South Sister Hike
For your ears only…
Honorable mentions close to Portland, OR
I have been carrying these on my phone for a while. Some honorable mentions below.
Elk Mountain, OR 6 towards Tillamook
An excellent fun hike with great proximity to Portland and PDX suburbia lies on OR 6, with an elevation gain of approximately 1900 ft in 1.4 miles. It is an excellent alternative to stepper or elliptical. Be prepared for the more challenging levels.
I would estimate the hike at 90 mins to the summit while the return at 45 mins to an hour. An interesting thing is the log book maintained at the summit where you can print and date your name (Elk achiever’s log). I have hiked this at least 10 times through pretty much every season, with spring or fall as the best time to hike and summer as the fun time (dry and lose soil, makes some lengths of the trail quite fun). You were warned! 🙂
Kings Mountain on OR 6 towards Tillamook
Very next to Elk Mountain is Kings Mountain – elevation gain of 2500 ft in 2.4 miles. The views are similar to Elk Mountain, while Elk is comparatively more exposed, Kings relatively trails through dense forest.
Mitchell Point on I-84 E towards Hood River
A short hike gaining around 1100 ft in 1.2 miles, should not take more than 45 mins to the top and 20-25 mins to run down the hill. It is quite pretty from up there.
Coyote Wall, WA 14 past Hoodriver toll bridge in Washington
A great hike for good weather, gains around 1750 ft in elevation over some 3.5-4.2 miles depending upon the choice of trails. There are multiple trails in the Coyote Wall canyon and most of these are connected to one another. I remember mistakenly taking the longer one past the #4426 Old Canyon Creek trail head. Note that there is almost non-existent tree cover on this trail, so pick the weather you are most comfortable in.
Times can vary depending upon the trail, but average time to hike is 2 hrs for the longest trail and return in within 45 mins through the shortest trail. A hint is to follow signs for the #4426 Old Canyon Creek trail after walking up the paved road past the parking lot and then staying left at every intersection. It would also help to take a picture of the trail map at the booth next to the parking lot. Excellent view atop!
Although you can choose to hike Larch Mountain if you wish, you can also drive up to the parking lot near the summit. The gorgeous views of five cascade peaks await you.
Random Imagery Iceland
Snæfellsjökull Hike (is a playground)
It won’t make much of a sense to elaborate on any hikes here, the entire king wilderness area is a playground. This is the kind of place where you “make” your own hike.
Driving down through the forest roads in the Snæfellsjökull National Park will give you enough opportunities to explore the popularly known hiking trails or view the glacier.
You can always choose to hike down to the glacier.
Picturesque setting – what stands out is the contrast.
Somewhere along the way…
A super fun scramble set in the western peninsula of Iceland, Kirkjufell rises ~1500 ft from sea level and the trail length is probably a mile (~1.6 km). It gets steep past 300 meters into the hike. The view from 1290 ft (above).
You need to traverse three stretches of rocky outcrops with help of ropes fixed into the trail by apparently the locals (Icelandic park rangers?). The first of which is a 10-12 ft vertical climb. Carry gloves for better grip.
Also remember that roughly 30-40 mins into the hike past a couple of scrambles (first of which is a 20+ ft rocky patch of the mountain facing south-east on the trail), the trail splits into two – one going left and the other going right. Take the trail to the left. Else prepare to waste 10 mins like me.
Kirkjufell mountain (above) as seen from the Kirkjufellsfoss (waterfalls). The trail follows a fence at the beginning (details below).
The trail is quite steep and avoid dancing, limping or simply hiking under a hang over. 🙂 The top half of the picture below is heavily skewed, but picture the bottom half as exactly what you would face getting down the mountain.
Took me 55-60 mins to pass the first of the ropes, and roughly 30 mins to run down the mountain. The entire stretch to the top should not take more than 80-90 mins.
People with long legs and a solid heart, this is totally your hike. Always “safety first”!
Zugspitze Reintal Hike
Reintal is the easiest or at least one of the easiest routes to hike Zugspitze. It starts in Ehrwald by the Ehrwalder Almbahn (rail). You have an option to take the cable car to the first logical unloading point ~4900 ft, or start exactly by the load point which is roughly 200-250 ft lower.
I will conservatively grade the hike “easy” and climbs roughly 2600 ft to the gatterl (picture this as the point where you switchback to the unseen side of the mountain). The trail is paved soil for the most part.
Above is the view from the “gatterl” post which the trail quickly loses roughly 100 ft (you can see this above as a narrow trail towards the left) before gaining another 1200 ft to hike up to the Sonn-Alpin restaurant. The total elevation gain for this stretch (first cable car stop –> Sonn-Alpin) is therefore ~3700 ft.
Sonn-alpin is another stop to get in and out of the cable car. Most people may like to hike up to the Zugspitze summit and take the cable car on their way down. For that you need to hike up from Sonn-alpin to the summit (passing a patch through the glacier) or take the cable car to the summit. You can then take another cable car, the Tiroler Zugspitzebahn all the way down to the parking lot from where you can take the free bus ride back to the Ehrwalder Almbahn stop. Note the last bus leaves at 5pm but you can always request the nearby hotel to call you a taxi. The entire trail length can be estimated at a little under 6 miles (first cable car stop -> Sonn-Alpin). The entire available stretch (Ehrwalder Almbahm –> Zugspitze Summit) is detailed at 14 kms (~9 miles). The stretch to Sonn-Alpin should take not more than 120 mins to climb up. In comparison the way down through the cable car takes only 10. 🙂 All that time you save…
Notable mentions: The trail dips down immediately after gatterl and climbs back all that elevation through a rocky face of the mountain, and after roughly 5-10 mins into the climb you come across the Austria-Germany border crossing on the mountain.
(Above) Somewhere after the border crossing and before the knorrhütte (hut). Excitingly enough we got caught up in an incessant hail and snow blizzard beyond here, which only started as promised rains. I got no pictures past this point as it was extremely windy (at least 60-80 mph and some stronger gusts knocked us down a few times, yes anxiety worthy). We started the hike on a rocky mountain and on a pleasant sunny day with blue skies and one lost “loner” cloud directly above our heads and ended the hike with a blizzard on an overly-cast snowed-in mountain. They even suspended the cable cars for a period of two hours till the winds subsided in the evening and shut down the entire area for tourists and employees, while opening the last run for people to get off the mountain. Before and after below.