Sunshine Trail (#198)
Following wilderness designation in 1986, the Mazamas, a Portland based mountaineering club, worked with the Forest Service to design a system of rugged trails with steep grades that are perfect for the adventurous hiker. Climbing 1,600 ft. in 1.5 miles, the Sunshine Trail is made more rigorous by the fact that logs are left in place across the trail to provide a real wilderness experience.
Not a hike in and of itself, the Sunshine Trail connects the longer, Observation and Trapper Creek Trails creating several different loop opportunities.
You can reach the Sunshine Trail from several other trails. The Government Mineral Springs Trailhead is nearest to Vancouver. From the trailhead, follow the Soda Peaks Lake Trail (#133) for 1/2 mile, turn right to cross Trapper Creek and get to the Trapper Creek Trail. Follow the Trapper Creek Trail upstream for about 2 miles to the jct with the Sunshine Trail.
Recent Trip Reports
Hiked here recently? Submit a trip report!
There are 1 trip reports for this hike.
Observation Peak, Sunshine Trail (#198), Rim Trail #202, Trapper Creek Trail #192 — Aug 21, 2010 — Ryan Ojerio
Expand report text Hide report textRead full report with photos
I led a group from the Portland Hiking Meet-Up on a mission to find 1)Great views 2)Big Trees and 3)...
I led a group from the Portland Hiking Meet-Up on a mission to find 1)Great views 2)Big Trees and 3)Huckleberries. The weather was overcast so we got our huckleberries and fat trees, but the view was a B+ because of the clouds. In a nutshell we did a counterclockwise loop around Observation Peaking taking about 5 hours.
We set off from the Observation Trailhead (north side) and hiked the 2.8 miles to Observation Peak in cool mist. At the summit, grey clouds hung in the sky, but we could still see out to Indian Heaven although Mt. Adams and the other volcanoes were obscured.
Then we continued southeast on the Observation Trail for another 1.1 miles to the jct with the Sunshine Trail. Wereas the Observation Trail is free and clear of downed trees and vegetation, the primitive Sunshine Trail required some scrambling and route finding.
About 1/2 mile further we curved Northwest following the Rim Trail which was at times even harder to follow than the Sunshine Trail. Since logs are left to lie, only the occasional blaze showed the way. Several times we lost the route and had to fan out in search of the next blaze.
Finally after only another mile, we connected to the Trapper Creek Trail and followed it north for 1/2 mile to get back to the Observation Trail. I've heard that the off-trail hike to the top of SistersRocks is worth it, but by the time we got there we were too tuckered out to add more mileage.