Explore the most popular mountain biking trails in Gifford Pinchot National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

When you look at parts of this area on Google Maps you can see acre sized clearings of forest that resemble gambling dice. There is a 5, 3 and 2 I’ve observed since satellite maps became public. Only one news article exists regarding the phenomenon, explaining scientists started the ecology experiment in the 90’s. But trees in the clear cut areas seem much older than that. Why is the experiment only happening in this forest? There are no other forestry centers in the world that are doing this. I’ve measured the height of the trees by their shadows and what time of day it was. It doesn’t add up to the 90s clear cutting story and timeline. The Colombian News article is brief and doesn’t site any specific departments, or go into any specifics for that matter. It only mentions generic organizations. There is also a wrecked military plane out there with no back story.

“Researchers from the Pacific Northwest Research Station, the Forest Service, the University of Washington, Oregon State and the University of Oregon all worked or are still working on the project.”

When is the last time you heard of all these organizations working TOGETHER on a specific project of this scale, this well organized? Especially during the 90’s when most of these centers were just starting to get consistent funding. I’ve gone out trying to look for clues as to why these die really exist. The magnetic lava bed makes compasses worthless and gps gets buggy in the valleys. One time a black SUV with 5 men in suits was parked out there. Another time I saw 3-4 black-hooded individuals walking along the logging roads with no transport vehicle for many many miles. They had zero hiking or camping supplies and looked extremely out of place. When asking locals you get mixed reviews.

One armature website briefly mentions the die and assumes it was done by board loggers but the tree growth around it seems to say it was done in the 1930’s or 40s. Given the frequent Hood River logging bank robberies back then I have a theory the acre sized die are laid out to give coordinates to buried loot. With the die totals providing a solvable equation to a safe.

Anybody else smelling a D.B. Cooper type of story? I’ve studied this casually for years but now I need real answers haha. If anyone else is curious or had any strange occurrences out there email me at scott.wray.media@gmail. I may produce a show or documentary about it if other’s have had similar thoughts or curiosities about the clear cut, acre sized dice. Thanks!

I did about 9 miles of this trail (out and back) and it was amazing! Lots of waterfalls, lots of places to climb around the waterfalls and lots of little swimming holes if it's warm enough. The trail was not very hard at all just kinda meanders with no crazy elevation gains. Will definitely take people back here.

walking
1 day ago

Started at the Horseshoe Bend Rd trailhead. Followed from there for about 3.5 miles. The trail will take you through some “interesting” sections with private property on both sides, before gradually turning back to nature again. Avoid the parsley looking plants growing everywhere along and in the path, it is often full of ticks. Have a dog? I would avoid this trail (area) unless your idea of bonding with your animal is tick removal. The following day we hit the same trail, further down, starting at the Harms Rd trailhead, for more of a great desert canyon stretch of trail. Both sections are flat, as they used to have train tracks running there. Still a beautiful walk. Again, be prepared for ticks, people aren’t making that up.

Beautiful, crystal clear water!

Purcell Mountain Trail #284
5-19-18

There are two trails to Purcell Mountain Lookout. Trail #285 (via FR63) and Trail #284 with access from Hwy 12. An access trail from Hwy 12 to trail #284 made it much easier to get to. This access trail was made within the last month or so. Yesterday I was finally able to hike it. Trail #284 is the longer of the two trails at 7.7 miles one-way. The shorter trail is 4.2 one-way and as TR’s indicate, the one accessed more, overgrown and hard to get to.

There is parking in a pullout across Hwy 12 or on the same side next to the access trail. The access trail is sandy and inconspicuously meets trail #284, so much so that I missed it on the way back. It is steep right from the get go. Trail #284 is just as steep and overgrown in the first miles. Actually the whole trail is overgrown but lower parts are worse.

There has been some recent maintenance as blowdowns are cut and one blowdown was routed around. This trail is all elevation gain, right from the start. Only one flat-ish spot around the 3100ft level makes a good resting point. From here it continues elevation gain but not as steep and starts resembling a regular trail. Pleasant actually.

