Explore the most popular trail running 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.

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.

What a great hike! Steep and short. Still had a little snow , but nothing to bad. Great view at the top, we hiked through the cloud later and came out to sun and views !

Beautiful, crystal clear water!

Fun hike! Chinook Creek Falls was a beauty!

This is a good short hike just over 2 miles and small side trail to cool rock formation with forest and river view. this trail is a little steep!

Absolutely incredible views! Steeper than I expected in the beginning and tons of rocks to overcome but worth every single bit of the views. Phenomenal!

A splendid day hike or overnighter with hammocks. Beautifully graded trail.

Take the trail across the parking lot from the toilet, not the Tarbell trail next to the toilet. The Tarbell bridge is pretty much in the river and you can’t cross it so the trail is useless.
Hurray for poles!!! If you’ve got them, it’s definitely worth bringing them.
Take a right at the big rock pile when you get closer to the top.
Views of Mt. St. Helens, Rainier, Adams and Hood!
Also, if you’re coming from Portland and don’t have AWD and decent clearance you should opt for the route via Washougal.

Hiked 05/13/18, went up to see the sunset.

Great hike. We're first timers and though there are a couple steep areas (right near the parking lot, killer on the way back) it was a fantastic experience. Great camp areas; though most of them are at the end there are a few in the first 1-2 miles and some nicely hidden ones at the bottom of the first major waterfall if you take the trail downhill.

Road is paved all the way up but there are fairly regular washouts and bulges that will hit you hard if you don't watch out. Our Outback did great but anything too low might be dicey.

Overall amazing, just amazing!

Awesome trail with wonderful panoramic views. Climbed it for the first time yesterday (May 12th 2018).

backpacking
9 days ago

Hiked Packwood Lake yesterday for an overnighter. The parking lot was full. I had to park on the access road to the trailhead. At least 40 cars, maybe more. Most of the campsites were taken upto the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area. That's where I found my site. I did see quite a few people hiking beyond that. There was NO SNOW ON THE TRAIL. Smooth sailing. Everyone should experience an overnight at Packwood Lake. Beautiful!

Fun hike. Super steep. The distance can fool you.

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

About 10 miles round-trip. With only a light backpack, and stops for photos on the way, the hike was 2-2.5 hours up, and 1-1.5 down. Except for one or two steep parts that aren't exceedingly long, the hike is a gradual uphill that most won't struggle with. If you're thinking of turning back early, don't. The views get better and better until you're actually at the Observatory. Highly recommend.

The Good: The trail was a decent first hike of the season. Great weather provided for a great 360 degree view of tge countryside. Would do it again with a friend.

The Bad: Snow and some exposure

The Ugly: I tried a variant where I attempted to loop in Sturgeon Rock and come back via the Tarbell Trail. At this time, DO NOT do this as the lower Tarbell trail is closed to logging.

This is an amazing hike! Can’t recommend it enough :)

Hard as hell for a beginner but worth it

When is it open??? I tried many times to come here but its always closed

2018 - May 7

Great hike and pretty physical.

2nd half of trail was still compact snow. Should be melted in 3 weeks give or take. Bring hiking poles.

View was 5/5 - equidistant to St.H/hoot/Adams with great views

Trail was pretty rocky at times, heading back down wasn’t a fun hike for me so 4/5 rating seems schwifty

Beautiful hike and pretty easy

hiking
17 days ago

Such an awesome trail! Don’t bring anyone that’s afraid of heights, there’s a few sketchy sections, but overall not bad. Basically no snow, there’s maybe a section of 10ft at the top that’s melting away. A-mazing views and sun for days today 5/5/18

hiking
23 days ago

This hike is a good workout. It’s relatively short, but steep at times. View at the top is nice (overlooking the river and Dog Mountain) and the summit is a great place to relax.

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.

Beautiful views from the top and awesome rock formations!

hiking
27 days ago

Quick, easy hike with rewarding views at the top! The hike down is the hardest part due to steepness coupled with loose rock in certain sections.

Awesome trail .....

hiking
28 days ago

This was my first time here and I did the trail clockwise, starting at the southern entrance near the signage, and wish I had gone the other way! I still had a lovely time but felt my views would have been better going counter clockwise.

Either way - lovely hike, excellent views and well maintained trail. A little muddy in spots and some bigger branches but all easy to get around.

I started at 6AM and it was very windy in some of the more exposed spots of the trail. Was the only car in the lot when I began and there were four others by the time I finished around 730.

hiking
29 days ago

Moderately easy hike with gradual elevation gain, great views of crater/blast-zone, in an other-worldly setting. the lack of trees and piles of rock and ash resemble the surface of the moon. very cool for a day hike. trail is in great condition.

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