Wyeth Trail to North Lake, Wyeth Trailhead, Portland - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Wyeth Trail to North Lake - 12.8 miles

Wyeth Trailhead

Long, steady switchbacks on the Wyeth Trail to North Lake

Long, steady switchbacks on the Wyeth Trail to North Lake

Round-Trip Length: 12.8 miles
Start-End Elevation: 172' - 3,988' (4,008' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +3,816' net elevation gain (+4,195' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Wyeth Trail to North Lake - 12.8 Miles Round-Trip

(Reporting by David Levy, Editor | October 23, 2016)

North Lake is located 6.4 miles from Wyeth Trailhead in the Mark Hatfield Wilderness. This challenging hike climbs steadily through diverse, mature forests with occasional views to the Green Point Ridge Trail split, where it drops and rises back to North Lake.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

While it may lack the charisma of a Cascade Range alpine lake, North Lake's surrounding forest and predictable solitude are highly compelling.

Fishing is generally good, and there are several small but serviceable openings around the lake from which to cast. The Wyeth Trail continues past North Lake with access to Rainy Lake, Bear Lake and Mount Defiance.

A $5 fee or valid recreation pass is required to access this trail. Poison oak is particularly abundant; long sleeves are recommended:

The trail begins on a dirt road to the Gorge Trail - Gorton Creek Bridge junction (.1 mile); turn left to remain on Wyeth. It rises past a campground access trail then dips across a brushy powerline clearing to Harphan Creek (.5 miles : 223').

Hop the creek (getting wet may be unavoidable) and resume steady climbing under a tall fir canopy (1.0 miles : 655'). The understory is relatively thin, which offers a nice look through these mature columns of timber.

Travel steepens considerably on methodical switchbacks to a small clearing across talus (3.5 miles : 2,558'), just past which you'll round a corner to the first of several high, open view points.

It climbs steadily to a short reprieve across an open grassy slope (4.05 miles), then up to the Mark O Hatfield Wilderness Boundary (4.55 miles : 3,547'). The sign may be in disrepair but the board is still prominent.

Grades moderate through uniform stands of silver fir to the Green Point Ridge Trail split (5.05 miles : 3,885'); keep left. The trail tilts down a rockier path to an open talus slide with great views of Mount Defiance (5.45 miles : 3,820').

It continues mildly down, then up to a short spur that splits (right) to North Lake (6.4 miles : 3,988').

This main spur leads to a berm over the outlet, which forms Lindsey Creek; other social trails lead to various points around the lake.

The final 1.4 miles (from Green Point Ridge split to North Lake) pass through old growth fir and hemlock, arguably one of the nicest sections of this trail. Bear grass, Oregon grape and huckleberry cover the forest floor and attract wildlife. There are several good campsites among large trees on this stretch. 

(Reporting by David Levy, Editor | October 23, 2016)

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N45 41.266 W121 46.302 — 0.0 miles : Wyeth Trailhead
  • N45 41.218 W121 45.991 — .5 miles : Cross Harphan Creek
  • N45 41.024 W121 45.833 — 1.0 miles : Travel steepens on steady switcbacks
  • N45 40.864 W121 45.684 — 1.5 miles : Steep, steady travel
  • N45 40.788 W121 45.704 — 2.0 miles : Variously moderate and steep switchbacks
  • N45 40.651 W121 45.642 — 2.5 miles : Steady climb
  • N45 40.399 W121 45.578 — 3.0 miles : Steady climb
  • N45 40.257 W121 45.492 — 3.5 miles : Cross short section of talus
  • N45 40.072 W121 45.441 — 4.0 miles : Forest composition changes
  • N45 39.888 W121 45.258 — 4.55 miles : Cross Wilderness Boundary
  • N45 39.572 W121 45.164 — 5.05 miles : Green Point Ridge Trail split
  • N45 39.247 W121 45.267 — 5.5 miles : Mild descent in mature forest
  • N45 38.846 W121 45.461 — 6.0 miles : Mild-moderate travel in mature forest
  • N45 38.575 W121 45.421 — 6.4 miles : North Lake

Worth Noting

  • Poison oak is prevalent on this trail, especially the first few miles. Long sleeves are recommended.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Camping Rules and Regulations

  • An overnight fee is required (see rules and regulations).
  • Group size is limited to 12 individuals or any combination of people and stock.
  • Camp in established sites whenever possible. Sites are first come, first served. Some may be closed for restoration
  • Bury human waste 6-8" deep, at least 100' from any trail or water source.
  • Campfires - Columbia River Gorge NSA: Campfires are permitted in the CRGNSA, with potential seasonal and area-specific restrictions. Up-to-date rules are posted at the trailhead and along the trail. 
  • Campfires - Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness: Campfires are permitted in the Hatfield Wilderness, with potential seasonal and area-specific restrictions. Up-to-date rules are posted at the trailhead and along the trail.
  • Campfires are not permitted June 1 - September 15 (peak season) along the Eagle Creek Trail from the wilderness boundary to the Eagle -Tanner Trail. Fires are permitted from September 16 - May 31 unless otherwise posted.

Rules and Regulations

  • A $5 fee or valid Recreation Pass is required to access the Wyeth Trailhead (overnight use requires payment for two days). Complete the form and display as directed at the trailhead board.
  • The Wyeth Trail enters the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness, where a free day / overnight use permit is required. These forms are available at the wilderness boundary. Complete the form and carry with you as directed.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times.

Directions to Trailhead

Directions to Wyeth Trailhead

Take I-84 Exit #51 / Wyeth. Turn south, then right (west) onto Herman Creek Road to the Wyeth Campground. Turn into the campground and continue to the trailhead and parking lot in the back.

A $5 fee or valid recreation pass is required to access this trail.

Contact Information

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
902 Wasco Ave | Suite 200
Hood River, OR 97031

Hood River Ranger District
6780 Highway 35
Parkdale, OR 97041

Mt. Hood National Forest Headquarters
16400 Champion Way
Sandy, OR 97055

Hours: Monday – Friday, 7:30a – 4:30p (closed 11:30 – 12:30)

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"This is actually a pretty good description. I was unimpressed by the lake, but the forest between it and Green Point Ridge is definitely cool. Getting a little frosty up there - and slippery!"
Jeff Bergman  -   -  Date Posted: November 18, 2016


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