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Columbia River via Herman Creek Trail #406

based on 31 tracks & routes #11 hike out of 65 in
7.5 mi
Distance
3 hrs 25 min
Time
terrain
1,345 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

Herman Creek offers a lengthy but low-level hike in the Gorge that is suitable for day trips or overnight backpacking, even in the dark, wet winter months. It is an excellent rainy day hike with limited opportunities for broad views. The trail features seasonal waterfalls at the numerous stream crossings, providing a scenic break. While the hike does not offer much visibility of Herman Creek itself, reaching the East Fork of Herman Creek near Cedar Swamp Camp is a worthwhile goal.

The trail is characterized by large old-growth Douglas-firs and western red-cedars, particularly in the upper sections. It also boasts a diverse array of wildflowers during the spring and summer months. The area was significantly affected by the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire, with the first five and a half miles of the trail showcasing the aftermath of the blaze. While there were only a few instances of crown fire along the trail, most of the ground cover was burned and is now regenerating.

The Herman Creek Trail's original plans, dating back to 1913, are still preserved by the Mt. Hood National Forest. Constructed around 1915, it was one of the few primary trails at the time, designed with a grade of less than 12%.

Along the Herman Creek Trail, there are several destinations where hikers can choose to turn around if they do not wish to hike the entire length to the East Fork of Herman Creek. These destinations include

Nick Eaton Falls (4.2 miles round-trip),
Casey Creek Camp (7.2 miles round-trip),
Herman Creek Forks (7.8 miles round-trip),
Slide Creek Falls (10.0 miles round-trip),
Whisky Creek (11.6 miles round-trip),
Cedar Swamp Camp (15.0 miles round-trip).

Getting Started

Take I-84 east from Portland to Exit 44 for Cascade Locks and Stevenson.

After exiting, keep driving east along Wa Na Pa Street through Cascade Locks to pass under the freeway and reach a Stop sign.

Keep straight here for the Oxbow Fish Hatchery and Herman Creek, and go 1.7 miles on Frontage Road.

Turn right onto FR Spur 215 for the Herman Creek Campground, and follow the road around past the decommissioned horse camp for 0.4 miles to arrive at the trailhead.



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