Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday trail blogging: Larch Mountain, Oregon Cascades

During the summer and fall, the 4,000-ft. summit of Larch Mountain is easily accessible by road from Portland. In the winter and spring, it's an altogether different experience: skis or snowshoes are required. If the snow level is low, as it is now, a very long trek (6 miles or more, one way) may be required. The reward is an expansive view from the summit pinnacle, including Mt. Hood (above) to the east, the Columbia Gorge and the Washington Cascades to the north and the Willamette Valley and Portland (below) to the west. Skiers can finish the day with a glorious downhill run through dense forest that, on rare occasions, opens onto fresh clearcuts. [Warning: the road is open to snowmobiles and other off-road vehicles, but so far I've been lucky enough to avoid them.]

PHOTOS: M.J. O'Brien

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