Larch Mountain Crater Hike - Exploring My Life

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Larch Mountain Crater Hike

Larch Mountain Crater Hike in Columbia Gorge

Larch Mountain is second only to Mount Hood on the Portland skyline. It's distinctive profile can be seen from the entire city. What's less known is that like Mt. Hood, Larch Mountain is a volcanic peak with a crater of its own, albeit very old and eroded. The original hard rock surface of the crater has been eroded into soil that now supports forests and flowery meadows.
Larch Mountain Columbia River Gorge
Larch Mountain Trail TR441
Larch Mountain Columbia Gorge trail
This hike starts at the Larch Mountain Trailhead. The Larch Mountain Trail, #441, starts at the southwest corner of the parking lot. This section is one of the few Columbia Gorge trails open to mountain bikes, although it doesn't seem to see a lot of use. You'll start by passing through an old, mostly abandoned campground. The trail then drops down somewhat steeply through a dense, view blocking forest. You'll cross a closed road and a large campsite. Two miles down, you'll turn right on to the Multnomah Creek Way Trail #444.

The path continues dropping down to a log bridge over Multnomah Creek 2/10 of a mile from the trail junction. Just across the bridge, you'll find Multnomah Creek Spur Trail #446. Stay to the right and continue on Trail #444 traveling upstream. The trail, now deep in the old crater, passes through a marshy meadow filled with shooting stars and marsh marigolds in the spring. This was once a lake, but centuries of natural sediments have filled it. Sherrard Point towers over this area. The trail switchbacks up the crater wall to an old logging railroad grade. The trail follows the relatively level abandoned grade for about a mile to a junction with Oneonta Trail #424.
Columbia Gorge trails - Larch Mountain
Larch Mountain hike in Columbia River Gorge
Turn right here and head up Trail #424 for almost a mile to Larch Mountain Road. Turn right and hike up the road for 3/10 of a mile to your car
·         Start point: Larch Mountain Trailhead
·         Trail Log: Trail Log
·         Distance: 6.9 miles loop
·         Elevation gain: 1476 feet
·         Difficulty: Moderate

Sherrard Point View Point: Sherrard Point is the exposed volcanic conduit on the top of Larch Mountain. Once the site of a fire lookout, the pinnacle now hosts a fenced observation platform with views of five major volcanic peaks (Rainier, Adams, St Helens, Hood and Jefferson) as well as the Columbia River and scores of lesser summits. It's reachable via a 0.3 mile long paved path (with stairs) or as the climax of a 7.2 mile trek up from the Columbia River at Multnomah Falls.
Sherrard Point Hike Trail
Sherrard View Point in Larch Mountain
Sherrard Point in Larch Mountain
Larch Mountain Hiking Team

Larch Mountain Crater Loop Trail
This paved trail starts at the Larch Mountain Picnic Area and leads to the scenic, ancient volcanic summit of Larch Mountain. There are 100 steps in the trail leading up to a mountain-identifier viewpoint.

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