hike: Larch Mountain Crater
8 miles with 1,700 ft gain
OregonHikers.org trail description
I wanted to get in a hike at the top of Larch Mountain before the road that goes to the upper trailhead closes for the season. At 4,061 ft in elevation, Larch Mountain usually gets a fair amount of snow each year, so the road closes with a gate at milepost 10 from Nov. through late May or early June.
Starting at the Upper Larch Mountain trailhead, we did a loop hike through the old crater of Larch Mountain, a former shield volcano. The mileage for this hike should have been closer to 6 miles, but we continued on the Larch Mountain trail #441 when we should have turned at a trail junction a half mile earlier, so we had to turn around and go back. Also, we had intended to do a longer loop that included the Oneonta Trail #424, but when we reached where the East Fork Multnomah Creek crossed the trail, the creek was too high to cross without getting your boots wet, so we turned around and went back to the Multnomah Creek Way Trail #444, taking it for 2.5 miles to a junction with the Oneonta Trail #424.
With the heavy rains that have fallen over the last week, there was a lot of water on the trails. At times, we were hiking through what looked like streams, but all of that rain also made the forest much greener, with tiny new mushrooms popping up everywhere.
After the hike, take the steps and paved trail for 0.3 miles to Sherrard Point. On a clear day, views include Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson.
There are many trails in this area, and it is easy to get on the wrong trail. Here is the correct trail log for this hike:
- trailhead: Larch Mountain
- begin on the Larch Mountain Trail #441 for 2 miles
- turn right at the junction with Multnomah Creek Way Trail #444 for 0.2 miles
- turn right to stay on Multnomah Creek Way Trail #444 at the junction with Trail #446
- continue on #444 to the junction with Oneonta Trail #424 for 2.7 miles
- walk beside the Larch Mountain Road for 0.3 miles to the trailhead