The Larch Mountain Trail begins at the Multnomah Falls Lodge, about 50 feet above sea level, and ends at Sherrard Point, 4,000 feet higher. The seven-mile Trail is never real steep, thanks to the old trail builders who used plenty of dynamite to maintain a steady grade.
This is one of the classic hikes in the Columbia River Gorge, completed in 1915 as a showcase for the new Scenic Columbia River Highway.
Many decades ago, heartier lads than I would close out the bars in Portland and jump a train heading up the Gorge. They would get off at Multnomah Falls and make the climb to Sherrard Point to watch the sun come up. Try that sometime!
Hikers today park at the large parking area off of Interstate 84 near the Multnomah Falls Lodge. The first mile of the hike is on a paved path gaining 700 feet to the top of the top of the Falls. The next four miles are a gem, always staying near Multnomah Creek in a deep canyon with multiple waterfalls.
At the five-mile mark the Trail leaves the Creek and begins a climb up the western rim of the old volcano to Sherrard Point, the summit of Larch Mountain.
Upon reaching the top, about 30 crow-flying miles from Portland, the spectacular views extend seemingly forever.
Be forewarned though, there are hikes that offer solitude on a nice summer day in the Columbia River Gorge. This is not one of them.