Hike 44
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Bear Lake Hike via Wyeth Ridge Trail Hike
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Map of Bear Lake Hike via Wyeth Ridge Trail Hike

Length:   15.6 miles RT
Elevation Change: - 4000'
Season: - Late spring thru early fall
Difficulty:   Very Difficult due to the steepness and length of hike
Permit:   NW Forest Pass Required

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This is an excellent hike for endurance. Yet, it is also an excellent adventure hike. The trail begins at the Wyeth Campground trailhead. Just follow the main trail out of the parking area for a short distance, until it comes to a junction with Gorge Trail #400. Make a sharp left at this point and continue on Trail #411.

You will have to cross a major stream within a short distance, and depending on the time of year, this could be a bit of a challenge. After crossing the stream, the trail wanders for just a bit before picking up steam and starting the incredible 1000 feet per mile ascent up Wyeth Ridge.

After climbing 3840' in the first four miles, you then keep left and descend 500 ft before regaining the elevation as you approach North Lake. The climb up the Wyeth Trail offers excellent vistas of the Columbia River Gorge. North Lake is a shallow little lake surrounded by forests and the cliffs of Green Point Ridge.

Continue on Trail #411 to the left. After another half mile you will break out into an open area where you get great views of Mt. Defiance to the east. Continue along a short distance and the trail will climb to a juntion to North Lake.

Here you could walk over and see the lake, but to get to Bear Lake, just continue on Trail #411. Ironically you will come to a road. After the winter snows melt, you can access this area via Forest Road 2820. For now, just bear to the left and follow the signs to Bear Lake. You will lose about 100' in elevation that you have to regain as you walk back out.

By the way, this lake bears this name for a good reason, no pun intended. Always be prepared for wildlife encounters. I recommend pepper spray for bears and cougars.

Bear Lake
Bear Lake

How to get there:

Wyeth Trailhead: Take I-84 to Exit #51/Wyeth. Turn south, then right onto Herman Creek Rd for 200 yards. Then turn left into the signed Wyeth campground. Follow trailhead signs to the far back of the campground to the parking lot.

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