Explore Carson Hot Springs - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Carson Hot Springs Map
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Did it 12/1 and the top had 2-3” of snow. It was incredible. Followed coyote tracks for a while. Fog blew in and out. I actually loved it.

This is one of my favorite loops for a scenic, slightly challenging day hike. It’s not too muddy yet, but high traffic areas around the Pool of the Winds are getting there. Be sure to pack a coat, as well as some gloves and a hat for the summit; there’s already some snow accumulation, especially on the north face of Hamilton Mountain.

7.5 miles round trip, 2 caches, lots of fun.

Great hike! Beautiful views. My 7 year old daughter was able to hike it, but she is a pretty determined kid.

hiking
15 days ago

I did this as my very first solo hike! A little belated birthday present to myself, too! Had an AMAZING day up there! The weather was perfect, though the chill of winter was definitely showing up! The trail was wet from rain the previous day/night, so there were a few moderately slick spots, but my hiking boots were more than enough to get past it. Had the trail mostly to myself! Took the new, scenic trail up, and the west trail back for some variation. So different-looking than in the spring! I have been on Dog Mountain I think 2 or 3 times before and the wind was the calmest I’ve ever experienced it up there. I wanted to go back as soon as I left! I think I left my heart up there! Love this hike!

Amazing hike with great variety—forested dirt-pack trail, through a pastoral field, across an old rock slide and finishing walking up a 1.25 mi up a tree-lined and pasture road back to parking. All of this with spectacular viewpoints of the Gorge. And perfect for a sunny Fall day with changing leaf colors. Will definitely do again.

Awesome hike today - took about 4 1/2 hours . Waterfalls early on awesome - and Vistas at top are killer . Howling winds yet could find reprieve along the way. Nice workout. Had to use hands bit for balance along some rocky switchbacks - very doable. Nice side shoots to explore - especially up near the rocky parts.
Very repeatable hike - will come back in spring.

hiking
22 days ago

It was a gorgeous day though very WINDY!! I loved the entire hike - the only slight bummer is you’re hiking the road at the end which is boring. But it didn’t keep me from enjoying it!

new favorite for sure! definitely plan to take 3 to 4 hours in order to complete the full loop. fall is my favorite time to hike in the gorge and so long as it hasnt been raining heavily for a few days prior to your hike the paths should still be easy to navigate. love the view from the top, absolutely incredible! worth every step!

A friend of mine and I took a few of our children - 9,12 & 14ish and they all did really well, with minimal whining. There were a couple of steep switch backs, but not quite as steep or intense as the nearby "Dog Mountain." The views from the top were not as incredible as Dog Mountain, but they were nice. I do agree with some commenters who brought out, there is really no good place to sit and have lunch at the top. The "saddle" or ridge of the trail was super windy and pretty fun for our kiddos. There are a couple of pretty awesome waterfalls and "The Pool of the Winds," which was pretty cool.

This is a wonderful hike with spectacular views. Be prepared for high winds and traversing a rock/boulder field.

Nice little workout to the summit. If I did it again I wouldn’t do the loop, just out and back to the false summit for some decent views.

False summit view is incredible on a clear day, but the view from the top is terrible. This is my least favorite hike in the Gorge.

Beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike is on the tougher side! The loop on this trail map includes the "most difficult" section (left) and the "difficult" (right). We opted to do the "difficult" as an out and back, which is actually just a bit longer than doing the loop. Some areas are super steep, and there are rocks on the trail as you get up towards the summit. The views are amazing, and the wind whips pretty wild up top. Our dog was fine the entire way, and we ended at 7.6 miles in 3.5 hours, including a 20 minute break at the top for snacks and photos.

hiking
1 month ago

I enjoyed this hike, it was perfectly sunny for the first half and then lightly rained the rest of the way. I managed to grab s ok me HUGE tree leaves, same width of my chest as I was going through the hike. worth it, honestly the view points are all beautiful! I did it with my mother in law, wife, and our 2 dogs. easy trail, it is just long so dont forget water.

