Columbia Gorge vs. Hell\'s Canyon
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Hi, I'm the guy from DC who asked last week about finding a 20-30 mile loop for 4-5 days backpacking. Well, after much calling around, the two big loops I've found the are snow-free now are the Columbia River Gorge (Eagles Creek/PCT/Ruckle Ridge) and...Hell's Canyon, way out by Idaho. Obviously these are two very different hikes. I am torn and would welcome anyone's thoughts, especially anyone who has done both!
Some things I am thinking about: Hell's Canyon is 7 hours from Portland. It seems more spectacular overall (5000 foot river gorge). Is it worth all the extra driving for someone who is only around for 5 days?
What is Hell's Canyon like in July? Most of what I has read recommends it April-June. Is it unbearbly hot? Is ther enough water?
How crowded is the Columbia River Gorge during the week? We'll start on a Sunday and I expect the early trail to be crowded, but on Monday and after, will it be more like wilderness levels of solitude? Will we be able to hear I-84 the whole time?
Thanks for any input!