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

ToDo Map
VIEW FULL MAP

01/13/2019
Arrived at 8am on a Sunday to only a few cars in the parking lot. Did the full loop with my dog and was back at my car by 10:45am. Passed a few people on my way up but otherwise only came across one other person the entire hike, until I got back to the junction and went the last mile ish back down the main trail, at which point there were lots more people and a full parking lot.

Towards the top parts of the trail were quite wet, some patches of snow all over the top but not much. It was extremely windy - actually quite dangerous considering some of the ridges. My 30lb dog was blown about five feet sideways and I thankfully had her on the leash. The guts would’ve knocked me over if I weren’t braced against them. I recommend avoiding this hike if the Gorge is windy on arrival.

The upper half of the hike has a lot of rocky / semi-scrambling parts. Hard on the knees but nothing like Munra Point or some other areas of the Gorge. I imagine these areas would be tricky if the ground were at all icy.

Overall great hike, good views at the top. Just get there early to avoid crowds.

The full loop is a TOUGH 8 mile hike with elevation of 2200 incline and decline. Amazing views and worth every minute. Dog friendly.

Dog review: This trail was the perfect length for a moderate outing. Took my four dogs and I about four hours. The way up can be a little sketchy with dogs because it’s steep and slippery this time of year. My guys have great leash skills so getting everyone up steep switchbacks and walking on narrow areas wasn’t a problem, but could be for a dog in training or inexperienced pup. Though the trail up has a couple steep switchbacks, the way down is wide and even suitable for horses, VERY easy if you have dogs. Way up is alright as long as you have good control. Only a few rocky areas, no booties needed for my guys. Lots of puddles and streams so you can pack less water than normal for the pups.

Fun hike on New Years Day. Not at all crowded early but quite a few people later in the day making their way up.

Good hike. The early on waterfalls after 1 mile in were the highlight of the hike for me. A little muddy due to the rain around this time of year.

I’d rate it as moderate-hard.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

This is a great moderate hike with really nice views. Not busy at all, although we did see a couple people on the hike.
The last turn onto Indian race track (going counter-clockwise) was a little difficult to see at first, so keep your eye out.

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.

Beautiful Fall colors going on right now! We only saw one other group today. It was not only beautiful, but very quiet. We will definitely be back.

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
3 months 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!

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
3 months 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

backpacking
4 months ago

First hammock camping trip. Tough climb to the lake. No bugs. Dry on the way up, but rained all night and on hike out. Saw fish caught. Probably swimmable with hot weather.
5 or 6 groups of day hikers but only one other overnighter at the lake.
Lots of day hikers with dogs on the lower, first section of the trail.

Pretty forest hike with expansive views from Red Mountain. Better hiked as an out and back as the descent on the road is boring (but quick). Not too hard except for the final few hundred feet which is steep.

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....

hiking
4 months ago

Would’ve been five stars if I wasn’t socked in until the way back from Silver Star. Can only imagine the views on a clear day.

Like other reviews, you’ll need clearance on the Fire Service Road to make it to the trailhead. I entered through Sunset Falls Campground, then left on FS 41. Really straightforward. No cell service, but Google Maps works on GPS alone now, just in case.

Once at the trailhead, the first 2 miles are on an old Jeep Road. When you get to the end of that, there’s a little circle with shells and clay pigeons. Cut down and right onto a single track.

No sustained climbs. Lots of up, flat, down, and back up. Great mix of terrain from trees/berries/bushes to forest to rocks on the side of mountains. I’m sure my favorite would’ve been Silver Star, but since I had no view, it had to be the forest. There’s a spot where you literally can only see 30 yards in any direction because the tree trunks are so densely packed.

I have to second Bradley’s comment about long pants. The trail is fairly overgrown (but still clear and easy to follow) on much of the single track. Also, if you go on a day after rain, wear some waterproof shoes. I was soaked from the waist down from leftover water on the beargrass and other plants. Also, I saw a ton of bear scat in an area filled with blueberries. No bears, though.

Total from Bluff Mountain Trailhead to peak of Silver Star and back is 12.5 miles. Took me 4hrs 40 minutes, but again, I wasn’t stopping much to admire all the peaks and valleys I’m sure we’re out in the clouds somewhere.

Pick a clear day, if you can. I’ll be back on one.

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.

Load More