Reed Outing Club

BACKPACKING: Hiking for Four seasons

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day hikes | overnights | winter travel

Day Trips


Forest Park is the largest urban wilderness park in the United States, and it's a forty-minute bike ride away from Reed. Paul Burdick and I celebrated the 2001 summer solstice by hiking all 31 miles of the Wildwood Trail, which winds through pleasant West Hills woodland at gentle grades. The first five miles of the trail (assuming you start at its Washington Park terminus) are probably the most interesting, as they afford the only views (from the grassy hilltop near the zoo, and from Pittock Mansion), and they descend through the Hoyt Arboretum, home of exotic trees labeled for your enjoyment. Dozens of side trails connect with the Wildwood and lead to other landmarks such as the Audubon sanctuary and the rose garden. The northern end of the trail ends ingloriously on a country road outside the urban growth boundary: take a right (northward and downhill) to get to US 30, just a mile south of the Sauvie Island Bridge.

To get to the Wildwood Trail, you can either take the MAX westbound to Portland's only subway station at the Washington Park stop, then take the elevator up to the Zoo parking area, or you could bike uphill on SW Kingston Ave. from Washington Park's main entrance at the west end of SW Salmon. The Wildwood Trail begins at the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, just to the west of the junction of SW Kingston and SW Canyon Rd. Trail maps are available for free from Portland Parks and Recreation, at the Portland Building downtown.

by Christian McNeil
June 2001


Powell Butte is great for when you just need to get out on that Wednesday afternoon at 1:00. the butte is not large, but it offers great views of Hood and St. Helens when it is clear. The butte is spectacular on its own, with grassy fields on top and forested slopes surrounding. An excellent escape in the middle of city, it can offer much relief for the middle of the day, or a short no-consequences excursion on a work-packed weekend.

Easily Accessible from Reed, just hop on Bus #10 on Steele, and ride it all the way to +++++126th street. Then you are near the ______ trail head on ____ St. Alternately, take a car down Powell and the parking lot will be on your right.

by Doug Borst
February 2005


Saddle Mountain State Park occupies the coastal rain forest between Portland and the coast. The hike up the mountain is only 2.5 miles, moderately graded, and the basalt cliffs on the top bring spectacular views (on a clear day) of the Pacific Ocean, Astoria and the mouth of the Columbia, five volcanoes and Olympic peaks on a distant northern horizon. The short distance (5 miles round trip) makes it possible to stop by nearby Cannon Beach or Ecola State Park for the remainder of the day.

This trip goes highly recommended by everyone, however, it gets a lot of use and is probably best avoided on sunny weekends, when the trail is more likely to be crowded. The foot traffic has caused erosion problems at the higher elevations, so stay on the trail. To get there, take US 26 (the Sunset Highway) west into Tillamook State Forest, and look for signs for the Saddle Mountain State Park access road on the right side of the highway. Check out the google map for details. 


Been there a few times, so here is my little spiel...

There is no wheel chair access and there are metal stairs (somewhat slippery) leading down into the main lava tube. There are two parts:

Upper cave - Upper Ape Cave is recommended only for well-equipped explorers. It extends for almost 7,000 feet. This part of the cave is rugged and interrupted by large piles of rock from ancient ceiling collapses. You will have to scramble over rocks, and if you are going into this part then helmets are highly recommended. It takes about 2.5 hours to explore the upper cave, roundtrip.

Lower cave - The cave extends down from the main entrance. You can go approximately 4000 feet. The sand floor makes walking easy. This part of the cave is recommended for most visitors, but one should still be in good shape and uninjured. It takes a little over an hour for a round-trip walk.

Take along: Warm clothing, sturdy boots, good wide angle flashlight/headlamp with at least two extra sets of batteries, helmets for upper cave, and some food. Some people might wish to bring some gloves for protecting their hands in the upper cave, and also to keep their fingers warm. There are a few good pictures at the entrance of the cave and at the end of the upper cave, so you might take a well protected camera along. If there is any snow on the ground or even a hint or rain, definitely take rain gear (not your best stuff), since the cave leaks.


  • From Interstate 5 -- take Exit 21 (Woodland Exit).
  • Travel east on Highway 503 and USFS Road 90, approximately 35.7 miles to junction of USFS Roads 83 and 90.
  • Turn north (left) onto USFS Road 83 and proceed another 2 miles to the junction of USFS Roads 83 and 8303.
  • Turn west (left) onto USFS Road 8303 and proceed 0.2 miles to Trail of Two Forests.
  • From Trail of Two Forests - proceed another mile on USFS Road 8303 to parking lot of lower entrance to Ape Cave.

If there is snow on the road, then there is a parking lot near the Trail of Two Forests (with bathroom) and you will likely have to walk up the mile or so to the cave's parking lot.

By Paul Burdick, 2002


America's most famous volcano is also an excellent crank of a day hike. Starting from the Climber's Bivouac, Andrew Campbell and I started climbing around 4:30 am so we'd have good snow conditions when we carved our way down. The trail ascends through forests for about 2 miles, until just before timberline where another trail crosses and there is an outhouse on the right. At timberline, the trail scrambles steeply and steadily over volcanic boulders along Monitor Ridge. Tall wooden posts along the ridge mark the way, but these disappear about half a mile below the crater's rim. The true summit is to the left (north) of where Monitor ridge reaches the crater.

by Christian McNeil
June 13, 2001


Dog Mountain is located on the Washington Side of the Columbia River Gorge, not quite as far as Hood River. Its a fun hike striaght up to its peak at _______ ft., grueling for its distance but very much within the range of anyone athletic. Recently there has been a second trail constructed on the mountain, that is slightly less steep. I reccomend taking this route, as it is not only more plesant, but it also has better views, the views available from the old trail are most easily seen on the way down too.