I think I’m getting spoiled because I really didn’t like the hike even though it’s on many Portland fall 10 ten hiking lists. Too much of it is on roads and you can hear trains and cars most of the hike. The views are nice, but not that special for the area.

hiking
1 month ago

7.5 miles exactly, including going out to all the viewpoints. I agree that in places it was more than moderate - I started out on the upper loop, on the way back via lower loop there were quite a few rocky spots (including switchbacks up the first rock field), narrow trails in steep areas, etc. In contrast, some parts are gravel, some are firmly packed dirt, and the last mile and a half or so are up a paved road. The waterfall is pretty small, but some great views of the gorge and fall leaves.

hiking
1 month ago

You have the choice of taking either the, "difficult" route or the, "more difficult" route. I regret to tell you I took the, "more difficult" route. It. Kicked. My. Ass. It was relentless. Constant climbing. Zero breaks. I recommend taking the, "difficult" route. Some parts of the trail, especially towards the top, are rocky. Wear legit hiking boots/shoes. I saw quite a few people wearing tennis shoes, which seemed really dangerous and stupid. The views are gorgeous, and even though I felt like jello by the end of it, it was worth it. This hike took me just under four hours. There's a $5 fee and a bathroom at the start of the trail.

Amazing. Hard ascent but absolutely worth it

Up was hard, it keeps going up with very few breaks but worth the views. I stayed to the right which stays closer to thev river with a nice view point. When I got to the top I went off the back and looped around to the other trail. I wish I would have went back down the way I went up. The views were better going up. The down was much harder the the up, legs were jello when I got back to the car.

Just okay. The hike is fun. A nice waterfall after 1 mile. Some cool view points to stop at on the way up, but the view from the top is not great. A lot of underbrush has grown y’all and block the view. No place to sit down and rest at the top. Also, SUPER crowded and if you don’t have a Discover Pass it’s $10 for a day pass.

It kicked my ass for sure but was fun. Tons of area to explore along the hike and off trail. Also tons of people doing just that. The waterfall was neat though there are some seeming well traveled side trails that lead to nowhere and no view - dont go downhill to the right just before the fall - not worth it! I was a little bummed once we reached the summit that there was no 360* view. It was pretty, it was nice to be out, it was nice and close to Portland - but for the effort there are better payoff trails.

I would call it more than moderate for some parts of it

Steep hike all the way but the views are definitely worth it. The first landing has amazing views overlooking the gorge. The second landing was completely surrounded by fog so we couldn’t see anything. It was also the steepest part of the hike. Probably could’ve just skipped that and looped down after the first overlook. We chose to go up the “difficult” way and down the “more difficult” side, which worked out well.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail!!! Tough to hike, but worth every second of it.

Really great Fall hike, the colors were amazing. Highly recommend for this time of year

on Dog Mountain Trail

hiking
2 months ago

This hike truly earns the difficult rating.

The "more difficult" route is hilariously steep, and, for much of the hike, your heels won't be on the ground. Each time it briefly leveled out, 50 feet later it was back to being straight up.

This has to be the most difficult hike I've done to date - I haven't hiked many, but this amount of elevation gain over only 3 miles was honestly insane.

The trail is very well kept going up and down, though there are some rocky areas near the summit that deserve a little caution.

The views at the top are incredible - I can't imagine how beautiful it would be in summer with the flowers in bloom.

My wife, our Beagle and Vizsla, and I started this awesome but grueling ascent around 9am. We reached the top by 1030am. Don’t shy away from the “more difficult” route, pretty sure either way will be tough and require several stops. Despite the fact that there aren’t any waterfalls, the views of the winding Columbia are hard to beat. Very rewarding and the way down isn’t too rough. Good luck!

A bit of a workout which was nice. Plenty of inclines, plenty of viewpoints, plenty of resting points. Lower trail is a bit rocky. Trail is well marked with signs everywhere, there's a parking lot with an out house. Enjoy!

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