One of the greatest viewpoints in the Portland area remains unknown to most people who live here. I am talking about Larch Mountain and specifically Sherrard Point. Still don’t know what I am talking about. Well this is something you will want to discover as soon as the road reopens after the winter shutdown.
Larch Mountain is an extinct volcano with its peak at 4055 feet. There is a hiking trail that goes from here to Multnomah Falls covering about 7 miles and a 4000 foot elevation change. I will talk about that hike in another blog, but to enjoy this view you don’t have to hike, well except for a ¼ mile from the parking lot to the point itself. Admittedly there are a few steps and it is fairly steep, but everyone can do this and the views as so well worth it.
The road to the summit is closed from sometime in November and reopens when they are able to clear the road again and this can vary anywhere from March to July. You get there by traveling along the Historic Columbia Gorge Highway east of Corbett. It is a 16 mile drive from there and you need to keep a look out for a fork in the road that is signposted for Larch Mountain on the right. There will be a sign that tells you if the road is open or not. If you get to Crown Point, you have gone too far and missed the junction. The drive is very pleasant, but do look out for the bikes that love to climb this road, and even more so come down at incredible speeds.
If the road is still closed, you can probably get to the 10 mile marker and if you feel up to it, a 4.5 mile hike will get you to the top.
Wait for a clear day and you will have spectacular sights of Mt Hood, Adams, St Helen’s, Rainier, Jefferson and lots of other minor peaks that make up the Cascades. For photographers, you will need a circular polarizer to take shots up here so that you can minimize haze/glare, intensify the colors and deepen the color of the sky.
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Brought to you by Brian Bailey
** Latest update about the road opening. It appears as if it will be mid to late June before they open the road this year!
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