From Hood River, take 281 from the center of town or take Hwy 35 towards Odell and follow signs for Lost Lake. Take Lolo Pass Road in Dee for 5 miles. Look out for NF-13 and the sign for Wahtum Lake, it's a windy 10+ mile single lane road.
At about 4.4 miles, go straight to continue on NF-1310. Then, it's another 6 miles to Wahtum Lake Campground and trailheads.
The parking lot and shoulders were full of cars but I found an empty spot near the pit toilet and Ant Hill trailhead.
I'd spent a long time getting there, from Hwy 14 all the way through White Salmon. I considered Hamilton Mountain, Table Mountain, Dog Mountain but kept going east. It was after 2p when I started my hike.
Length: 4.35 mi
Elevation gain: 1,014 ft
Moving time: 1:42:55
Total time: 1:53:04
Avg. pace: 23:38
The weather was really nice, warm and sunny. I took the Express trail to get down to the lake. Still impressive work with the 100s of railroad tie steps.
I planned on doing a clockwise loop, hitting Chinidere, Tomlike and Ant Hill.
I passed a few people that were sunbathing and enjoying the water. Then, once in the forest a few groups of hikers. I did see a pair of hikers w/ dogs who asked for directions. I pulled up AllTrails map on my phone and showed one of them where we were on-screen. I assured them that the spur trail connect to the loop back to the campground. I didn't notice the segment dead-ended slightly before the connection.
I went on my way toward my first stop, Chinidere Mountain. The route is a bunch switchbacks in the trees but the last 100 ft is rocky and exposed. 360 deg views.
After leaving there and heading towards Tomlike, I started to get a little claustrophobic because of the tree canopy and overgrowth; I was also wary of the time, around 3:30 pm. I decided to not try to get to Tomlike and just go back via Ant Hill. As I started up the hill, it just didn't feel right.
I doubled back and took the wider trail. I knew I was foregoing the views from up there. I mentally compared it to the long stretches of canopied-trail in Beacon Rock SP or Forest Park. It make me long for a trail like McNeil or Coldwater or even the first part of Hamilton.
It wasn't a bad choice but I wished I'd used this day for a different hike. I probably won't be back, at least not alone, maybe to show friends.
|Top of Chinidere Mountain (Mt Hood)
|Wahtum Lake from Chinidere Mtn
|Wahtum Lake from Rainy-Wahtum Lake Loop Trail
|Mt Adams from Hood River