This is a tough workout, but lots of fun too. The grades are steady and challenging, but doable. Almost all of this run is shaded so it's a great option for the summer months.
It's possible to modify this run by extending all the way to Indian Mountain. Either leave a vehicle in advance (the extension adds nine miles of trail) or make the return from Indian Mountain all the way back to the Herman Creek Trailhead (adds an additional 16 miles).
A NW Forest Pass is required at the Herman Creek Trailhead.
This trail starts in the dense tree cover of the Herman Creek Trail #406
. After a brief descent to cross the Herman Creek footbridge, the trail climbs to join the PCT. Go left on the PCT to soon enter the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness. The trail travels through multiple scree fields with good views of the river and the Washington side of the Gorge.
The trail switches back and steepens as it climbs the ridge, and all the hard work is rewarded with sweeping views from an alpine surrounding. The trail continues to climb before leveling off just before the junction of the Eagle Benson Trail #434. This out-and-back is much faster on the return.