Saturday, July 16, 2022

Hike: Chinidere Mountain & Wahtum Lake, Hood River, OR


Getting There

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.

The Hike

Length: 4.35 mi
Elevation gain: 1,014 ft
Moving time: 1:42:55
Total time: 1:53:04
Avg. pace: 23:38
Calories: 907

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