Travels with the Original Easyrider®
2012 Edition

Ruckel Ridge Hike
Eagle Creek, Columbia Gorge
An 8 hour, 10.79 mile loop hike with 3,658' elevation gain
May 29, 2012

And back again with Julie on
June 2, 2012

Total miles hiked= 171.65; Total elevation gain= 48,086'

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We did the easy half of this hike, along Ruckel Creek a few months ago.

The June 2, 2012 hike I did with Julie can be found HERE.

A pretty good trail guide can be found HERE.

The Ruckel Ridge hike is touted as being "the most difficult hike in the Gorge".
Hazardous exposures, narrow footing and so on. While this hike certainly isn't easy
it was somewhat of a disappointment to learn just how not difficlt this hike is.
On the plus side, it's a good cardio workout and zero people, at least on a weekday.
On the negative side, there's not much visual reward either.

The Ruckel Ridge trail is easy to follow although it may not be when there is snow on
the ground. Anyone with reasonable route finding skills isn't going to have much
trouble on this hike even without a GPS, compass or map (I brought all three).

The "Catwalk" that trail guides make such a big deal about is a fairly trivial
obstacle. And, in fact, you have to go out of your way to traverse it. I guess
something like this may appeal to the crotch rocket set, but personally, I see no
point in going out of your way to give the Grim Reaper the finger. It's easier,
faster, safer and more direct to just stay on the trail and avoid a potential fall.
IMHO, only a total moron would go out of their way to experience unnecessary risk
for no reason at all.

Don't get me wrong. Ruckel Ridge is an OK hike... it just fails to live up to the
hype about it being so tough. If this is the worst that the Gorge has to offer,
maybe I need to start looking around for more challenging locations.

That's not to say that there aren't some nice views on this stretch of Ruckel Creek.
Here's the view from Buck Point, about a half mile into this hike.

There are several clusters of pillars like these along Ruckel Ridge. None are
at all difficult to get past. In fact, the only significant challenge on this hike
was getting across Ruckel Creek. The water was running fast and was deep in spots.
And probably pretty cold. There were a lot of blow downs so you have your choice of
fallen trees to aid you. There was a narrow one down stream away that was slippery
but only took three giant steps to get across. Maybe when I return I'll bring a few
meters of rope to string up as a handrail.

Saw no one on the five mile section of Ruckel Ridge. Of course it was a weekday
and the day after a long holiday weekend so YMMV. As soon as I got onto the
Ruckel Creek trail I ran into a young couple just past the Mark O, Hatfield
wilderness sign. Other than that, no one else except some ancient Obama loving
Multnomah County commie. Hikes with little or no other people are always to my liking.

There were some colorful weeds out here so I posted a picture of some for Julie.

There are actually better views, albeit at much lower elevations, on this segment.

There are some ostensibly ancient Indian fire pits on this trail, not far from
the Ruckel Creek trail trailhead.

When you get to the falls the trailhead is just ahead.

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