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Gillette Lake and Greenleaf Overlook

Southwest Washington > Columbia River Gorge - WA
45.6505, -121.9331 Map & Directions
Length
8.6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
650 feet
Highest Point
875 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Moderate
The bridge and preferred turnaround point on this trail. Photo by Anna Roth. Full-size image
  • Wildlife
  • Lakes
  • Rivers
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Established campsites
  • Old growth
  • Fall foliage

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

Hike a short way or a little longer -- either to a lakeside or an overlook. Wherever you choose, you'll enjoy a route that passes through the Pacific Crest Trail's famous "Green Tunnel"; the tree canopy and foliage that makes up the iconic trail's character in southwest Washington. Continue reading

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Hiking Gillette Lake and Greenleaf Overlook

Hike a short way or a little longer -- either to a lakeside or an overlook. Wherever you choose, you'll get a taste of the Pacific Crest Trail's famous "Green Tunnel"; the dense tree canopy and overarching foliage that make up the iconic trail's character in southwest Washington. 

From the Bonneville Trailhead, complete with privy, set out up the Tamanous Trail, a short spur trail offers access to Table Mountain as well (though Table Mountain is a grueling, very long day hike for those willing to undertake it). 

It's only 0.7 miles uphill to the Tamanous Trail's junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. You'll head left at the junction (right takes you 1.4 miles back to Highway 14 andthe official PCT trailhead). Your route undulates up and down along the landscape. A huge landslide here eons ago shaped the ground you're hiking through; the name 'Bridge of the Gods' refers to an enormous slab that sheared off Table Mountain and fell into the Columbia River, creating a temporary land bridge. Now the land bridge is gone, but the trailhead retains its name, and the landscape is still impressive. 

Hike up and down over small ridges. The trail is lined with small pools on either side. In this section, look out for newts in the fall, who will be breeding in the wet areas just off the trail. 

Soon, break out of the forest and into a clearing, where powerlines soar above you. Despite this evidence of city life, the landscape is still impressive as you switchback up through the rocky land. Approaching a logging road, look for traffic (this is still a working forest after all),, then cross the road and gaze down on Gillette Lake just below. It's a sweet little lake, an arresting shade of greenish blue with a shoreline lined with flowers. 

Drop down to the lake, and if this is your destination, look for a campsite. Otherwise, continue around the top of the lake, staying straight on the main trail and paralleling the lakeshore before crossing a sturdy footbridge over a picturesque creek. 

Past the creek, the trail climbs again and crosses another logging road a quarter mile from the lake. Though the road is exposed, the trail ducks back into dark forest as you climb on the PCT, and then pass a small pond, home to the endangered Western pond turtle. Leave them be (there's nowhere to sit on the shoreline anyway) and continue up and over a knoll. From here, the trail plunges down to Greenleaf Creek. 

A big bridge awaits you here, and, unless you're really into uphill gains, this is good turnaround point. Greenleaf Overlook is only another half-mile away, but the trees have grown up and the views from the overlook are relatively unremarkable; I walked right by it when I visited the first time.

But if you want to bag it, head uphill. About 0.75 miles from the bridge, look for an outcropping of large granite boulders covered in yellowish moss. It's the last viewpoint before the trail ducks back into forest and continues climbing to Table Mountain. 

Hike Description Written by
Anna Roth, WTA Staff

Gillette Lake and Greenleaf Overlook

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 45.6505, -121.9331 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 Vancouver, drive 40 miles east on Highway 14 to the Bonneville trailhead, located on the left (elev. 100 ft). Turn into the trailhead and find parking; the Tamanous Trail takes off uphill at the east end of the parking area, marked by a sign that says, "Table Mtn.". A privy is also available here.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Southwest Washington > Columbia River Gorge - WA

Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) (#2000), Tamanous Trail (#27)

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Columbia River Gorge. Craig Romano. Mountaineers Books. 2011.

Green Trails Bonneville Dam No. 429

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Gillette Lake and Greenleaf Overlook

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