Indian Point Loop Hike
From Portland Hikers Field Guide
- Start point: Herman Creek Trailhead
- End point: Indian Point
- Trail Log: Trail Log
- Hike Type: loop
- Distance: 7.6 miles (round trip)
- Elevation gain: 2800 feet
- Difficulty: "difficult" is not in the list of possible values (Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Very Difficult) for this property.
- Seasons: Year round
- Backpackable: Yes
Herman Creek is Eagle Creek's ugly, unpopular sister. Herman Creek dumps into the Columbia River a few miles east of Eagle Creek. The Herman Creek Trail, like the Eagle Creek Trail, gradually gains elevation, eventually getting to Wahtum Lake, and there is a network of other trails connecting to the main trail. Unlike Eagle Creek, (the ugly part) there are few waterfalls and the trails are mostly through forest with few views. Also, (the unpopular part) there aren't nearly as many people on the Herman Creek Trail (which is a good thing).
This hike is entirely on your typical Columbia Gorge trails, well graded and well maintained, with several exceptions as mentioned.
This hike is a good winter hike because of the low elevation, but be careful of blow-downs and washouts across the trail.
Start out from the trailhead on the Herman Creek Trail (#406), the only trail going out of the trailhead, at 240'. The topozone map doesn't show this trailhead. It shows the trail starting near the frontage road at the freeway.
The trail starts out a bit steeply. There is a lot of freeway noise.
At mile 0.3 (500') is a junction with the Herman Bridge Trail. It's about 1/2 mile and 200' down to Herman Bridge, not too much happening here. It's another 1/2 mile 500' up to the Pacific Crest Trail.
At about mile 0.5 on the Herman Creek Trail, it starts to level out a bit and from here the freeway noise is much reduced. There's an old logging road that intersects the trail and an unmaintained trail that goes down, but it's easy to stay on the main trail.
At mile 1.2 (1000') the trail reaches Herman Camp and the junction with the Gorge Trail #400 (which goes hard left - North) and the Gorton Creek Trail #408 (which goes left - East). The Herman Creek continues straight (Southeast) on an old logging road. This hike goes onto the Gorton Creek Trail and comes back on the Herman Creek Trail.
There is a nondescript campsite at Herman Camp with enough room for many tents. According to the map, there is a spring a little to the southwest of the junction.
Take the Gorton Creek Trail, which gradually gains elevation, crosses a few small seasonal streams, and has a few switchbacks.
At mile 3.8 (2750') is the junction with the Ridge Cutoff Trail (#437). There are a few views towards the Columbia River Gorge.
If you're adventurous (or foolish?), take the short side trip to Indian Point, go another 100 yards on the Gorton Creek Trail to the unmarked trail going down to the left. Beware that this trail gets dangerous as it goes along with a narrow trail, steep drop-offs on both sides, no railings, and no warning signs. If you fell it would almost certainly be fatal.
The trail is about 1/4 mile. There is a flat open area where you could take a break. You get great views of Indian Point and the gorge.
Don't continue on the trail from here, which becomes extremely dangerous, narrow, with loose rocks, to the base of the point. Don't even think of climbing Indian Point because of the exposure and loose rocks. When you're done go back to the Ridge Cutoff junction. The Herman Creek to Indian Point Hike is a nice hike even if you skip this side trip.
If you're looking for a campsite, Deadwood Camp is 0.8 miles from the Ridge Cutoff junction on the Gorton Creek Trail. This makes a good winter campsite. There is a good year-round drinking water stream there.
From the Gorton Creek-Ridge Cutoff Trail Junction, follow the Ridge Cutoff Trail 0.8 mile to the Nick Eaton Trail (3050'). This is at mile 4.6 on the loop.
A short side trip from here is up to Peak 3152.
From the Nick Eaton-Ridge Cutoff Trail junction, follow the Nick Eaton Trail right (down) about 1/2 mile to a nice viewpoint. You can see west down the Columbia Gorge and south to some ridges. Continue down the Nick Eaton Trail to the junction with the Herman Creek Trail at mile 6.2 on the loop.
It's 0.2 miles down the Herman Creek Trail to the Herman Camp, and 1.2 miles back to the trailhead for 7.6 miles total.
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Related Discussions / Q&A
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Guidebooks that cover this hike
- Day Hike! Columbia Gorge, by Seabury Blair, Jr.
- 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Portland, by Paul Gerald
- Afoot and Afield Portland/Vancouver, by Douglas Lorain
- 35 Hiking Trails, Columbia River Gorge, by Don & Roberta Lowe
- Columbia River Gorge, 42 Scenic Hikes, by Don & Roberta Lowe
- Hiking the Columbia River Gorge - 1st and 2nd Editions, by Russ Schneider
- 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon - 3rd Edition, by William L Sullivan