First signs of snow were at 3700ft but only one spot. It was clear for the next .7 miles til after a trail junction marked by an old non-used barbed-wire gate. Right is the Purcell Mountain Trail, left goes toward a location unknown to me. After I got back, I found out it goes toward Grassy Mountain and not marked on any maps I could find. This is also the first signs of water on the trail.

Take the left junction a hundred feet for a nicely flowing stream, 4.3 miles in at 4011ft. Go right to stay on the Purcell Mountain trail. I got blocked by snow 200-300 feet after the junction. It was constant and I lost sight of the trail. I took the left junction to see where it went and turned around after it appeared to be going more down than up and away from where I wanted to go, Elevation, 4100ft. Elevation gain to this point, 3228ft in 4.9mi.

Going down was a much needed reward and fast! 1.75hrs total going down. 5hrs going up. It seemed there were more tripping…. hazards going down than up. From rocks to round twigs to small branches crossing the trail and rain and wet. It rained going down which made an overgrown trail soaking.

All and All this is an exciting and strenuous trail. It’s easy to get to. Leave early and plan on 15 miles RT. There are no views however… they come later (I hope). Only 1 flowing water source on the trail 4.3 miles in and this could be seasonal, but I suspect one of the many that feeds Hopkins Creek. Plan accordingly. I will certainly be doing this later I the year.

Holy cow that was amazing!! Definitely worth makeing it to the upper falls

Beautiful hike, pretty easy. I would suggest the completing the loop. You will not be right on the river for half of it if you do but the forest is beautiful!

5/16/18. The roads leading to this trailhead, and to various other locations in the Gifford Pinchot NP, are closed for ‘no snow management’.

Such a beautiful hike!!!

A beautiful hike! Easy trail to follow and not hard at all. Beautiful views of Lower, Middle, & Upper Falls. Be careful by the overhanging rock face part of the trail as it seems rocks fall often in this area. Other than that the trail is very safe.

View at the top was unbelievable. Hike was strenuous: it felt like we would never stop climbing

Wonderfully beautiful hike! The waterfall is incredibly majestic and powerful. Follows a creek and there are a few bridges.

Great uphill hike with an awesome view of the falls at the top! Lots of dogs and happy people on the trail. Highly recommended!

What a great hike! The falls were beautiful and I was the only person on the trail.

Wow! Was not expecting this waterfall as I made the final turn before it appeared through the trees. The photos don't even do it justice. Definitely worth the hike.

hiking
24 days ago

Our 2nd hike of the year. It was a beautiful hike that is well worth walk. There is high traffic, but friendly people all the up the trail.

hiking
26 days ago

Be aware of this road in spring! The first 6 miles of the road is all right, but once you’re on the side-road on the way to Silver Star, you’ll be second guessing yourself. Beware! This road is incredibly dangerous for most vehicles and persons not familiar with off-road driving.

Loved the falls in the spring the water is running. Great time awesome Falls.

hiking
28 days ago

We got poured on, which doesn't bother us. Trail was muddy but very manageable, but it is very narrow and steep drop offs in some places so be mindful when it's wet. I was surprised by the amount of people we saw. The last part of the road going in was pretty pot-holed so all the traffic was a bit of a shock. It's a spectacular hike though and the waterfall is huge. So loud sometimes you don't realize it until you get a bit away.

Awesome trail .....

Trail was well maintained and absolutely gorgeous. I’m new to hiking, and really out of shape but with breaks on the hills i managed to middle falls and back. Couple muddy spots but no issue getting through/around them. Absolutely worth the hard work to get there!

Everything about this hike was amazing. A bit busy for my taste but how can you resist. The falls were breathtaking!! Will highly recommend to everyone who I can.

Beautiful falls. Trail was nice.

So beautiful! Very much worth the rough drive in.

Perfect Sunday hike, a light rain and some muddy spots. But it is all well worth it when you get to the falls. Absolutely breathtaking! !

Great views, easy hike, beautiful roaring waterfall

If you hike the loop, eventually the trail splits. Someone has placed logs across the trail you should NOT take.

hiking
1 month ago

This is legitimately the most beautiful waterfall I have ever seen. We went up here yesterday and it was such a lovely day and it was early enough in the season that it wasn't near as crowded as the other time I came here last summer, which was perfect. Highly recommend this to everyone!!!

Beautiful!!!

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