mid may backpacking

Return to Message Board

Hey all,
I'm taking a business trip out to Portland, Oregon in the 2nd week of May and I decided  to stay for the weekend and do some hiking. I've never been in the NW states before and I'm pretty excited.
Right now I'm trying to find a good 2-4 day backpacking trip that would be open that early in the year. My current thought is to go to the Columbia River Gorge. From what I've heard, this should be cleared out of snow (for the most part) by then.
Does anyone have any good loop recommendations for the gorge? Or any other places for that matter?

Also, where do I get trail maps for these parks? Would a gps be recommended?


May 1st trip report on the Portland Hikers web site says lots of snow on Benson Plateau. It should be hikeable without snowshoes, though, and a couple of weeks of warmer weather will melt a lot of it. I'm considering doing the loop May 14-16.


 The Gorge is going to be your best option if you are only in Portland for a short time. You can definately experience snow at the higher elevations of the Wahtum Lake loop.  Mt. Hood has received an abundance of snow this year, so I'd plan on it. The area is a beautiful and it would be a great introduction to Oregon. 
Another possibility would be Dublin Lake.  It's a little bit lower, so your chances of it being snow-free are better. 
A great loop is to head out Eagle Creek to Wahtum Lake, and return via the Pacific Crest Trail over Benson Plateau.  There still may be too much snow to make this work (maximum elevation is about 4500') -- I would need to check, but it may be possible the middle of May. 

You can survive without a GPS.  I'm not sure of a map (I generally use the TOPO! software), but I would imagine there is a Columbia Gorge Hiking Map (maybe search REI online or US Outdoor Store)