Indian Point Loop via Gorton Creek Trail #408
The Indian Point loop is a scenic hike featuring a memorable viewpoint. The loop can be hiked in either direction, with the Gorton Creek Trail chosen for the ascent and the steep Nick Eaton Trail for the descent. Although the area was affected by the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire, much of the loop still retains a relatively intact forest canopy, with the undergrowth regenerating. The hike offers diverse wildflower blooms during the spring and summer seasons. Indian Point itself is a basalt spire on a cliff's edge, providing impressive views. The hike is feasible throughout the year except during heavy snowfall.
The loop includes three trails named after early locals: James H. Herman, Edward Gorton, and Nick Eaton. The trail begins with switchbacks and traverses through shaded maple, hemlock, and Douglas-fir woods. As the trail enters the Eagle Creek Fire area, the burned understory can be observed, while the conifer canopy remains mostly intact. The Gorton Creek Trail within the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness rises steeply, offering views of the Columbia River through the burned trees. The trail passes through gullies with large Douglas-firs and traverses old-growth areas. At the Gorton Creek-Indian Point-Ridge Cutoff Trail Junction, hikers can take the steep Indian Point Trail to the viewpoint, exercising caution due to the steepness.
Returning to the junction, the Ridge Cutoff Trail descends steeply for a short distance before leveling off for the rest of the way to the Nick Eaton-Ridge Cutoff Trail Junction. From there, the trail follows the west side of a rocky knoll, providing views of flowering plants that have regrown since the fire. Hikers will encounter switchbacks through meadows, offering vistas of Herman Creek's forks and Mount Hood. The trail descends through a shady canopy, passing more switchbacks and massive Douglas-firs. Finally, the hike rejoins the crowds at the Herman Creek-Nick Eaton Trail Junction and returns to the trailhead, passing Herman Camp along the way.
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.
This is a tough hike, only take experienced hiking children.
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