Portland Hiking News, Conditions and Trips: Thanksgiving Weekend

Well, it’s been quite a while since I posted news and conditions for the the Portland hiking scene. Let’s get to it.

The Cape Horn Loop is one of the best gorge hikes and fall colors hikes near Portland.
Cape Horn is nice any time of year.

I guess the main thing is the weather, which continues to not dump on us too much. The forecast for this weekend, even at Government Camp, looks good until Saturday night. Same for Portland, with highs in the 50s!

UPDATE: Apparently it could really turn grim Saturday night. As in, snow in town on Sunday?

So, where to go hiking near Portland this weekend?

portland hikes table rock
Won’t be too long ….

First, remember that you’ll probably need a Sno-Park pass for many places.

I’ve been watching the snow level thread on PortlandHikers.org, as well as the trip reports. Here is a sampling of ideas:

You could always go wandering around above Catherine Creek.
You could always go wandering around above Catherine Creek.

One thing you can’t do anymore, probably til mid-June, is drive to Larch Mountain. That’s because Larch Mt. Road is closed.

There is a new trail we can hike, though — and it should be clear almost all winter. The Historic Columbia River Highway Trail has a new section, near Bonneville Dam. It’s only 1.6 miles long, but includes one new bridge and one from 1915, plus, as Terry Richard in the Oregonian points out, cyclists can now ride from Troutdale to Cascade Locks without having to deal with I-84. That’s 34 miles; who wants to hike it?

The Salmonberry River is a unique Oregon Coast Range hike.
Along the Salmonberry River hike.

Of course, it’s going to pour sooner or later, so here’s a list of the best Portland hikes in the rain. Not definitive, but a good start. You could also go check out some of the places I’ve been recently, including:

Or you can just say, Screw it, and go tubing at Ski Bowl!

And finally, the Forest Service has announced new digital maps for smart phones. I haven’t checked them out lately. Have you? Post a comment below to let us know how they work — or don’t.

Upcoming Portland Group Hikes

  • Mazamas have a range of hikes on Thanksgiving Day, including a snowshoe to Mirror Lake and hikes to Latourel Falls and Leif Ericson Drive in Forest Park. Over the weekend they are headed to several places in the Gorge.
  • The Adventurous Young Mazamas (roughly under 40, but they don’t check ID!) are headed to Lewis River on Saturday and Deschutes River next weekened. They also have a really fun Winter Weekend at the Mazamas Lodge January 24-26.
  • Trails Club has a “Meet-n-Deet” on Saturday December 7.
  • Sierra Club is snowshoeing near the Twin Lakes on Thanksgiving Day, then feasting at Mazamas Lodge.
  • The Nordic Club is starting to gear up for the winter, with an “easy ski” on Friday, location to be determined.
  • Friends of the Gorge seems to have shut down their hiking ops until January.
  • Mount St. Helens Institute will start snowshoes trips in January.
  • Trailkeepers of Oregon is joining the PortlandHikers.org “Meet-n-Deet” meetup on December 7.
  • And of course there are about a dozen local hiking-related groups on Meetup.com. Search for them here and join one.

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I don’t just hike around Portland, though: I also lead trips to Europe, and I’m the Portland Breakfast Guy. Check out BreakfastinBridgetown.com.