- To Siouxon Falls:
- Elevation: 700 feet
- Distance: 4 miles RT
- To Chinook Falls:
- Elevation: 1,600 feet
- Distance: 7.7 miles
We fit this hike in quickly on a Sunday morning (had to get back home to watch the Packers beat the Seahawks). We headed into Washington towards the trailhead. The hike is in Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The road is paved the entire way, but the last 10 miles takes close to an hour to travel- narrow, windy and some pot holes. We expected to see an empty parking lot when we got there since it was a pretty obscure location. There were about 12 other cars there. I think most people utilize this trail for backpacking. There are several spots immediately on the trail and we passed a ton of people with overnight gear.
First, the trail descends to the creek. Then, it gently rolls through old growth, never straying far from the creek. Our destination was to Siouxon Falls. However, you can continue to Chinook Falls or Bobcat Falls.
We turned back after Siouxon Falls and went back the way we came. We got home in time to watch the Packers beat the Seahawks in Lambeau 27-17. It was a pretty good day.
Stuart Lake is an awesome sight to see. It is in the Northern Cascades near Leavenworth, WA. Aaron's parents were in town visiting over Memorial Day weekend, and we decided to check out a new area while they were in town. Leavenworth was mentioned 4 or 5 times by different people (women I met in Costa Rica, my co-worker- Michelle, and several patients). Since it came up so many times in only a week or two, I took it as a sign that I should go explore there soon. Leavenworth is the closest town to the Enchantments. The Enchantments are a spectacular backpacking trip in the Cascades. Just google "the enchantments," and you'll see for yourself. Stuart Lake lies at the edge of the Enchantments and is an easy way to get a taste of them with only a day hike. We started our hike around 9am. Lewis and Cynthia dropped us off and we told them to come back at 3pm. The hike in begins in the forest and it gains elevation the whole way. Before too long, you'll have your first sighting of the river.
The trail gains elevation for about 2 miles the flattens out. There is one junction; left goes into the Enchantments, right goes to Stuart Lake. We hung a right and continued. This is where it gets really awesome. We had no idea what we were in for and were pleasantly surprised with the views. We strolled through several meadows and did a little more climbing. Two more miles after the junction, we arrived at our destination.
There are several campsites around the lake. Surprisingly, there were several still open. This is encouraging since I would figure a spot like this would be full on a holiday weekend. We laid on a large rock in the sun for about an hour and then headed back to the trailhead. Lewis and Cynthia literally drove up within a minute of us finishing, what timing! We drove back into Leavenworth and enjoyed a German meal with beers!
I hiked this the morning after the PCT from Lolo Pass to Bald Mountain. Six of us from the women's retreat went. It was vastly different from the hike we did the day before- which was through snow and along ridges with sprawling views of Mt Hood. The Salmon River hike, hugs the river and wanders through large, mossy trees, thousands of ferns and a soft forest floor (no snow to speak of). A large part of my love for Oregon is that you can do two completely different hikes in 2 consecutive days. The hike starts out by climbing just a bit and then levels off and the views of the river are great from the get go.
The trail continues to gently climb with many places to stop, sit and take in the scenery. This is trail where you need to stop and look at the smaller things that are near you. We came across a rock wall that had beautiful succulents growing from it and also a wall covered in moss that was attracting all sorts of butterflies.
At one point during the hike (probably about 2-3 miles in), you cross a bridge over a river and then there is a small trail off to the left. Take this small path for some exploring. You see where two rivers meet back there. The next pictures below are from that.
When you're done at this spot, head back to the main trail and continue left. There are several campsites sprinkled along this trail. Take note so that you can plan a trip to stay here in the future, that's my plan. The hike then enters the wilderness and begins to climb up and away from the river until reaching the final destination: a viewpoint overlooking Salmon River Canyon. I recommend saving your lunch until you reach this point. Kick off your hiking boots and enjoy your reward. This hike is awesome!
Distance: 7-7.8 miles depending on if you continue past the viewpoint
NWFP required at the trailhead
My recommendation: if you're going to be on Mount Hood for a weekend, go on this hike one day and the second day do the PCT from Lolo Pass to Bald Mountain. The trailheads are about 30 minutes away from each other.
