With many trails still closed due to the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire, it has been tough to find good day hikes in the Columbia Gorge. However, it has forced me to explore some areas I’ve never ventured and revisit old trails to travel a different direction. Today was the latter.
Returning to the Herman Creek Trail system, I hiked to Nick Eaton Falls for a short, easy stroll between stormy showers. Prior to today, I had hiked this area up to Indian Point as one of my many training hikes for Everest Base Camp, but I’d never taken this particular split.
A part of the Mark O Hatfield Wilderness, Herman Creek Trail explores the largest surviving forest of old growth fir, cedar, and hemlock in the Columbia Gorge. While parts of the forest was scorched by the fire, with the base of many of the trees blackened, small pockets are still vibrant with lush ferns and moss. Tucked in one of these corners, Nick Eaton Falls cascades down a battlement of basalt.
Distance: 4.2 miles round trip
Trailhead: Herman Creek Trailhead
Parking: There is room for about 20 cars at the trailhead. If the the lot if full, you can park down on the frontage road. Just make sure you are fully off the side of the highway. Do not park along the road up to the trailhead.
Getting there: From Portland, travel east on I-84 for approximately 45 minutes. Take exit 44 for Cascade Locks and Stevenson. From Hood River, travel west on I-84 for approximately 20 minutes. Take exit 47 for Forest Ln/Herman Cr.
Pass: Northwest Forest Service Pass required