Hike Distance: 8.1 miles Yearly Hike Distance: 848.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1644 feet Yearly Elevation Gain: 104055 feet
A warm sunny day and we had a desire to hike on the PCT north of Panther Creek Road. There’s a parking area, that will fit two cars, on the west side of Panther Creek Road that is about 50 feet from the trail. A large family was exiting the trail as we headed out.
A little over a quarter mile in we reached the bridge that crossed over Panther Creek. We always go down to the crystal clear water and take pictures of this beautiful location! Finally, crossing over Panther Creek we continuously ascend along switchbacks into the Wind River Experimental Forest. Old growth trees abound along this ascent, and six foot plus diameter trees are common, and I’m always in awe of their magnificence!
After about 1.5 miles the trail grade becomes more gradual and even levels off in many locations. There were a total of three fantastic viewpoints along our hike. The first gives a fantastic view of Mt. Hood. The second and third viewpoints are along bare ridges, and they face west. Bunker Hill and the surrounding hills and valley are visible from these locations, and is breathtaking. The last two viewpoints contained a yellow flower similar to Balsam Root, but aren’t in clumps. No logging was seen at any of these viewpoints! 🙂
We continued past these viewpoints and reached a small campsite that I’m sure PCT hikers use. That said, there is no water near this campsite and it will need to be hauled up here. We hiked past this camp and continued until we reached the 4.1 mile point on my GPS, mainly because I wanted an 8+ mile hike.
We only saw 3 people during the entire hike, and two were a couple that we stopped and talked with. The solitude on this portion of the PCT is typical, as we’ve seen on all hikes here. We think that most people would consider the climb up this section to be difficult, but today we had an easier time than normal. No PCT section or thru-hikers were seen, but we were prepared to hand out Oreo Cookies if we did!
A superb day, and much cooler than back in the Portland/Vancouver area. 🙂