A couple of weeks ago, my son and I took a trip to Larch Mountain. I hadn’t been in years. He didn’t remember going there ever. You do need a park pass to park in the parking lot. It’ll cost you $5. I didn’t realize that until I was all the way up there. A lot of the places I hike at in Oregon are free. I was not dressed in hiking boots or tennis shoes or even comfortable sandals. Luckily, it isn’t a long hike to get to Sherrard Point.
In early summer, there are lots of wildflowers along the path. There are stairs to climb to get to the top, so if you can’t do stairs, you may want to sit this one out, even though it is only a short hike.
The view from the top is worth it – even if you’re wearing uncomfortable dress sandals! You can see Mt St Helens, Mt Adams, Mt Hood, and Mt Jefferson and on a good day, Mt Rainier. Mt Rainier was hiding in the clouds the day we went, but we could see the other 4 mountains quite clearly.
Sherrard Point used to be a fire observatory before it was converted into a fenced in observation lookout at the top of the path. Larch Mountain is an extinct volcano that hasn’t been active in over 1.4 million years. You can hike from Multnomah Falls all the way up to Larch Mountain if you’re up to doing a pretty long hike. We chose to just walk up the 0.3 mile long path from the parking lot to the view point and then back down again. The road to the upper trail head is closed during the winter months so make sure to go in the spring, summer or fall.
Stairs to Larch Mountain Lookout Point
A happy tree stump along the trail
Mt. St. Helens
Not sure what I was thinking Gresham Butte was like when I decided to head up there with my son after church a couple of Sundays ago. I guess I was thinking it was just an overlook of the city and mountains nearby. Ha! There was an overlook area where you could look out across the Columbia River towards Washington and see Mt. St. Helens in the distance, but really, there is a big wilderness area you can hike through as well.
So here I was dressed in cutesy little patent leather loafers rather than hiking boots or tennis shoes as pictured in my last post, totally unprepared for a small city hike. I found myself walking slightly on my tip toes part of the way up the path when my shoes started rubbing on my heels. …At least I was wearing flats.
I had my good camera with me, but no additional lenses and was quite disappointed I couldn’t capture the woodpeckers we saw along the way in my photos because I didn’t have a telephoto lens with me.
At the top, there were just some funny tree stumps and a water tower. I was feeling disappointed at that, too. But, my son had been on this hike before and told me that if you took the path to the left, you’d run into an old bus. So, off we went. And, the old bus was not a disappointment! It looked like an old food cart with a side open window. I thought it could have been a fine craft services cart back in it’s hey day. (For those of you not familiar with that term. On a set, they always have a craft services area set up somewhere. Sadly, there are never any crafts at these carts. But – there are always snacks and drinks for the extras and crew!)
I would definitely do this hike again. In tennis shoes. Just for the awesome old bus on the path out in the middle of nowhere. I’m surprised I live so close to it and have never hiked on this trail before. Yeah to adventures close to home!
The path to adventure at Gresham Butte
Funny old tree
Rusty old bus
Wild flowers with a dandelion companion