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

Wish list Map
VIEW FULL MAP

[TL;DR: Solid trail, good workout. Varied terrain so you won't get bored. Watch out for false trails.]

First, if you're reading this close to the date of this post, go now. The leaves just started really changing color about a week ago, and now it is in full swing. Lots of pines, but in the deciduous areas it is all red and gold. The trail is casually beautiful, with the occasional stunner just laying nonchalantly in full view of the trail. Waterfalls, cliffs, boulder fields, etc.

Second, someone below said this is harder that Fiery Gizzard; I would disagree. I would say it is equal to Fiery Gizzard to Raven's Point Loop, but with a different kind of difficulty. I would compare it more closely to Lower Loop at Fall Creek Falls, but with rougher paths and more and longer scrambles.

You will have a scramble on either side of the trail head. The one to the right (counterclockwise) is more continuous, with no real flat spots until you're out of the scramble. The one to the left (clockwise) is not a continuous scramble, but seemed more difficult due to a number of odd angles and weird transitions. I would call them equally difficult, but in different ways. I would recommend going to the right from trailhead, though, if only because the left-hand side gives you a beautiful spot to appreciate once you get close to trailhead on the way back.

Outside of the scrambles the path tends to be very broken and rough, but nothing worrisome. You will need to cross 4-5 streams, so keep an eye on the rain and prepare accordingly.

The ascent on the way back is fairly rapid, but not too much so.

I will note that I cut the loop close to the end: I cut across the connector trail by the sawmill campsite instead of completing the last nub of the loop, trying to save 30 minutes to an hour as I was racing sunset (late start, thanks Google Maps). It was a good choice, as I made it back to the parking lot just in time for a golden sunset. I carry night gear, but doing a scramble in the dark on a new trail did not seem like a good idea.

One important warning I haven't seen anyone else mention: there are false trails everywhere. Some seen ike abandoned paths, some for locals, some seem natural, but it is very easy to go off trail here. I went down two false trails (one even had a wooden ramp along a cliff edge), and I ran into two groups that had lost members further back on the trail, which I hadn't seen. One very tricky spot is when you cross the suspension bridge when heading couter-clockwise. Once over that there'll be a small footbridge. At that point the trail will be slightly behind your right shoulder; take an immediate right. Someone has tried to block the false trail (immediately in front if the footbridge) with a wall of branches, but it just looks like trail debris. Lots of blazes down, so when in doubt, just stop and break out the app, otherwise you'll be off trail and have no idea.

All in all, a good day trail. I completed 13 miles in about 8 hours, counting breaks, without being in any great rush (cutting to the connector did help). Bear in mind with the varied terrain and scrambles your speed is not going to remain steady. Also remember that you've have a moderately long scramble wanting for you at the end of the trail no matter which way you go, so don't exhaust yourself. Everyone I met on trail was overnighting, but you shouldn't have a problem doing a day hike.

hiking
15 days ago

This a great day-hike. The trail itself is not hard; just make sure you are wearing nice hiking shoes because of the loose rocks. This is a great time of the year to do it because of the changing colors of the trees. Lyons Lake is a must!

did this trail Oct 13. nice trail. not the best rim trail. there is a huge mistake on this trail map. I took the trail to the gulf first on advice from a hiking pro. saving the bolder field for last. better than a 3 mile up hill out of the gulf. If you do this route please note that when you get to Sawmill Camp take the connector trail to the right just past the foot bridge. The map on here shows you going on the river bed and making a large loop to the stagecoach trail. I tried to blaze this trail but lost track of the trail. Had to backtrack to the bridge. If there was a trail there it would add around a mile and a half. Which it did add 1 mile on my hike going in and back out. Just watch for the connector trail on the right past the bridge. It takes you to the Stagecoach.

backpacking
22 days ago

We started at Castle Rock instead of Saratoga Gap. This was highly recommended by the rangers and afforded us beautiful scenic views on Day 1 until meeting up with the traditional trail which mostly follows the highway for the first day.

Day 1: Starting from Castle Rock, hiked 9.5 miles to Waterman Gap Camp. Super remote, but had a bathroom and water spout so it was perfect. Campsite 1 is the best!
Day 2: Hiked another 9/10 miles to Jay Camp in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. There are facilities here and it is not as remote but still great.
Day 3: The last ~ 10 miles take you back to Waddell Beach. A much recommended detour visits Berry Creek Falls. We actually ended this night at a beach in Davenport at the main stoplight across the highway from the restaurants. There were fire pits for a bonfire and we stayed the night on the beach. This was actually our favorite night.

The trail is closer to 30 miles than 25. We parked one car at Waddell Beach and another at Castle Rock since there is NO SHUTTLE and none of us had phone service either. The start and end points are roughly one hour away from each other driving.

