A Secluded Grove of Old-growth Cedars in the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness

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Cedar Swamp Camp

Herman Creek’s deep slot canyon extends for miles, north to south, in the middle of the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. The trail  in the canyon provides solitude and some of the best examples of old-growth timber in the region.

One of the most interesting destinations is Cedar Swamp Camp, roughly six crow-flying miles south of the Columbia River and 3,000 feet higher.

I parked at the Herman Creek Campground on a very nice mid-November day. In about three miles there was a pleasant slide waterfall on a side creek dropping over 50 feet.

In another one-half mile I reached the confluence of the East Fork Herman Creek with the main stream. The trail continued south, now following the East Fork. Three and one-half miles later I arrived at Cedar Swamp Camp. The last mile was finally out of the 2017 Eagle Creek Wildfire-damaged forest. Now I was surrounded by a green, lush rain forest.

The old cedar trees were gigantic, rivaling some of the biggest old-growth cedars in the Coastal mountains. Some of the specimens have been there over a millennium. It’s amazing to think these old trees were alive when Godfrey of Bouillon was roaming the Levant.

Where I stopped to rest there was one cedar tree that was over 12 feet in diameter – – – wow!

Sitting under the protective canopy of these old-growth cedars in the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness, I reflected that these are the moments that make life so precious.

Impact of Eagle Creek Wildfire along trail

Maple Leaf

One of many small creeks crossing the trail

Huge Cedar tree behind a nice campsite at Cedar Swamp

Entering area impacted by the Eagle Creek Wildfire

Slide falls near trail

One of only two blowdowns over the trail – – – kudos to the volunteer trail crews!

Trailing Blackberry

Area impacted by the Eagle Creek Wildfire

Old trail sign at Cedar Swamp


Photo taken along the same trail in January of this year



Categories: Columbia River Gorge HikesTags: ,


  1. Okay, you made me look up Godfrey. Nice tidbit of knowledge, John. 🧐🤓

  2. These are quite marvelous. I love the paths leading off onto the next adventure and of course, the falls are beautiful with their rushing waters.

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