first backpacking trip
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My friends and I are planning our first overnight hike in the Columbia Gorge this summer. We've done a lot of hikes in the Gorge over the past two years, but nothing extremely hard. I was hoping someone had a suggestion as to a good first-time overnight trail to hike? We're also planning on making it into a slighter larger group (about six people), and the others aren't as conditioned as we are, so we'd like to keep the mileage a bit short :] Thanks for any help! PS: I'd appreciate any first time backpacking tips too!
Eagle Creek is definitely good. I'm not sure what hikes you have already done, but one of my first backpacking trips was out to Triple Falls. Tthere is a campsite just past the falls and lots of trail beyond for exploring. It can definitely be done as a day hike so you may have already done it, but if not it's a good one just for the experience of camping in the wilderness.
If you're set on the Gorge, I'd head up Eagle Creek. About 1 mile this side of Tunnel falls there's a spot off the trail to the right that would be good for 6-8 people. That would make the distance about 6 miles. It's a steady but not steep climb as you go up Eagle Creek and there's lots of waterfalls to view along the way. The next day continue on up the trail to Tunnel and Twister Falls.