When you are driving to Dog Mountain, make sure to watch carefully for the pullout, it is rather sudden and without warning. The Dog Mountain pullout is just beyond the one for Wind Mountain, but if you miss it, there is a turn around slightly further down the road.

by Doug Borst
April 2004


Located on the slopes of Mt. hood, just outside of Rhodedendron, the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness offers great opportunities for dayhikes or overnights. The hike up Salmon Butte is a good ~5 hr jaunt, offering great views of old growth forests, Mt. Hood and Jefferson. Mushrooms abound in this area, so if you want to do some hunting, this might be a place to go. All over an easy hike, great for a picnic or a way to get your parents off campus.

Getting to Salmon Huckleberry is only hard the first time. Heading out on Rt. 26, the road into Salmon Huckleberry is after the fire station, and before the Zigzag Ranger Station, and does not have a stoplight. Head down FS Rd. 2618 until the very end to get to the Salmon Butte trail head.

by Doug Borst
October 2004



I did a four night backpacking trip into the Indian heaven wilderness for my O-week trip last year. It is located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest (home of the most official sightings of bigfoot!) in southern Washington. There are lots of well kept trails to walk in on and many back country ponds and lakes. Along the ridge trail there are spectacular views in almost every direction of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and I believe Mt. Jefferson. The top of the ridge is home to many beautiful species of wildflowers and delicious huckleberries. Make sure you don't miss Tombstone lake, Blue lake and most importantly Clear Lake, this is one of the most beautiful back country lakes I have seen. Up the hill from Clear Lake is a nice flat Huckleberry meadow with a small seasonal pond that is frequented by Elk and Deer. Overlooking the meadow is a large red stone bluff. The terrain is awesome and not too challenging, the sights are incredible and the berries are great!

By Gabe Tusinski
September, 2001


If you start at the Pole Creek trail head, it is about a 5 mile easy hike with great views to Camp Lake. The trails there are little used and even on Labour Day weekend we did not see too many people. Camp lake is well situated to offer views of all three mountains, particularly of South Sister. Offering absolutely stunning views all along the way, the Three Sisters area is good for either short and easy weekends, or long grueling ones, whatever you are in the mood for.

If you decide to go to Three Sisters, be prepared for a long drive. For a slightly shorter, boring drive you can go down I-5, but I'd recommend going out on 26 through the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, and around to Sisters. That drive offers great views of Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, and Smith Rock. Make sure to bring a Forest Park permit, most of the parking areas there require them.

by Doug Borst
September 2004

Follow this link for the trip summary of the Fall Break 2001 backpacking trip to the Three Sisters Wilderness.


Location: Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area - Tahkenitich Trailhead

Contact: Reedsport Oregon Dunes Ranger station 541-271-3611

Permit info: Northwest Forest Pass covers vehicle parking, sand camping free but requires notification in permit box, campgrounds $15 a day, first-come first-served in off-summer season.

Total cost: Projected $265, used ~$105 (ROC funded)

Planning notes: Check weather

Narrative: Potable water at trailhead. Ice cream shoppe in Florence not immediately found. Long drive. Soft sand. Good weather and sun. Full moon and clear night.

Headed down I-5, then to the coast on OR-126. The drive was scenic but long... Arrived at beach and foredunes after 2 miles. Walked along beach until next three mile lake beach trailhead in the south. Looked for camp at three mile lake, just off trail. Somewhat developed grounds were found among the trees right before the big slope down to the lake. Pitched camp between 3 -4 pm and the group split into two, one headed for the beach (10 minute walk) and the other down slope to the lake for the next few hours before dinner. Lakeside camps were a little crowded (approximately 3 groups of people there). Students all wandered back by 6:30p for dinner. We watched the sunset from the sand below our camp, many students slept at that spot. Some of us took a dusk/night hike to the beach while others stayed by the camp. Got ready for bed when we returned. Good sleepin', the night was chilly.

Got up at dawn the next day, broke camp, had breakfast and teas. Hiked out 2.5 miles back to parking lot. Group had different hiking speeds, but trails were well-marked and students didn't get too far ahead. Bathroom detour at the campground. Packed up the van for lunch at Oregon Dunes Overlook, 3 miles north. To Dairy Queen in Florence for ice cream snacks. Naps back to Reed.

Overall, we didn't do many skill building activities but we amused ourselves with relaxation. The dunes and ocean were absolutely beautiful. I had a line of icebreaker games and activities but did not need to use them.

By On Lee Lau,
September 21-22, 2002


The Salmon River trail offers great views of the Salmon River, and provides numerous places to spend the night. It is great for a weekend overnight when you have to be back to school by Saturday afternoon. If you leave school by 5 you will be hiking to your camp site in the dark, but its not that hard, and the trail is good. We set up camp and made dinner, went to sleep and woke up at 11:00 the next day, well rested for our short hike and return to campus for a weekend of work. Salmon River would also be great for a day hike, and is absolutely stunning during the fall. When heading down FS Rd 2618 just park after the bridge over salmon river, and there will be a camp site within a mile from the trial head.

by Doug Borst
November, 2004