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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.

Great hike last weekend. Comments are correct in that it was muddy clay hiking - just for a little bit about 20 min in... Slippery.
Yet it was hurricane force winds so the trail dried out a bit
BEST view east to west of the gorge from the top! Breathtaking!!
I’ll be back when flowers are in bloom.
Rowena point is just amazing! Got there at about 7:15 am and took the best photo of my summer of Hiking throughout the Gorge.
God’s country for sure!!!!!

Hiked on Nov 8. Bathrooms at TH, no parking fee, parked on Thurman and walked down stairs next to the bridge. First section of the trail is beautiful, serene, canopied forest that wanders next to Baluch Creek. Continue straight at Stone House...trail has a few turns where it’s best to check your navigation because it is not well-marked up to Pittock Mansion. After you cross CORNELL Rd, you will hear traffic the rest of the way. Slight ascend, dense forest, and beautiful scenic views of P-town are your reward.

Great, short hike! It took a total of 4 hours but we took our time and enjoyed the amazing views the entire trek. Went in early October and the weather was perfect. People had dogs on the trail and it was pretty crowded.

backpacking
26 days ago

Great to backpack, but it's a little extreme to call this one "moderate" in difficulty.

People talk about a rough road and 4x4s only, when there's no real reason to take the 4x4 road. Start from Shellrock Lake, and it's a dead-easy 6mi of friendly, even trail with minimal (mayyybe 1500 ft) gain. As of fall 2018, there are very few sections with roots/tough footing/blow-downs. Unless you're (mentally) unstable or have a new 4Runner you want to try out, there's no reason whatsoever to shave-off 1.9 dead-easy miles by attempting a Gresham "truck nuts" approach. I drove to Shellrock in a 40 year-old German convertible and it was fine. Your 1999 Honda Civic with the huge muffler, ground effects, and the 4ft fin on the back? It fine. Trust me. I mean, no one likes it and--contrary to popular belief--that bass *will not* get you women, but your sick whip?? It'll do just fine, bra.

So let's rate the difficulty, as these reviews make this wonderfully peaceful, friendly, and mellow trail sound like trying to do Dog, Defiance, and Devil's Rest in the same day with a 60lb pack (and yup, that's called the TripleD: only really bored Mazamas, tweekers, and--for whatever reason--mechanical engineers like doing that.)

So if the PCT from Mexico to Canada is an 11 on the 1-10 scale of backpacking difficulty, and you were bored/silly enough to want backpack Defiance (9), then this is maybe a 3.5. Maybe. Mind you, on this scale walking to PSU from the Pearl with your Jansport full of books is a 1, and Mirror Lake with a tent, a bag, a sixer, and Cheetos (no Tom/Dick/Harry) is a 2.

The Serene Lake backpack is great, easy to drive to, and most any first-time backpacker could make it. If you stopped every 30 mins for rest, you'd be fine if you started before noon: it's only 6mi to the lake. Also, so many little baby lakes and mellow camp spots are peppered throughout this hike. Even if the 8 or so decent lake spots were taken, there are a ton more cool flat spots within a mile of the lake that'd be great if you just ported h20 in your Camelback.

Oh, and take the wonderful "long way out" heading west out of Serene Lake on the return and use the Grouse Point trail to then head back east. It adds another mile or two and maybe an additional 6-700ft of overall gain, but is equally mellow given enough time.

Anyway, loved this backpack. It'd be a go-to for taking first-time backpackers who wanted to do something that was quiet and friendly, but gave you that (priceless) feeling of being more than 10 miles away from a Plaid Pantry.

For a challenge, might be cool as a snowshoe.

5 stars. And I'll include a complete trail map from the Shellrock Lake start point in my profile photos with a title if that's of use to anyone.

Great hike. There’s a bit of an incline at certain points but otherwise it’s manageable. At the top is an old mansion with some great views of the City.

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.

It’s a good day hike. A good hike to do with friends as an alternative to a coffee date to catch up on life. It took me a couple hours to do and it’s nice because there are bathrooms at the top

Have been going here since the 60s.
wasn't so crowded then.
funny they named the old bathrooms the Witches Castle.
Still, love this trail when not crowded.

nice trail but is not mountain biking friendly

Probably one of my favorite hikes ever! We did the full loop. The waterfall was really beautiful as well! Will definitely be back!

I climbed up the steep side first and looped around to hardy falls trail and pool of the winds. I suggest poles and be prepared for using your hands a few times. the best views ever. super awesome work out!

