The Wygant Peak Trail is in the Columbia Gorge but east of the area that burned last year. It offers an ambitious and scenic hike through rocky terrain, climbing 2000 feet in 4.7 miles. The route provides a reminder of how forests in the Gorge change over time. Some of the Douglas-fir trees have survived multiple fires and are over 300 years old. The trail dates back to 1939 and was probably built by Civilian Conservation Corps crews. The trail was built to high specifications and our task is to reclaim that condition just in time for an influx of hikers who will be looking for opportunities outside of the closed fire area.
Project Description – We will reconstruct the trail tread where the rootwads of windblown trees have left deep holes and refurbish switchbacks where sloughing or down trees have lead hikers to shortcut the switchback. We will also cut back brush that encroaches on the trail and reshape the tread where the trail is narrow or considerably outsloped. Finally, we will excavate drainage dips so that water flows off the trail.
The walk from the trailhead to the work site will be 1.5 to 2.5 miles for the May work parties and the trail work is demanding so consider that when you decide whether or not to volunteer for this work party.
Hiking Information – The Wygant Peak Trail shares a trailhead with the popular and shorter Mitchell Point Trail. It starts with a short stroll west along the old Columbia River highway, passes a small stream with an attractive waterfall, and then crosses Perham Creek. The route then begins a series of switchbacks with breathtaking viewpoints perched on the edge of shear cliffs. The 27 switchbacks are relentless and continue to the peak, which is 4.1 miles from the trailhead.
What to Expect – You should expect to work on a developed trail with only minor safety concerns, other than the work area is a long walk from the trailhead. Expect intermittent, rainy weather or bright sunshine – the eastern Gorge is like that. Tick season has already started so expect to deal with these hitchhikers. Check yourself throughout the day. There is some poison oak is along the trail but we will try to minimize exposure.
What to Bring – Bring a lunch and plenty of water. Also, bring rain gear if the weather forecast looks ominous.
What to Wear:
• Boots (running shoes not recommended)
• Long sleeved shirt for warding off ticks and poison oak
• Eye protection is recommended (eye glasses, sunglasses, safety glasses)
• TKO will supply hard hats and safety glasses
Going east on Interstate 84, take Exit #58 (Mitchell Point), turn right and drive 0.3 miles to the Mitchell Point Rest Area.
Going west on Interstate 84, take Exit #56, get back on I-84 but heading east, and then take Exit #58 (Mitchell Point).