Rooster Rock and Points East
Rooster Rock State Park is named for a volcanic plug with an easy if not highly desirable climbing route up its south side. The climb is a standard venture for beginners, which I first did when I was 15 or so. The area may be more famous to Portland residents as the site of a “clothing optional” beach. But enough about that (awkward!) I ventured there yesterday not to re-live teenage climbing glory, nor to investigate the nude beach, but to wander the low ridge to the east. It seemed a perfect barrier between river and highway with potential views of both water and nearby peaks. I wasn’t entirely wrong, but the best part of the trip was walking along the mighty Columbia and eying the ramparts of its famous gorge.
My stalwart companion Jackie Chan and I hiked east from the parking lot and found ourselves walking along a crazy disc golf course in the woods. It looked very difficult through the trees. The trail stayed more or less level above the riverbank, but eventually dropped down after a mile or so and we emerged into a long meadow. Soon we arrived at the riverbank. A family with young kids was playing in the water nearby. We continued east for solitiude, meandering among sandy spots, grasses, and patches of forest. Eventually the trail disappeared, and I reached a point where it got very rocky and narrow, so we turned back after checking out the avian wildlife on Sand Island.
We climbed up a washout spot into a broad meadow, and I found an obvious trail up the edge of it into the forest above. The forest was pleasant although the highway noise detracted a bit from my enjoyment. At one point, for half a mile or so, I noticed a lot of horsetails and I found that interesting, as we were on a ridge. I had thought of them as being confined to swampy areas. Apparently not. In a little over an hour total, I was back at my car. This is not a strenuous hike, but it was just the ticket for us on this weekday. Afterwards, I drove west for a closer look at Rooster Rock itself and its big brother, the much more impressive Crown Point on the south side of the highway–another teenage climbing memory. Today I am content with a hike in the vicinity.
Posted on July 24, 2015, in Flora and Fauna, General Hiking, Geology, Waterways and tagged Columbia River Gorge, Easy Columbia River Gorge hikes, Easy hikes near Portland, Oregon State Park hikes. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.