Hiking The Columbia River Gorge
by Russ Schneider, revised by Jim Yuskavitch (Falcon Guides)
© 2014 Russ Schneider, revised by Jim Yuskavitch/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
This trail isn't very difficult and there was active logging going on when I was there with my girlfriend. About a third of the hike doesn't have tree cover and you can see the ugly stumps left by the logging. Regardless, the lake itself is quite pretty and if you've exhausted all your other hiking options you might as well check it out. I would actually rate it as 2.5 stars, but since that's not an option I'm rounding up!
I must agree that this trail is not rewarding as far as scenery. There is a fair amount of logging that has or is occurring, and at one point a logging road was bulldozed across the trail. Gillette lake is a beautiful blue, but the background is tainted by the Bonneville power lines overhead. That being said, we went on this hike to get some exercise during the winter months. There was virtually no snow. In fact, the temperature was pleasant, in the high 40's, and the creek that fed Gillette Lake was raging from the snow melt. The hike is very easy (we do hike every weekend) and was easily completed in a few hours. I feel this hike is fairly safe for kids and do recommend it for winter hiking for those who want to hike year round.
This trail is good for a workout. It is not the most scenic and has one section that is nasty if you are wearing shorts. The clear cut in the middle of the hike is narrow and full of thistles and blackberry vines. Yes, you have to travel through there both ways. It is also lacking in a rewarding scenic prize.
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