With the recent arrival of our dear friend Mary, we decided to explore some new territory. We went to the NE side of the mountain upon the suggestion from a past patient of mine. We left Portland at 6am on Saturday and headed straight to White River Campground on a mission to get one of the walk-up sites. I had checked for reserved sites a few weeks prior and they were all taken. Because a lot of places are at higher elevations (hence snow) the peak times to visit are limited and spots get snatched up well in advanced. If you don't mind the gamble, you can take your chance at getting a walk-up. We arrived at the campground at 10am and we were lucky to find several spots available. We set up camp and headed to the Summerland Trailhead.
The trailhead is about 4 miles from the campground and it was packed. We had to park over a half a mile down and walk up. Despite the amount of cars there, the trail itself didn't feel overly crowded. As we were walking to the trail, Aaron got bloody nose and stepped on a dead squirrel. This, in conjunction with the toothpick-sized splinter stuck under his nail he attained from earlier that morning, resulted in a rough start for Aaron. But he persevered and is now a stronger man having survived these trials and tribulations.
The hike begins with a stroll through an old growth forest. As always in the Pacific Northwest, the forest is magical and inviting. It's layered with old trees that have fallen and with new ones just starting to grow. You can hear the White River flowing alongside the trail the entire time you're in the trees. You get glimpses of the river during your minimally graded ascent.
Three fourths of the hike is in the forest and is really enjoyable. Once you emerge from the trees, you come across a bridge that crosses the river. This is a great place to have lunch. You have a view of Mount Rainier and there are plenty of rocks to sit. The only complaint I have about this spot is that there are a lot of flies. Since we are spoiled in the northwest with an absence of bugs, namely, mosquitoes, it's even more annoying when you do encounter the tiny pests.
After crossing the river, you'll find yourself in a lovely little meadow of purple flowers with the distant mountain in the background. After hiking through this for less than ten minutes, you'll reach the most difficult part of the hike: switchback leading up to Summerland Meadow. That being said, we got through the ascent in less than 20 minutes.
At the top, there is a backpackers campground with a bathroom available. We rested a bit and took in the sights. We decided to continue on the trial a bit further. At which point we realized that this was the real climax of the hike. It was magnificent.
Continue the trail up the stairs, through the meadow of purple flowers, along the babbling brook to a welcomed change of scenery. The ground transitions into rock and you'll continue to climb until passing over another river. A majority of the rocks are a green color that I haven't encountered before. Aaron informed me that these types of mineral are rare and formed deep within the volcano. We also saw a waterfall which is the highest point I have ever seen one. You stroll past glaciers and finally come to a small lake which is turquoise in color and perfect for chilling the beer you brought with. Which is good because Rainier Beer is intolerable if it isn't served cold. After throwing back a few Rainiers, return the way you came.
That night we were treated to an amazing moon over the White River. I still haven't mastered taking night photos so it doesn't quite capture what we experienced. But it looks amazing no less.
The next day, we headed up to Sunrise Visitor Center. It's the highest elevation point you can drive to in the park. We took in the view and shopped for souvenirs. Then, we drove back down and around the south side of the park to Paradise. This place was insanely busy. We had to park a bit past the lodge/visitor center and walk back up the road. There are several trails that leave from this point that are easy considered easy in the spectrum of hiking, thus making it so popular (especially for families/kids). We hiked up Deadhorse Creek Trail with about a hundred other people. It's paved most of the way and winds through fields of wildflowers with Mount Rainier towering over the landscape in the background. Despite signs everywhere asking people to remain on the trail to protect the fragile meadow, people are gallivanting about wherever they please. It's frustrating to watch. We hiked up to Glacier Vista and then turned back around. Glad we did it but I won't hike from Paradise again. It's just too busy and I don't like going in nature to be around herds of people and small children.
DO: Explore the NE portion of the park near the White River. We barely skimmed the surface but this area was fantastic and less crowded.
DON'T: Go just to Paradise and expect to have any sort of a peaceful experience with nature. It is a zoo of people and it's distracting to the beauty. If you're with someone who isn't in good shape, this would be a better option since the trail isn't hard and paved most of the way.
DO: Carry a few cans of Rainier with you on your hike. It's fun!
DON'T: Expect the beer to taste that good, even when it's cold and you're hot.
Summerland to Panhandle:
Distance: 12 miles RT
Deadhorse Creek Trail:
Distance: 2.4 miles RT
National Parks Pass or America the Beautiful Pass
I moved to the Pacific Northwest in August of 2012. I quickly identified myself as a hiker. I want to document my experiences so that I can refer to them for myself and others to provide the best hiking experience. I also hope to learn more about hiking from others comments and recommendations.