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Ramona Falls Hike

From Portland Hikers Field Guide

Ramona Falls with bridge at base of falls (Jerry Adams)
Ramona Creek below the falls (bobcat)
Andesite cliffs above Ramona Creek (bobcat)
  • Start point: Ramona Falls TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Ramona Falls
  • Trail Log: Ramona Falls Hike/Log
  • Distance: 7.0 miles round trip
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Elevation gain: 1100 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Seasons: Late Spring to early Fall
    • (when the Sandy River footbridge is in place)
    • or possibly year round if you cross the Sandy without the bridge
  • Family Friendly: No (No bridge over the Sandy River as of August 2014)
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: Yes

Contents

Hike Description

The Ramona Falls Hike is a favorite summer destination for outdoor enthusiasts due to it easy trail, relative proximity to Portland, and it's beautiful climax at the wondrous Ramona Falls. This hike describes and out-and-back trail with a slightly longer loop option.

WARNING - DANGEROUS RIVER CROSSING (As of August 2014): The bridge over the Sandy River washed out after a thunderstorm that dropped about two inches of rain up above on the mountain, drowning someone that was crossing on it. If they ever replace the bridge, be careful and stay off it if waterflow is high, washing up onto any part of the bridge.

Start south passed the information board. The first mile goes along the south side of the Sandy River. Be careful because the Sandy River can undercut the trail causing it to collapse. You'll shortly come a junction with the Sandy River Trail. Go straight here.

At about mile 1 is a bridge across the Sandy river. The bridge is put in about May and removed about October each year. This bridge occasionally gets washed out during the hiking season. Contact the Mount Hood Info Center to see if it's in currently. In the picture at right, there isn't much water in the stream, and it would be easy to cross without the bridge, but it can become huge and has killed people in the past, so be careful.

At about mile 1.5 is the junction with the River Side Ramona Falls Trail (#797) which goes right and the Creek Side Ramona Falls Trail (also #797) which goes left. I assume you take the River Side Trail and come back on the Creek Side Trail, but you can take either. This is also the official PCT (northbound goes left, southbound goes right) but most PCT hikers take a route by Ramona Falls.

At mile 2.8 on the River Side Trail is the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail, which goes right. You can take this a short distance down to the Sandy River or continue up a long steep grade to Paradise Park and then further around the mountain (see Paradise Park from Ramona Falls Hike).

Assuming you stay left on the Ramona Falls Trail, at mile 3.3 you reach Ramona Falls at 3450' elevation.

If you're not tired yet, there is a much longer trail option described here: Yocum Ridge Hike

To get back to the trailhead you can return the way you came, but for a minimal additional effort you enjoy a some different scenery by returning via the the Creekside Ramona Falls Trail. This option is 0.3 mile longer but is shadier and hugs the babbling creek for the first mile.

Cross the footbridge at the base of the falls and turn to your left, following Ramona Creek. You may notice the Timberline Trail diverts off to the right (This used to be a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail until being rerouted to avoid crossing the Muddy Fork of the Sandy River). After about a 1/4 mile, watch to the for a huge rock wall to your right. These bluffs are at the base of Yocum Ridge to the northeast. If you weren't able to stop for lunch in the cool respite at Ramona Falls, you'll find plenty more opportunities on this pretty creek-side section. After about a mile your the trail veers away from the creek and heads north. Continue another 0.7 mile to the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail.

As well traveled and wide as the trail is in this next section, it is easy to take a wrong turn and end up miles from your destination, so read the signage carefully and keep tabs with your map.

At the aforementioned junction, the PCT goes off to the right (eventually crossing the Muddy Fork of the Sandy River and on up Bald Mountain). Instead, you will turn left, and continue on the Ramona Falls Trail. You'll pass another junction with a horse route and after about a half mile cross Ramona Creek again before merging back with the trail you came up on. Turn right here the way you came in.

Just after the merge you'll again cross the Sandy River, then head left about a mile back to the trailhead.

Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass required

Trip Reports

  • Search Trip Reports for Ramona

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Hiking Oregon's Geology, by Ellen Morris Bishop

More Links

Contributors

Portland Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.