Have you wanted to hike the Wind Mountain Trail recently? One of the best kept secrets along the Washington Gorge, this 2.5 mile roundtrip hike packs a mighty punch.
On this particular day, the hike was true to its secret, coming across a few scattered hikers along the way.
In this post, I will provide helpful information to make this hike even more enjoyable!
Let’s take a look!
Getting To The Trailhead
The trail can be accessed along Highway 14 along the Washington side of the Gorge. We were coming from Portland, so the trailhead was just over an hour away from our house. Simply setting your GPS to Wind Mountain Trailhead should get you there, or click here. The trailhead is off Girl Scout Road, aptly named as its sits next to Girl Scout Camp. From the parking lot (if we can call it that), you’ll walk down the access road about 1/4 mile to reach the trail head. Be careful not to miss it as there is little signage anywhere marking the trail. The trail is totally dog friendly so bring your furry friend along with you!
Getting To The Top
This hike sure does pack a punch and quickly! Once at the trailhead, you’ve got 1.25 miles to the top and over 1000 feet of climbing! The trail starts with a fair amount of difficulty which requires a good pair of trail shoes with traction. We hiked just after the rain storm so the extra traction was a welcomed bonus. The trail itself is quite narrow so it’s relative secrecy helps you out here. Luckily for us, I think the weather combined with a holiday weekend helped us avoid large crowds. We went on a pretty typical Pacific Northwest Fall day, with overcast skies and temperatures in the 50’s.
On the way up, you’ll see plenty of local flora and fauna which provide a nice canopy and backdrop. With any hike, make sure you pack well and include any food and water you may need along the way. Even though this hike is relatively short, the elevation gain makes it more challenging than you’d think. We packed a few Bobo’s bars and Nalgene water bottles and we were just fine. Also, make sure to wear the appropriate gear, such as good hiking shoes, pants, high socks, moisture wicking shirt, and light rain coat. On this day, I was outfitted with Saucony trail shoes, Mountain Hardwear light rain jacket, and Bombas socks.
The path widens as you continue up, continuing its pattern of switchbacks and steep inclines. There are various technical sections which requires walking over larger rocks. If you’re not careful, you can easily sprain an ankle. Luckily, I know a pretty good Physical Therapist 🙂 Once at the top, you’ll come across a sign which reads “Spirit Quest”, which describes the history of the land and those who inhabited it. You can read a pretty good description here.
Unfortunately for us, on this day the fog did not cooperate and blocked our view of the Gorge. We have previously done this hike when the weather was more cooperative and the view is AMAZING! Make sure to take plenty of pictures to soak in all of its beauty. I typically enjoy a celebratory drink at the top of any hike. However, on this day, that waited until the parking lot after we had finished. Once you’ve had enough at the top, just follow the same route to the bottom of the trailhead and back to your car. Due to its steepness, be careful heading back down to avoid slips and falls.
I hope this post provided some insight to how great a hike Wind Mountain trail is. Check out my Strava for a more accurate distance and elevation profile. For what it is, I don’t think there’s a better kept secret in terms of hiking along the Washington Gorge than Wind Mountain. At 2.5 miles roundtrip, it’s shorter than most other hikes; however, the elevation gain adds to it’s difficulty. And at just over an hour from Portland, it can easily be done in a morning or afternoone with much of your day left to explore other hikes along the Gorge. Happy hiking!