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Ramona Falls Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Revision as of 01:16, 25 November 2017 by Bobcat (Talk | contribs)

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: 7.1 miles round trip
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Elevation gain: 1035 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. There are plenty of places to sit and contemplate a while under the shady canopy here although on a summer weekend, there may be throngs that have the same idea.

Continue on the Timberline Trail, and pass through a stock fence near a horse hitch. The trail drops among stunted mountain hemlocks and lodgepole pines to the Pacific Crest-Timberline Middle Trail Junction. Keep left as the trail cuts into a pyroclastic slope. The forest, with a salal understory, becomes shadier and you get views down to the Sandy’s wide debris channel. Pass out of shady old growth to the stunted Old Maid Flat forest. The trail drops off the bench again and wends down among rhododendrons to the Pacific Crest-Sandy River Trail Junction. Keep left here to make the Sandy River Crossing and return to the trailhead.


Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass required
  • Self-issued wilderness permit
  • Exercise caution at the Sandy River Crossing

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.