Larch Mountain Trail is a 13.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bridal Veil, OR that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Quiet hike down the crater of an extinct volcano, through an old growth forest, with an ancient lake that has turned into a marsh, creeks, and wild flowers. The hike begins at the Larch Mountain Trailhead, at the northwest corner of the parking lot (southeast corner if you consider the entrance to the lot as "north"), through the picnic area of an unused campground. The trail on the northeast corner of the lot takes you up to Sharrod Point, which offers great views of the surrounding mountains (Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, etc.) on a clear day. It's a steep, but paved, walk (with stairs) to the view point and is a good warm up, as the air is thin up here and takes a bit to get used to. In the beginning, the trail (Larch Mountain Trail #441) takes you down the crater of the extinct volcano (re: downhill) with some areas steeper than others. Note: it was pretty muddy during our hike in mid-June, so wear water resistant boots. Mountain bikes are allowed along this portion of the trail, but it seemed to us that it would not be a fun bike ride for the rocks and tree roots on the trail. When you get to the old road, go straight across it to continue along the Larch Mountain Trail (note: we didn't see a sign here). Two miles further will bring you to a fork, stay right to go onto Multnomah Creek Way Trail #444 (sign posted). In 2/10 of a mile you will come to a log bridge over the marsh that was an ancient lake. Notice the flora that has filled the marsh. Cross it and go right to stay on trail #444 and follow the creek upstream. On our trip, we could see where the snow-melt water and heavy spring rain washed out the trail instead of going down the creek, that currently sits dry. However, it was fun to walk around the dry creek beds and look at the lava rocks and geological changes to the land from the swift waters. Finally, you will climb switchbacks up the canyon wall, which level out along a "railroad" grade, and then come to the junction with Oneonta Trail #424. Stay right. This trail will take you back out to the Larch Mountain Rd. highway after about mile. Turn right to go back uphill to the trailhead and parking lot in about 3/10 of a mile.
Hiked up from Multnomah and to Weisendanger Falls. It's an easy hike once you get up the mountain from the overlook. Make sure to bring plenty of water and layer up on dress code. Wear hiking or water shoes because you will be tempted to get into the water. Do it early in the morning to avoid heavy foot traffic (Visited 9-22-16)
great hike be sure to get there early in the morning
Did this in July with my buddy. Started wayyyyy too late as this was our first time over 4000' feet, and we also didn't take into account the length. It started to get dark on the way down and we literally had to follow the river after my friend led us awry (I also take responsibility as I was self medicating, heh) after 1.5 hours of following the river back we came to the final wooden bridge we passed on the way there, so just make sure you keep and eye out for the trail the whole time as a couple times (at least when I went) overgrown plants made the view of the trail very minimal. OTHERWISE. Approaching the top is a funny feeling, as you begin to see wooden beams inserted as steps in the trail. As I wondered how they hoisted them up there, you'll soon realize that there's a parking lot right near the top. The fenced off area at elevation 4052' is awesome, with a large landing with large markers labeling all of the large mountains around them by direction, and also listing elevation for each. Went on a cloudy day but still have a nice view from the top. Pretty mellow hike, but again us getting lost on the way back changed that!
Started at upper trail head so you bypass the 5 mile climb up from the Columbia and enjoy the trail above. Still very muddy in July. Not many inclines so doesn't feel like much of a workout. Just a 7.5 mile stroll. :)
Ok the hike is worth it but the crowds at Multnomah Falls and at the top are the only dissatisfaction I found other than that there's lots to see plenty of waterfalls and streams 4052 feet is the actual elevation the view from the top is pretty amazing you get to see Mount Saint Helens Mount Rainier Mount Adams Mount Hood Mount Jefferson in a 360-degree view at the top another downfall is there's a parking lot about a quarter mile from the top and people can just drive up there and park and get out and walk to The Summit like you just didn't bust your ass for the last seven miles
path was rocky with pretty good incline very quiet people wise with lots of water features
Decent hike. The almost 15 mile distance makes it a little difficult. The elevation gain almost disappears because of the total length. Once at the top of multnomah falls the crowd mostly vanishes (which was a big relief).
I started this trail from E Larch Mountain Rd. About a mile and half from the trail head the road was closed and the cool day and fog with the utter quietness was a beautiful eerie feeling. Snow appeared on the road just about where the trail head is located (Near the big U turn). The forest is beautiful right now up there. The trail has some snow cover patches but is doable for anyone. Once you reach the parking lot on the other side your gonna hit deep non-compacted snow. I was sinking in to my knees attempting to get to another trail head in the parking lot. Its quite peaceful there, saw 3-5 people tops.
