Wednesday, August 3, 2011
On some days I'm looking for a hike to test the limits of my endurance. On others I'm looking to explore new places to see what hidden treasures I can find. On other days I just want a place where I can find some peace and quiet and relax.
Monday was one of the latter days.
It had been a long week and I wanted a hike that wouldn't wipe me out, and give me a nice place to wander.
I found just such at Gorton Creek near Wyeth.
The hike itself is short; maybe 2 miles roundtrip.
But it's full of opportunities to sit and be with some beautiful scenery and take a few photos.
The trail starts at the parking lot behind the Wyeth campground. The trail is one of one of three that branch off from the area. Follow the trail straight ahead past a wooden bridge which crosses the creek and links up with the Herman Creek trail to the west.
You can follow that trail, or Gorge Trail #411, which breaks to the left and eventually hits Mount Defiance, but today I was taking a shorter route.
The trail starts out fairly flat and is easy to follow. It runs right alongside Gorton Creek. The babbling of the creek quickly drowns out the traffic noise from I-84.
As you get farther up the trail the air starts to get cooler as the canopy closes overhead and the distant waterfalls take effect on the surrounding air.
Halfway up the trail you begin to see more of the creek and a small side trail leads down to a little beach. The spot is a perfect spot to sit and take in the sounds of creek and of the wind rustling through the trees above.
There are some great landscape pictures to be had here if you've got a camera with you. A few small rapids make for some nice photos. To get a neat angle, you can scoot out on a log overhanging the creek if you don't mind the possibility of getting a little wet in the cold, clear water.
Heading farther up the trail Gorton Creek Falls begins to come into view more clearly.
Scoot over or under a fallen tree and the falls are right in front of you. The triple falls are small, but certainly are beautiful.
They spill over a staggered rock face, and into a pool below, where a small rapid funnels the water down the creek.
You can get right up to the falls from either above or below; but beware of some loose trail here which sends rocks clattering into the creek.
Again, there are a variety of photo options here, depending on where you stand,
The trail ends just above the falls at a downed tree. At this point you can either head back to where you started or find a spot and stay awhile.
I hiked up the trail, stopped at the little beach I found earlier, sat down, and took it all in.
Getting there: Take I-84 west to Wyeth. Drive through the campground to the parking lot at the trailhead for Gorton Creek and Gorge Trails 400 and 411.
Cost: Northwest Forest Pass required.