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike.

Did the loop that goes up Hamilton Mtn Trail to the summit -> ridgeline -> equestrian trail -> hardy -> Hamilton Mtn Trail.

It is super steep and most of the people I saw had poles. There were a lot of people with their dogs and women carrying babies in backpacks, so it wasn't TOO crazy. It is definitely steep, though. Especially near the summit (some hands required..).. and for that reason I wouldn't recommend going up the reverse route, because you'll have to come back down the hamilton side which I think is more dangerous than going up. Either way, breathtaking views, challenging hike. Worth it!

Took our 7 & 4 years olds all the way to the mansion. Great hike and lots of spots for the kids to explore along the way as well as some “rest/snack” spots. My husband pushed our BOB stroller with a kiddo in it, it wasn’t easy but doable with an “off-road” stroller, if you’re in shape.

Sad how many dog poop bags are along the side of the trail, I don’t understand that ignorance. Leashed dogs are allowed, and all but a few folks complied with the leash rule.

Overall a great spot & nice trail.

My favorite hike in The Gorge.

Amazing views, hard workout! I love that it’s a loop. We climbed up the hardy creek trail and then looped around to Hamilton Mountain. I think a lot of people hike up the other way straight up to the view point, but that would have been too steep of a climb for me. The long way around through hardy creek is much more gradual. Going down the mountain was a bit hard on my knees, but besides that, the trail was in excellent condition.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful views of the gorge, but best views are at turn offs prior to reaching Hamilton Mountain summit (which actually doesn’t have a view bc it’s blocked by shrubs). The waterfall at the beginning of the trail has a great swimming hole too - will definitely try it out on a warmer day.

Awesome hike with beautiful views.... 9.5 miles if you make the loop.

nice area. well marked trail with reasonable view points and water features early on.

note:
-$10 parking for a day hike...
-the horses statement is incorrect, that is another trail

i gave it a 3 but i think it should be more of a 3.5. For being so close in the city it is really nice. it is pretty busy on a September Saturday (not unexpected) I had to park a quarter mile from the trailhead. As there is space for only about 25cars in the lower area where you can park. The lower area is pretty through Mccleary park. This area follows a stream and had nice water features. There was however plenty of trash and it really bothered my daughter. Also as there were plenty of dogs someone couldnt be bothered to bring their crap out. I agree with the assements about the first 1.5 miles up being easy and the next 1mile being moderate.

Hiked Sept 3. Well-marked, easy to find TH. You need a Discovery Pass permit. Beautiful scenic views of Gorge. This trail should be rated hard, not moderate....

This is a great hike!

Beautiful moderate difficulty hike! My wife, my beagle, my vizsla and I got out just after 8am and completed it in about 3 hours.
It was foggy, misty and rainy for the majority of the hike which created some spectacular foggy scenery and the trails were still barely damp and in great shape! The ascent up a winding trail will certainly test your endurance. One of the highlights of this hike and any comes early, you must take a small side trail to the “pool of the winds”, breathtaking. Once you complete the ascent, you’re rewarded with a wide open catwalk across the ridge line. The descent was smooth, not sure if it was my new Danner boots, but the trail was so soft, almost saw dust like.
Highly recommend! Earlier the better of course, it was super busy as we got back down towards the trailhead. Dog friendly for sure.

I did this hike around 3 weeks ago. There were so many bees. A lot of people got stung. I started the loop turning right and got the the highest elevation point and went back the same way. The map is a bit confusing because it shows 7.2mi total and it looks like the hike is a lot longer if you continue the loop past the highest elevation point. It was late and I turned back and ended hiking 9mi according to my fitbit. If you are doing this hike allocate at least 5 hours (if you are an intermediate hiker like me). Views are really nice and I felt the hike was moderate in difficulty.

Definitely not your everyday "moderate" hike. But really worth it. Took us 5 hours with short breaks in between.

We chose this hike after doing dog mountain a week before. We wanted something of the relatively same difficulty rating.
Tbh, it wasn't as hard as dog, but had its moments. The summit was kinda disappointing since it didn't have any sort of clearing to look at the view. But there are some good views on the way to the summit.
Good hike all in all.

beautiful hike but the "cut off"does not exist. we found a trail to cut through but you had to do a bit of bouldering. just stay on the river trail

Bull shit trail info. The crossover after the summit doesn’t exist. You have to rock climb or go all the way around! Just crap

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