Is there a better mid-Winter Hike above the 45th Parallel than Catherine Creek?

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Catherine Creek

It was the last weekend of January and what a day it was.

Sunshine and temperatures in the 40s, wildflowers to be seen, the lilting melody of a meadowlark, wild turkeys, a ruffed grouse, several coyotes yipping and yelping (it’s their breeding season), and beautiful vistas extending far to the east.

I truly enjoyed an eight-mile, 2,000-foot elevation gain loop hike on the east side of the Catherine Creek Canyon, mainly in open Oak Savannah.

Columbia River extending far to the east

The small, but pretty purple grass widows were just beginning to bloom in the lower elevations and a few salt and peppers were too. Spring is just around the corner.

As I moved into the timber on the upper ridge, there was some patchy snow in places, and I spotted numerous deer and wild turkey tracks. A small flock of turkeys and a ruffed grouse were seen, but none of them were in the mood to pose for a photographer.

Amazingly enough, I saw very few other hikers. But, to my surprise, I did meet Linda who used to lead hikes for the Multnomah Athletic Club while I was on the Board. It was fun catching up. She is the only person I know who has logged more miles, and hiked more trails (and off trails), within 150 miles of Portland than I have. I’m ready for her hiking book to come out.

Grass Widows and Pepper & Salt (a Parsley family member)

Natural Arch

Fellow hiker on the Oak Savannah

Blacktail Deer and Wild Turkey tracks in the snow

Small pond along the trail

Remains of an old corral along the trail

Heading back down the trail toward the Columbia River

Mt. Hood from the trail on a previous hike when the clouds were not as thick




Categories: Columbia River Gorge HikesTags: , ,


  1. Great photos of our shared day at Catherine Creek. Was a delight to see you! And thanks for sharing the story of the turkey hunter you met there years ago. I will think of him each time I pass that way. My photo gem discovery of the day was both antlers from a 2-point buck!

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