WEATHER was GREAT, btw. We slept half in our bags as we had really warm nights even now in mid-October. Overall a great trip and I highly recommend it for this time of year when it is really cold elsewhere.

one week ago, we went clockwise. Did hiker summit, camped a couple miles before wasco. 11 miles day 1. second day we added canyon meadow trail, and then continued back to loop and back to car at PCT lot. 17 miles day 2 for a total of around 28 miles in two days. Amazing and beautiful trip, highly suggest. Saw one mountain goat. Clear blue skies, just some cold cold wind.

backpacking
24 days ago

Did it in one day, starting at Hwy 9 and 35 , finishing at Waddell Beach. Its around 29-30miles, not 25. Took us 9.5hrs excluding 2 breaks to eat and tape up our feet. Would have done it in 2 days but Big Basin is reservation only and books 2 months in advance so book early.

backpacking
24 days ago

Would love to do this trail from start to finish or possibly in two sections. Would anyone be interesting informing a group and going?

hiking
25 days ago

I only made it 4 miles out. The stretch that I hiked was a nice shaded trail that ran alongside the Hoh River.

hiking
28 days ago

So calm,so cozy

backpacking
30 days ago

This was a fantastic 3-day backpacking trip to Blue Glacier and back. The mileage on here isn't correct. It's 17.5 miles one way to Glacier Meadows (35 roundtrip), and then about another mile to the Lateral Moraine, a spectacular view of Blue Glacier. That puts the full trail roundtrip at around 37 miles. There is another spur trail at 17.5 miles in (listed as .8 miles one way I think) to the Terminal Moraine, providing another stunning view of the glacier, this time standing high above where the glacier ends. Both of these steep-climbing trails are well worth the effort. The glacier is definitely the highlight, but the whole hike is gorgeous, with plenty of wildlife, gigantic trees covered in moss, and beautiful views of the Hoh River scattered throughout. My first night was at Mount Tom Creek (~3 miles in). My second night I camped at Elk Lake (~14 miles in), which was a nice campground in the woods. I left most of my stuff there while I hiked with a day pack (smart ranger recommendation) to the glacier and back, then packed up and hiked to Lewis Meadows for the third night. I was on my way out of the park when I stopped at Five Mile Island for lunch and decided it was too nice a spot to leave. I pitched my tent and hiked out and back in after resupplying and registering for two more nights. I definitely recommend staying at Five Mile Island either on the way in or out - it's a beautiful spot on the river, and for my stay, elk showed up before sunset both nights. I think fall is a great time of year for this hike - There are less people, and if you can time it up with good weather, it's pretty ideal. My first day was rainy and the people I saw backpacking out had been in rain the whole trip and seemed miserable. The rest of my trip was around freezing at night and sunny and 60s every day - good stuff. I'm excited to go back.

backpacking
1 month ago

Hiked this trail over this gorgeous weekend in October. Quite a few day hikers up to the viewpoint. No one after that. We stayed at Goat Creek with one other group. Took a day hike the next day well past the Kinzel Lake trail connection. Found MANY piles of semi-fresh cat scat on the trail. Also found evidence of bear activity and a paw print. Definitely had "that feeling" of being watched/followed for much of this part of the trial (from about mile 5.5-8 or so). We made lots of noise. On the way back to camp found a very fresh cat print in the trail. Made more noise :). Stay in groups (please) if you hike past Goat Creek. There definitely is wildlife in abundance past that point.

Completed the trail in 2 nights & 3 days. 1st day hiking was harder than the other 2 days. Basin was crowded.

Tip: A couple people thought to break in their shoes on this trail = lots of blisters. Also, bring poles if you have bad knees = lots of downhill.

backpacking
1 month ago

Started at Castle Rock HQ, ended at Waddell Beach and loved every minute of this hike. Camped at Waterman Gap and then Jay camp and both were in good shape and nice. Thanks to our awesome state park rangers, staff and volunteers! Definitely would do this again.

backpacking
1 month ago

The first 11 or so miles is REALLY up and down. If I were to do this hike again, I would start halfway and just do the last 20 miles for scenery. I wouldn’t do the first 20 miles again. The trail is most often a long distance from the river and only seldom affords a view of the river you came to enjoy. I would recommend this if you’re in good shape and don’t mind the constant undulations of up and down on the trail.

trail running
1 month ago

Super fun. Ran skyline to sea marathon with Pacific Coast Trail Runs. Very fun event. Highly recommend.

In my opinion some of the best views and waterfalls in the park. We started at Collins West trailhead and made the trek to Sawmill campsite #2 then dumped our packs put our tents up then decided to take the short trip over to the historic cabin built in 1910 .Very cool little cabin sitting in a green field. The next morning we took the Connector Trail over to Stagecoach and then over to the South Rim Trail and out to the Savage Gulf Ranger Station. I'll spare you the true details about how we ended up waaay over there at the ranger station instead of the CG loop back to to Collins West trailhead...

Dropped by later in the season (late October) last year and was blocked by snow after 5 miles or so ... so I made a point to come back a bit earlier this year and I'm so glad I did as the fall colors and the tail end of the summer bloom was in full effect. I went counter Clockwise and the timing worked out nicely with the sunset and sunrise. However if you are headed south on the PCT first thing in the morning you will likely meet more people - In my case at least 5 groups of hunters and 4 groups of hikers. (I would go clockwise if I wanted to avoid people on the full loop. ) I ended up camping on the downslope somewhere around where the trail branches off for summit lake. This spot was amazing for a 360 degree view of sunset, moonrise, and then sunrise.

