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60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland: Including the Coast, Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, and the Santiam River Paperback – May 15, 2018

4.5 out of 5 stars 168 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul Gerald has written professionally for newspapers, magazines and websites for more than 30 years. After growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, and graduating from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, he moved to Portland in 1996 to be closer to the mountains and ocean. Since then, he has written hundreds of freelance articles and four books in addition to this one: Peaceful Places: Portland, Day and Section Hikes: Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon, Best Tent Camping: Oregon, and Breakfast in Bridgetown: The Definitive Guide to Portland’s Favorite Meal.

Paul’s hiking life started at the age of 12, when he went to a summer camp in the Absaroka Mountains of Wyoming. He’s hiked in the Rocky Mountains from New Mexico to Montana and in Appalachia, Alaska, Argentina, Italy, the UK, and Nepal. He has led hikes, outings, and tours, both domestic and international, for Evergreen Escapes of Portland, Embark Exploration Co. (a Portland-based adventure-travel company), and the Mazamas mountaineering club. He is also on the board of Trailkeepers of Oregon and has worked as a driver for Radio Cab Company.

His latest passion is English soccer; he’s writing and publishing a travel and cultural guide called An American’s Guide to Soccer in England, which is great fun except when the research conflicts with seeing his beloved Portland Timbers.

Paul enjoys meeting people who use his books out on the trails; he’s also grateful that none of them have appeared to be lost or angry. He does hope, however, that any feedback will be directed to him, care of the publisher, or to paulgerald.com, facebook.com/hikerpaul, or twitter.com/60hikesportland. And he hopes people will continue to enjoy and benefit from the fruits of his labor―if hiking and writing can truly be called labor.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

ROARING RIVER WILDERNESS

THIS HIKE REQUIRES an extended drive to a long, up-and-down forested loop, but it comprises six lakes, a flower-filled meadow, late-summer huckleberries, views of five Cascades volcanoes, and a beautiful forest that you may have largely to yourself. Lovely shorter options exist, but if you want to do the whole thing, it’s a long day, so consider backpacking or car-camping at Hideaway Lake, near the trailhead.

DISTANCE & CONFIGURATION: 1.4-mile out-and-back to Shellrock Lake, 5-mile out-and-back to Rock Lakes, 12.6-mile balloon for the whole thing
DIFFICULTY: Easy to Shellrock, moderate to Rock Lakes, strenuous for the whole loop
SCENERY: Peaceful old-growth forest, several lakes, big meadow, nice viewpoint
EXPOSURE: Shady most of the way, with a few open spots
TRAFFIC: Moderate on summer weekends, light otherwise
TRAIL SURFACE: Packed dirt with roots and rocks
HIKING TIME: 1 hour to Shellrock Lake, 3 hours to Rock Lakes, 8 hours for the whole loop
ELEVATION CHANGE: 2,200'
SEASON: July–October
BEST TIME: August and September
BACKPACKING OPTIONS: Excellent sites on the shore of 3 lakes
DRIVING DISTANCE: 70 miles (2 hours, 20 minutes) from Pioneer Courthouse Square
ACCESS: No fees or permits required
MAPS: Green Trails Map 492 (Fish Creek Mountain) and Map 493 (High Rock)
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: No
FACILITIES: Nearby at Hideaway Lake Campground; none at trailhead. Water on trail should be treated.
LOCATION: Shellrock Lake Trailhead on Forest Service Road (FR) 5830, 42 miles southeast of Estacada, OR
CONTACT: Clackamas River Ranger District, 503-630-6861, www.fs.usda.gov/mthood

DESCRIPTION

It used to be that you could drive to Frazier Turnaround, knocking some 3.6 miles off this hike. And technically, you still can. But I can no longer, in good conscience, send people down this road―I’ve been cursed for doing so―and besides, hiking in this new way adds another lake and more lovely forest to the experience.

Consider camping at Hideaway Lake before you do this hike; start early in the morning to beat the crowds, and you can go for a swim when you get back in the heat of the afternoon. Although this loop never goes below 4,000 feet or above 5,000 feet, its cumulative elevation gain is more than 2,000 feet.

At the trailhead for Shellrock Lake Trail #700, you may at first wonder why you’re here. Hiking 0.5 mile through a clear-cut doesn’t exactly scream “wilderness,” but there are plenty of flowers, and at least the trail is nearly flat. The reward for your patience is big, beautiful Shellrock Lake, with campsites galore and stocked trout―a fine, easy destination if you have kids or don’t care to put in the miles.

To keep going, walk along the right side of the lake, and climb the hill, following a sign for Frazier Turnaround. It gets rocky in places, and mildly steep, until 1 mile past the lake, where you’ll hit Grouse Point Trail #517. Turn right (downhill) here, and in a moment you’ll arrive at Frazier Turnaround, the old trailhead.

Look for Serene Lake Trail #512 going downhill and to the left, and follow it 0.8 mile down to a junction. The loop keeps going here, but you should definitely go left a flat 0.25 mile to Middle Rock Lake, which has a few nice campsites. Turn right when you get to the lake, cross the outlet creek, and walk to the far end of the lake. Then follow a short trail up the hill to Upper Rock Lake, the smallest of the three and host to a dreamy private campsite. That trail gets a little brushy and can be tough to follow in early summer. The side trip to Middle and Upper Rock Lakes adds just over a mile to your day.