Like people have said, once you get past all the tourists this turns into a great trail. On the day I went I was very nervous when I realized the trailhead started at Multnomah Falls, the parking lot was absolutely packed. The first mile or two is on a paved path which goes through switchbacks until you get over the initial face. That's where 90% of the traffic was. After the paved path ends at the top so do the flip flop wearing, Starbucks cup holding shoobies.
About 2 miles from the top we had to turn around because my Husky pup refused to cross a single-log bridge that only had a railing on one side. But besides that the rest of the trail was very dog-friendly. Wish we could've made it to the top.
15 miles, zero larches, and over 4000ft of the easiest gain you’ll find anywhere.
Larch is a great conditioning hike if you’re willing to cope with the human zoo that is Multnomah Falls. After battling through tourist families from Gresham to Guatemala, this can be a nice and quiet way to pour on the miles, put some rocks in your pack, and see if your legs can take it.
I’d highly recommend starting off from the much quieter Wahkeena Falls trailhead and adding a little distance, but if you just must start out with a coffee, a mile of paved switchbacks, and legions of pre-diabetic teens munching vanilla cones, well, that’s up to you.
Yes, Larch Mountain has its drawbacks: it’s a busy trail network on the lower end, there’s a paved road near the top, and it’s utterly devoid of views (save Sherard point, which I’d be remiss not to recommend). That said, it has the most mellow gain profile I’ve ever encountered. Once you’re out of the gorge, the trail is incredibly friendly and well-kept. Even though it’s 15-miler if done right (stay left at the top), it’s some of the friendliest ascending you’ll ever do.
It’s all up, but never straight up (and never actually that steep). Any time you’re pushing yourself and your legs start to burn a little, you’re rewarded with a lessening in grade or a flatter section. It’s almost as if the trail knows you and is actively encouraging you to never stop or take a break. Want to bolt 7.5 miles from Multnomah straight up to the top of the Gorge without stopping a single time? You can; rather, the trail encourages you to do so. And while it may be lacking in views, there are plenty of falls and old growth to keep you company. Adding a little over a mile at the top and looping-in the uppermost part of the Oneonta Trail will also reveal a hidden mountain wetlands and a very interesting stand of old growth reminiscent of the “fairy trail” returning from Ramona Falls. For mushroom hunters, the amount of varied fungus in these areas is remarkable.
•Irrespective of signage, it’s about 15 miles. You could make it the listed 13.6 and stop at a trail junction in a viewless grove of trees just short of the summit and viewpoint, but why?
•There are many opportunities to refill water along the way. You’ll be fine starting out with 1 litre and a filter, although there are no water sources within 1mi of the summit.
•Visit Sherrard point: it’s arguably one of the best views anywhere in the Gorge. The site of an old fire lookout, it offers Jefferson, Hood, Adams, Rainier, and Helens on clear days. Yes, people can effectively drive up there, but you’ll be better: because you hiked. To get there, stay left when it feels like you’ve reached the top and see paved trails, then walk down large timber-hewn steps then up some more (otherwise you’ll find the Larch Mountain parking lot).
•If you’d like to add the upper Oneonta Trail loop to your hike, stay left when coming down from Sherrard point and head to the parking lot. Walk down paved the road for about ¼ mile and you’ll see the Oneonta trailhead clearly marked on your left. Always make left turns on this trail, and you’ll be looped back to the Larch Mountain trail in a couple miles. Enjoy the mushrooms if you go!
In summation, Larch Mountain is a different kind of trail, but a good one. I was expecting to dislike it and simply check it off the list. Instead, I had an incredibly pleasant and mellow 16+ mile afternoon in the old growth.
As the days get shorter so do my hikes, wanted to take one last hike up to larch mountain today, view was amazing as always, since it was a Saturday the summit was packed, managed to get up in 4 hours and down in 3 hours, see you next year larchy!
I am thoroughly and sufficiently fatigued. Out and back (bottom, top, bottom), 7 hrs with lunch.
Beautiful trail! So quiet and green, the morning light made the hike so Erie, as if I was In a dream, I will definitely be going here again pretty soon!
This is a steady climb with only a few what may be considered steep parts the end result is a clear view of the areas mountains. Apart from Rainer, Adams, St Helens and Hood if it is clear enough you can make out Jefferson in the distance. The only slight disappointment is you share the view with many others who make it my car; however you can congratulate yourself that you made it on your own power. For the best time try a clear day early spring or early winter when the air is crisp and fresh, then the view is not just fine but magnificent and maybe even the road up may have closed.
Super trial. Tree covered so the sun didn't hit us even though we did it during the day. Started at 11:40 am and were at the top at 3:30 on. The view from the top was worth the climb. Started back down at 4:45 pm and were back at about 7:50 pm. Stopped for a bit to take a dip in the pond below one of the smaller falls along the trail.