60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland: Including the Coast, Mount Hood, St. Helens, and the Santiam River


For 15 years, local outdoor and travel writer Paul Gerald has been the authority on Portland hiking and has just released a substantial update to 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Portland.

“Portland is second to none in the types of hiking around,” Gerald says. “Everybody asks, ‘What’s your favorite hike?’ And I always say, ‘Well, that depends.’”

Consistently found on Powell’s “Best of Nonfiction” shelf, Gerald has spent the last year researching the guide’s 5th edition. Readers will ...

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60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland: Including the Coast, Mount Hood, St. Helens, and the Santiam River

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For 15 years, local outdoor and travel writer Paul Gerald has been the authority on Portland hiking and has just released a substantial update to 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Portland.

“Portland is second to none in the types of hiking around,” Gerald says. “Everybody asks, ‘What’s your favorite hike?’ And I always say, ‘Well, that depends.’”

Consistently found on Powell’s “Best of Nonfiction” shelf, Gerald has spent the last year researching the guide’s 5th edition. Readers will find the same features that has made 60 Hikes: Portland the hiking guidebook to own: detailed trail descriptions, key at-a-glance information for quick planning, original maps with elevation profiles, and Gerald’s own exhaustive list of hike recommendations.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780897325127
  • Publisher: Menasha Ridge Press
  • Publication date: 6/3/2014
  • Series: 60 Hikes within 60 Miles Series
  • Edition description: Fifth Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 164,607
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Gerald's writing career began in the sports department of the much-missed Dallas Times Herald. He later worked for the Memphis Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Flyer before setting out as a freelancer. His work has appeared in Northwest Airlines’ WorldTraveler, Portland’s Willamette Week, Dish Magazine, Weissmann Travel Reports, and numerous newspapers around the country.

Gerald’s hiking life started at age 12, when he went to a summer camp in the Absoraka Mountains of Wyoming. He became a trail and road hound at that point, and his hometown of Memphis never looked the same. He’s hiked in the Rocky Mountains from New Mexico to Montana, as well as in Appalachia, Alaska, Nepal, and Argentina. In 1996 he moved to Portland to be close to the ocean, the mountains, and the big trees.

Gerald is co-author of The Best in Tent Camping: Oregon (Menasha Ridge Press), and the author of Day and Overnight Hikes: Oregon’s Pacific Crest Trail, (Menasha Ridge Press) and Breakfast in Bridgetown (Bacon and Eggs Press). For more, see paulgerald.com.

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Read an Excerpt

South Fork Toutle River

(additions and revisions)

Length: 10.8 miles
Configuration: Balloon
Difficulty: Hard
Scenery: Old-growth forest, waterfalls in canyons, flower-filled meadows, a close-up view of Mount Saint Helens
Hiking time: 6 hours
Driving Distance: 73 miles (1 hour and 30 minutes) from Pioneer Square
Season: June–October; in June, call to make sure the road is snow-free
Maps: USFS Mount St. Helens National Monument; Green Trails #364 (Mt. Saint Helens) or #364S (Mt. Saint Helens NW)
Special Comments: Late in 2006, the Blue Lake Trailhead was wiped out by a mudslide, and other slides in the area destroyed sections of the road leading to it. The Forest Service was, as of the printing of this book, evaluating its options, but did not expect to have the trailhead itself rebuilt for the 2007 hiking season. Therefore, no matter when you’re reading this, call the Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument (360-247-3900) for up-to-date information.

From Portland on I-5, drive 21 miles north of the Columbia River and take Exit 21/Woodland. Turn right onto WA 503 (Lewis River Road) and travel 28 miles, then turn left onto FS 8100, between mileposts 35 and 36, following a sign for Kalama Recreation Area. Travel 11.5 miles on FS 8100 to the Blue Lake Trailhead on the right.

In Brief
Without driving all the way around to the other side of Mount St. Helens, this is the most dramatic view you can get of the results of that mountain’s 1980 eruption. A major mudflow went all the way down the Toutle (toodle) River to the Columbia, where shipping was stopped for days while the debris was dredged out. This hike will show you the South Fork of that river, where the mudflow was half a mile wide, as well as a glimpse of the majesty that the eruption destroyed.