From the main trail, keep going the way you were headed, and in a couple hundred yards you’ll come to a trail leading right, to Lower Rock Lake, which has one inferior campsite. Lower and Middle Rock Lakes are stocked with trout, by the way, so if you’re into fishing, get a license and bring your rod. If you have small kids or you feel done for the day, you’re now 3 miles from your car. But for an even nicer lake, and then some, keep going.

You’ll put in another 0.8 mile going downhill then turn up (steeply at times) for most of a mile to gain the top of a ridge, thick with bear grass. Just over the top of the hill (now 4.3 miles from the trailhead), you’ll come to Serene Lake and a signed trail leading left to a sunny campsite on the shore. Serene Lake is just what its name implies; anglers pull 15-inch trout from its deep, cold, clear water, and the same boulders, grassy shallows, downed trees, and thickly vegetated shoreline that hide the fish also make for outstanding scenery. This is the finest lake of the loop. Follow the right-hand shoreline to continue our hike.

If you’re camping, you can choose from several excellent spots, one that in 2013 had an Adirondack chair and table at the trail junction (who put them there?); one at the far end on a point that sticks out into the lake; and another on the left side. There’s also a huge boulder about 100 yards along the shoreline past the junction―an awesome spot to jump into the (very cold) lake. A decent trail circles the lake, but you’ll have to cross a couple of rockslides to make the full circuit.

Beyond Serene Lake, the trail climbs about 600 feet in less than a mile to the top of a ridge and a junction with Grouse Point Trail #517. Turn left here, climb 200 more feet, and in 0.7 mile you’ll reach a clear-cut that was put in for helicopters to drop off firefighters―thankfully it hasn’t been needed for a while. A cliff affords a sublime view back down to Serene Lake and out to Mounts St. Helens, Rainier, Adams, and Hood. The two bare peaks to the right are the Signal Buttes. Also, as you look north toward Mount Hood, you’re seeing an area of about 8 miles, as the crow flies, with only one road and two trails to break it up.

The trail now drops 700 feet in a mile, and when you get to the flower-filled Cache Meadow, you’ll find an intersection. The right-hand trail leads out to another road; another heads into the meadow, where you can see the lily-filled Cache Lake to the left. To continue the loop, stay on the main trail, keeping the meadow on your right, and go 200 yards to the site of an old shelter. From here, you can cross the seasonal creek on your right and go 0.2 mile to Cripple Creek Lake, yet another mountain beauty with a couple of campsites.

A minute past the shelter site, turn left to stay on Grouse Point Trail #517, and take it uphill 1 mile (you’ll get all of that 700 feet back) until you come to an abandoned road. Keep heading up, and in just under a mile you’ll be back at the trail leading down to Shellrock Lake and your car. Just keep an eye out, in the clear areas along the road, for a view back to Mount Jefferson. That makes this a six-lake, five-volcano hike.

GPS TRAILHEAD COORDINATES N45° 7.627' W121° 58.238'

DIRECTIONS Take OR 224 from Portland, traveling 44 miles southeast of I-205, through the town of Estacada, to the ranger station at Ripplebrook. Half a mile past the ranger station, turn left onto FR 57. After 6.8 miles, turn left onto FR 58. Drive 3 miles, then turn left onto FR 5830 and follow it 5.7 miles, staying left at one unsigned junction, to the Shellrock Lake Trailhead, on the right just past Hideaway Lake Campground.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Menasha Ridge Press; 6th edition (May 15, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 328 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1634040848
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1634040846
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.2 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168 ratings

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Paul Gerald grew up in Memphis and went to school at SMU in the middle of the football scandal there. His writing career began in the sports department of the much-missed Dallas Times Herald. He later worked for the Memphis Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Flyer before setting out as a freelancer. Since then, he has written some 300 travel articles for the Flyer, and along the way his work has also appeared in Northwest Airlines’ WorldTraveler, as well as Portland’s Willamette Week and The Oregonian.

He’s also worked in and around landscaping, restaurants, public relations, social work, an amusement park, Alaskan fishing boats, the YMCA, corporate marketing, and as a package handler for FedEx. Such is the life of a writer who really, really wants to avoid having a regular job.

Paul’s hiking life started at age 12, when he went to a summer camp in the Absoraka Mountains of Wyoming. He became a trail and road hound at that point, and his hometown of Memphis never looked the same. He’s hiked in the Rocky Mountains from New Mexico to Montana, as well as in Appalachia, Alaska, Nepal, and Argentina. In 1996 he moved to Portland to be close to the ocean, the mountains, the big trees, and the coffee shops.

His first book was 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Portland; the first edition came out in 2001 and the Fourth in 2010. His second was Day and Overnight Hikes: Oregon’s Pacific Crest Trail, also published by Menasha Ridge Press in 2007. And in 2009 he revised Best Tent Camping: Oregon for Menasha Ridge.

He’s even become his own publisher, putting out Breakfast in Bridgetown: The Definitive Guide to Portland’s Favorite Meal in 2008, under the name Bacon and Eggs Press. The "Second Serving" of that book came out in 2010.

He has greatly enjoyed meeting people using his books out on the trails; he’s also grateful that none of them appeared to be lost or angry. He does hope, however, that any feedback will be directed to him at www.paulgerald.com. And he hopes people will continue to enjoy and benefit from the fruits of his labor -- that is, if hiking, eating and writing can truly be called labor.

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