Beautiful trail to backpack in the fall. The leaves are vibrant and less people on the trail!

backpacking
1 month ago

The trail is fun and well-marked. The hike to Sylvia is easy and to Lyons gets very steep but lasts only .4 miles. Sylvia Lake was a bit low but had clean filterable water. I climbed up Pyramid Peak which was great. There's an unmarked trail at about 85 degrees bearing from Sylvia Lake up to the peak.

Lyons Lake is beautiful and had more water than Sylvia. I recommend visiting both lakes and climbing Mt. Agassiz or Pyramid Peak for the great views.

Great Trail..

lots of people but great entry level backpacking

hiking
1 month ago

Me and my girlfriend are trying to plan a 4 day 3 over night possible trip and I would like to get about 20 to 30 miles with Garden of the Gods included. Does anyone have a good trail to go with?

This trail is currently closed for a month because of a deadly cougar attack until they find the cougar that killed the hiker on the nearby Hunchback Trail.

"The Forest Service closed more than 29,000 acres in the Hunchback Mountain area to public use as officials continue to search for the cougar suspected of causing the death of a Gresham hiker.
The area will be closed for at least 30 days, though the order could end early or be extended depending on the progress of the operation."

I only completed 19 terrifying miles on this trail. Of the 19 miles at least 85% was narrow trail (less then 30”) along a cliff edge any where from 100 to 700 feet above the river, rock wall on one side and precipitous drop off on the other. I am afraid of heights and circumstances (private raft support) had me definitely completing more miles then I was comfortable with. The trail has many slides and several obstructions. It is a continual up and down. We were told that Devils Backbone was closed because of a slide leaving Huggins as your only alternative. This trail really should have a “fear of heights” advisory

hiking
2 months ago

Have hiked this trail many times and enjoy it a lot. It's one of those "go to" spots when I just want to get away without having to put a lot of effort into it. The terrain is easy, trail well marked. Lots of places to camp in the first 2 miles, a few after. You can actually link up with other trails and make your way all the way to the PCT. From there there's Timothy Lake to the south and Mt. Hood to the north.

Good for dogs!

backpacking
2 months ago

This is an awesome hike. Pretty easy to moderate up to Silvia Lake, slightly harder to get up to Lyons Lake. I took the extra trip to the top of Pyramid peak and will remember that view for the rest of my life.

Did 11 miles out and back since I couldn’t get a ride home from the beach. Downhill helps but there are some climbs for sure. Take plenty of water.

backpacking
2 months ago

Moderate overall but it’s hard to judge when you go backpacking for the first time. Wonderful trail. Plenty of kids are able to do it with their families.

backpacking
2 months ago

I would classify this as hard, unless you are only backpacking to the 12.4 mile campsite or lower, and then day hiking to the moraine, and doing this in 3 days, 2 nights, or longer.

We backpacked into Elk Lake in one day, from 8:30 am, to 4:00 pm. From Elk Lake, we started at 4:30 am and we hiked through the lateral moraine, and to the end of the ridge by 7:00 am, and it was magnificent. We were blessed with amazing weather, no clouds, and being all alone. We hiked back to Elk Lake by 9:00, packed up and hiked out with our gear by 4:15 pm. I wouldn't recommend 2 day/1 night-ing this trip. If I did it again, I'd either get all the way to Glacier Meadows on Day 1, or leave earlier on Day 1, drop off gear at Elk Lake, and summit the same day. Or just do 3 days/2 nights. We found a canceled campsite at Kalaloch beach for Sunday night, so we made a goal to get back early enough to get there, and see the sunset at the beach. We wrecked our bodies, but I don't think many people can watch the sun come up next to Blue Glacier, and then watch the sun set over the ocean from Kalaloch Beach in one day.

One Note: We did the rope bridge/ladder between Elk Lake and Glacier Meadows at approx. 5:15 am, and still no sun light. No where did I read where you go after you climb down, but once at the bottom of the ladder, you walk straight left, and climb back out of the valley via the rocks.

Just finished this as an out and back (starting and ending at the Rogue River Trailhead on the West side). 80 miles in 3 days.

It was amazingly beautiful (though I liked the first 20 and last 20 miles the most). And one reason I picked this trail was because of the lack of crowds. Yes, there are rafters down below, but I saw only two small groups of backpackers and two other small groups of hikers the whole 80 miles.

Finding a spot to camp can be challenging. Especially because of the holiday (Labor Day weekend), people rafted in to camp ... so most of the spots right in the water were crowded. I ended up setting up camp far away from their noise.

I was not expecting part of the trail was on pavement ... I thought I made a wrong turn so added a couple of miles. Also, since there are plenty of other paths (especially to get to the river), you can easily make a wrong turn.

Also appreciated that there was a water source (that I filtered) at least every 4 miles (many times much closer).

This hike is NOT HARD. Moderate IMO. The blackberry bushes can be annoying ... and be careful walking through the flattened long grass as I tripped a couple of times.

Would love to hike this trail again starting from the East side.

Load More