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Dry Creek

South Cascades > Mount Adams Area
45.8819, -121.9801 Map & Directions
Length
8.4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
350 feet
Highest Point
1500 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Moderate
Photo by trip reporter justpeachy. Full-size image
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Wildlife
  • Established campsites
  • Good for kids
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Rivers

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

Low-lying with impressive trees bordering each side of it, this trail is a nice option year-round. The Doug-fir bigleaf maple, and hemlock forest canopy in this narrow valley shades hikers in the heat of summer, and in winter the elevation means it's unlikely to have heavy snow to navigate. And since it's a former railroad grade, the trail is easy enough for hikers of all types. Continue reading

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Hiking Dry Creek

Low-lying with impressive trees bordering each side of it, this trail is a nice option year-round. The Doug-fir bigleaf maple, and hemlock forest canopy in this narrow valley shades hikers in the heat of summer, and in winter the elevation means it's unlikely to have heavy snow to navigate. And since it's a former railroad grade, the trail is easy enough for hikers of all types. 

This trail is entirely contained in the Bourbon Roadless Area, a 4540-acre expanse adjacent to the Trapper Creek Wilderness home to old-growth forest. Begin your trek through this quiet expanse of lush forest, elk and salmon habitat from the Trapper Creek Wilderness parking lot and head due north.

Almost immediately, the trail splits away from the Trapper Creek trail and begins paralleling Dry Creek, which is not always truly dry. In some places it can be full of swift, higher-than-waist-deep water and full, while in others the water drops into subterranean channels, leaving the creekbed completely. 

The trail comes close to Dry Creek several times, offering several spots to stop and rest, though the gentle grade means you're more likely to take a break just to soak in the forest, rather than catch your breath.

After two miles of walking, the trail takes a left and heads away from the creek up rejoins it soon after, where you'll hike right alongside it. This section also offers views of a ridge across the water. As you near the end of your hike, keep an eye out for some very large old-growth Douglas-firs to marvel at. Just past this grove, at a little more than four miles into your hike, you'll arrive at Bourbon Creek, fed by springs on Howe Ridge looming above you. 

Bourbon Creek can be a tricky crossing when it's running high. Be prepared for wet feet or using your water shoes, and if the water is running too fast, feel free to turn around. After all, there's only 0.1 mile of trail past this crossing, before you arrive at the Big Hollow Trail

Whether you stop at Bourbon Creek or continue to Big Hollow, the return trip is just as low-key and peaceful as your hike in. Take it slow, and savor the scenery. 

Hike Description Written by
Multiple authors contributed to this report, WTA Community

Dry Creek

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 45.8819, -121.9801 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Carson, follow the Wind River Road north for about 13.5 miles. Make a left on Mineral Springs Road (FR 3065). Take the next right onto FR 5401 and follow it for about a half mile to the trailhead.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

South Cascades > Mount Adams Area

Dry Creek (#194)

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mount Adams Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Columbia River Gorge (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Buy the Green Trails Wind River No. 397 map

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry

Dry Creek

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