Back in 2003, this hike got a bit longer when the road beyond the Blue Lake Trailhead was washed out, cutting off a trailhead that was only half a mile from Sheep Canyon. Then, in 2006, the Blue Lake Trailhead itself was destroyed (see Special Comments). One hopes that all this will be fixed, because this happens to be one of my two or three favorite hikes in this entire book.

We’ll assume for now that the road beyond the Blue Lake Trailhead isn’t open. From that trailhead, take the trail leading left and across Coldspring Creek – a bridgeless crossing which often has a rope strung up for assistance. Pass Blue Lake in less than half a mile, then go slowly up and over a low, rounded ridge through a beautiful old forest. After 2.4 miles, arrive at the Sheep Canyon Trail, coming up from the left (from the old, road-end trailhead cut off in 2003). For the easiest route to the South Fork of the Toutle, follow this trail straight ahead for 1.5 miles; but for the recommended loop, which will come back that way, turn right and start climbing gradually through a lovely forest. Just after some neat cliffs appear on the right, look for a triple-trunked tree to the right of the trail.

After a total of 4 miles (1.6 since the junction) come to an intersection with the Loowit Trail, which goes all the way around Mount St. Helens. Turn left here and climb just a little more, through a wonderful subalpine area of firs and hemlocks. In August the place will be ablaze with flowers, especially blue lupine, and in fall the mountain ash and other plants will roar with color. And the views up here, at the foot of the mountain, are fantastic.

Soon you’ll drop down and traverse an ash-filled ravine with a pond below you. Keep an eye out among the trees down there for deer or elk. After a little more climbing you’ll find yourself at the top of a cliff looking out over the canyon of the South Fork Toutle River. The river, some 800 feet below you, is in the process of recarving its way through the mudflow. The contrast between your side of the canyon and the other side, well within the blast zone, couldn’t be more stark.

The trail will now turn downhill, descending Crescent Ridge, for 1.5 miles to a junction with the Toutle Trail. Go to the right here, exploring around the edge of the mini-gorge the river has cut into the mudflow. Then go back to the Toutle Trail and follow it for 1.5 miles through old-growth forest. You’ll climb over a small ridge, but the reward is a field of huckleberries at the bridge over Sheep Canyon. Cross that spectacular span, then stay straight at the junction to retrace your steps 2.4 miles back to the car.

Nearby Activities
If you’d like to see what this eruption was all about, go see the award-winning 28-minute film on the giant screen at Castle Rock, Washington. Castle Rock is at Exit 48 on I-5, 27 miles north of Woodland. You can’t miss the theater.

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Table of Contents


1 Angels Rest–Devils Rest

2 Beacon Rock–Hamilton Mountain

3 Catherine Creek

4 Coyote Wall–The Labyrinth

5 Dog Mountain

6 Eagle Creek

7 Chinidere Mountain

8 Larch Mountain

9 McCall Nature Preserve

10 Table Mountain

11 Triple Falls

12 Wahkeena Falls to Multnomah Falls


13 Ape Canyon

14 Bluff Mountain

15 Lava Canyon

16 Lewis River

17 Falls Creek Falls

18 Silver Star Mountain

19 Siouxon Creek

20 Trapper Creek Wilderness


21 Bagby Hot Springs

22 Bull of the Woods

23 Clackamas River

24 Memaloose Lake/South Fork Mountain

25 Roaring River Wilderness

26 Whetstone Mountain


27 Battle Ax Mountain

28 Breitenbush Hot Springs Area

29 Opal Creek Wilderness


30 Barlow Pass

31 Cooper Spur

32 Elk Meadows

33 Lookout Mountain

34 Lost Lake

35 McNeil Point

36 Mirror Lake

37 Ramona Falls

38 Salmon Butte

39 Salmon River–Devils Peak

40 Tamanawas Falls

41 Timberline Lodge

42 Trillium Lake

43 Twin Lakes

44 Vista Ridge

45 Wildwood Recreation Area

46 Burnt Lake–Zigzag Mountain


47 Cape Lookout State Park

48 Cascade Head

49 Drift Creek Falls

50 Kings Mountain–Elk Mountain

51 Oswald West State Park

52 Saddle Mountain

53 Wilson River Trail


54 Macleay Trail

55 Marquam Trail to Council Crest

56 Oaks Bottom/Willamette River

57 Sauvie Island

58 Silver Falls State Park

59 Tryon Creek State Park

60 Washington Park–Hoyt Arboretum

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