There is no longer a seasonal bridge, so this can be difficult and dangerous. If it's late August or September and there hasn't been recent rain, you can probably rock hop. Sometimes, it's easier if you go about 100 yards upstream from the old bridge. There are a bunch of trees that can be used to cross. Maybe it's safer to walk across getting your feet wet.
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Hike onward to the steep eroding bank of the Sandy River. The trail joins an alder-lined old road bed. Reach the bank of the river again and then descend to the [[Sandy River Crossing]]. A bridge is no longer provided here, so you’ll need to pick one of the logs strewn across the spate or attempt a ford (See [[Tips for Crossing Steams]]). This crossing is easiest from mid-summer to early fall. The trail picks up on the opposite bank and winds through an alder-colonized debris fan. Drop in and out of a gully and then head up parallel to the river in shady woods. Come to the [[Pacific Crest-Sandy River Trail Junction]], and go left. The trail soon reaches [[Ramona Creek Bridge on Pacific Crest Trail|a footbridge over Ramona Creek]] and heads up the bank of the creek. At the well-signed [[Ramona Falls-Pacific Crest Trail Junction]], keep right.  
  
At about mile 1.5 is the junction with the River Side Ramona Falls Trail (#797) which goes right and the Creek Side Ramona Falls Trail (also #797) which goes left. I assume you take the River Side Trail and come back on the Creek Side Trail, but you can take either. This is also the official PCT (northbound goes left, southbound goes right) but most PCT hikers take a route by [[Ramona Falls]].
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Pass through a stile (No horses are permitted on the Ramona Falls Trail). Sign in at a wilderness permit box, and head up through the shady woodland that had revegetated the pyroclastic flows. Cross a log footbridge, and hike up along lovely, burbling Ramona Creek, which flows through the duff carpet and mossy stones. Look left to note the wonderful pink and sandy andesite cliffs across the creek. leave the stream to pass above a gully, and keep rising through mountain hemlock, western hemlock, Douglas-fir, western red-cedar, lodgepole pine, rhododendron, and Sitka alder. Reach the junction with the Timberline Trail, and stay right to admire [[Ramona Falls]]' splashing veil from the footbridge that spans the creek here.
  
At mile 2.8 on the River Side Trail is the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail, which goes right. You can take this a short distance down to the Sandy River or continue up a long steep grade to Paradise Park and then further around the mountain (see Paradise Park from Ramona Falls Hike).
 
  
Assuming you stay left on the Ramona Falls Trail, at mile 3.3 you reach [[Ramona Falls]] at 3450' elevation.
 
  
If you're not tired yet, there is a much longer trail option described here: [[Yocum Ridge Hike]]
 
 
To get back to the trailhead you can return the way you came, but for a minimal additional effort you enjoy a some different scenery by returning via the the Creekside Ramona Falls Trail. This option is 0.3 mile longer but is shadier and hugs the babbling creek for the first mile.
 
 
Cross the footbridge at the base of the falls and turn to your left, following Ramona Creek. You may notice the [[Ramona Falls|Timberline Trail]] diverts off to the right (This used to be a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail until being rerouted to avoid crossing the Muddy Fork of the Sandy River). After about a 1/4 mile, watch to the for a huge rock wall to your right. These bluffs are at the base of Yocum Ridge to the northeast. If you weren't able to stop for lunch in the cool respite at Ramona Falls, you'll find plenty more opportunities on this pretty creek-side section. After about a mile your the trail veers away from the creek and heads north. Continue another 0.7 mile to the junction with the [[Pacific Crest-Ramona Falls Trail Junction|Pacific Crest Trail]].
 
 
As well traveled and wide as the trail is in this next section, it is easy to take a wrong turn and end up miles from your destination, so read the signage carefully and keep tabs with your map. 
 
 
At the aforementioned junction, the PCT goes off to the right (eventually crossing the [[Muddy Fork Crossing on Pacific Crest Trail|Muddy Fork of the Sandy River]] and on up [[Bald Mountain]]). Instead, you will turn left, and continue on the Ramona Falls Trail. You'll pass another junction with a horse route and after about a half mile cross Ramona Creek again before merging back with the trail you came up on. Turn right here the way you came in.
 
  
 
Just after the merge you'll again cross the Sandy River, then head left about a mile back to the trailhead.
 
Just after the merge you'll again cross the Sandy River, then head left about a mile back to the trailhead.

Revision as of 01:04, 25 November 2017

Ramona Falls with bridge at base of falls (Jerry Adams)
Ramona Creek below the falls (bobcat)
Andesite cliffs above Ramona Creek (bobcat)
  • Start point: Ramona Falls TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Ramona Falls
  • Trail Log: Ramona Falls Hike/Log
  • Distance: 7.0 miles round trip
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Elevation gain: 1100 feet
  • High point: 3,470 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Late spring to early fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes

Contents

Hike Description

The Ramona Falls Hike is a favorite summer destination for outdoor enthusiasts due to the gradual elevation gain, relative proximity to Portland, and its beautiful climax at the wondrous Ramona Falls.

Two longer hikes that include Ramona Falls are the Muddy Fork Loop Hike and the Yocum Ridge Hike.

Take the wide, sandy trail leading up from the southeast corner of the parking area. You will be hiking among stunted mountain hemlock, Douglas-fir, and lodgepole pine on a carpet of moss, pinemat manzanita, and reindeer lichen. Beginning in about 1780, pyroclastic flows from Mount Hood buried the Sandy River, which continues to change its course as it carves through the soft strata. Pass the first of at least three glacial river crossing signs warning about safe passage when waters are high (There has been more than one drowning death in the area). Come to the Sandy River-Ramona Falls Trailhead Trail Junction, and proceed past a large boulder to a Stop sign, where you’ll need to fill out a wilderness permit.

Hike onward to the steep eroding bank of the Sandy River. The trail joins an alder-lined old road bed. Reach the bank of the river again and then descend to the Sandy River Crossing. A bridge is no longer provided here, so you’ll need to pick one of the logs strewn across the spate or attempt a ford (See Tips for Crossing Steams). This crossing is easiest from mid-summer to early fall. The trail picks up on the opposite bank and winds through an alder-colonized debris fan. Drop in and out of a gully and then head up parallel to the river in shady woods. Come to the Pacific Crest-Sandy River Trail Junction, and go left. The trail soon reaches a footbridge over Ramona Creek and heads up the bank of the creek. At the well-signed Ramona Falls-Pacific Crest Trail Junction, keep right.

Pass through a stile (No horses are permitted on the Ramona Falls Trail). Sign in at a wilderness permit box, and head up through the shady woodland that had revegetated the pyroclastic flows. Cross a log footbridge, and hike up along lovely, burbling Ramona Creek, which flows through the duff carpet and mossy stones. Look left to note the wonderful pink and sandy andesite cliffs across the creek. leave the stream to pass above a gully, and keep rising through mountain hemlock, western hemlock, Douglas-fir, western red-cedar, lodgepole pine, rhododendron, and Sitka alder. Reach the junction with the Timberline Trail, and stay right to admire Ramona Falls' splashing veil from the footbridge that spans the creek here.



Just after the merge you'll again cross the Sandy River, then head left about a mile back to the trailhead.

Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass required

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Hiking Oregon's Geology by Ellen Morris Bishop

More Links


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.