hike: Larch Mountain Crater
Hike through the ancient volcanic crater of Larch Mountain that now contains old-growth forest and boggy meadows, and cap it off with a short walk up the former shield plug to views of five Cascade peaks.
distance: 6.3 miles (loop)
elevation gain: 1,310 ft.
best season: late spring, summer, fall
drive time from Portland: 50 minutes
parking pass: NW Forest Pass
hike description: OregonHikers.org
From the large parking lot at the top of Larch Mountain, take the side trail to Sherrard Point for views of Mount Hood and Jefferson to the south, and Mount Adams, Rainier and St. Helens to the north. Then begin the forested loop hike by heading downhill on the Larch Mountain trail. At 1.7 miles, turn onto the Multnomah Spur Trail for 0.2 miles and the junction with the Multnomah Creek Way Trail, which goes through the former crater on Larch Mountain and the source of the springs that become Multnomah Creek (and eventually Multnomah Falls). To close the loop, turn right on the Oneonta Trail, one of the quietest sections of trails in the area. The Oneonta Trail ends at Larch Mountain Road. Continue on the road for 0.3 miles back to the trailhead.