Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
6.80 mi (10.94 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Truly memorable views tend to be those you can somehow feel: you may feel hair rise on the back of your neck, your lips may involuntarily smile, or you might hear your own gasp.  The views from Indian Point, meanwhile, are so vertiginous that you may feel your stomach plunge right out of your body or hear it splash into the Columbia River some 2,000-feet below.  And while climbing gear and proper training are necessary to scale the basalt cone that forms the point, the narrow ridge that connects the point to terra firma adequately rewards those with the moxie to make the trip.  In fact, even those of us who cling to the earth for dear life will enjoy the views from the safe and stable areas on the trail leading down to the cliffs.

As you take in the view, you may wonder if the trembling in your legs is a result of fear of heights or of hiking the 2,600-foot ascent from the Herman Creek Trailhead.  The Herman Creek-Gorton Creek climb is the best kind challenge, constantly rewarding your exertion with the cool smells of moss, sword ferns and Douglas fir, or the occasional vista previews as you gain altitude.  In spring the wildflowers throughout this hike are constant companions.  The hiking trail is well signed, and the trail junctions are straightforward as long as you remember you are taking the Herman Creek Trail to the Gorton Creek Trail.  Be advised that the Herman Creek Campground is closed in the winter.

From the Herman Creek-Gorton Creek junction, climb on the Gorton Creek Trail for 2.6 miles until you reach the Ridge Cutoff Trail. Please note that the informal trail to Indian Point is not signed.  To find this trail, proceed on the Gorton Trail past the Ridge Cutoff Trail.  Keep a sharp eye on the ground to your left, and after approximately 50 yards you will see the small trail that leads you down to Indian Point.  Once you are finished, return to the Ridge Cutoff Trail and take it to the Nick Eaton Trail for more excellent views and a steep downhill descent back to the Herman Creek Trail.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass

Pros

No crowds in winter. Spectacular views. Close to Portland. Wildflowers in the spring.

Cons

Difficult elevation gain.

Trailhead Elevation

312.00 ft (95.10 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,692.00 ft (820.52 m)

Features

Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Wildflowers

Location

Field Guide + Map

Comments

07/23/2016
Hiked the loop this morning and only encountered about 15 others on the trail - remarkably uncrowded for a sunny Saturday in the gorge.

Highly recommend doing the loop counter-clockwise. The Nick Eaton trail gives your legs a killer workout on the ascent, but it is very steep with plenty of loose dirt that I would imagine being quite slippery on descent.
05/11/2016
Do it counter-clockwise to save the strain on the quads on the descent.
Thanks for the correction, Christa! I've adjusted the directions to read "right" onto Herman Creek. Good catch!
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