Hike: Ramona Falls

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A classic Oregon hike, now with added danger thanks to a flash flood. Here’s how we managed with a dog and a baby.

This post might be a little late, but I really wanted to share our family adventure out to Ramona Falls on Mt. Hood a couple weeks ago.  This is a really popular hike, and for good reason: it’s a great length at 7 miles, the elevation gain is fairly small and the falls at the end are fantastic.  But there is a problem…

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In August of 2014, a flash flood washed out the footbridge across the Sandy River.  It still has not been replaced, so you have to find your own way across the river.  In the summer, when the water is low and the weather is warmer this is probably fairly easy.  But once the rains begin, the waters rise and it can be difficult (And I’d imagine occasionally impossible) to get across.  We did this a couple weeks ago (beginning of October) before the recent heavy rains, so it was still fairly easy to find a route across some logs.  That said, we did it with a baby in a backpack and a dog, so we were incredibly cautious, many adults scurried across the river with no problem.  But seriously, be careful. The rushing water is not to be taken lightly.  

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Our route across. The parallel log provided a hand hold nearly the entire way.

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For those who might be interested, here is how we did this with a baby and dog:  I went first with the dog on a very short leash.  We walked slowly across the log to the other side of the river.  I released his leash, he hopped to safety (he hates water so he was happy to get out of the way).  I went back across the river to help my husband get up onto the log.  He was carrying Brigitte in a backpack.  He walked across the log, maintaining 3 points of contact at all times.  Once on the other side, I helped him get back on the ground.  

The river crossing is about a mile into the hike, after that the trail splits into the balloon route.  One side parallels a ridge overlooking the Sandy River basin, the other, a gorgeous mountain stream.  At the falls there is plenty of room to sit and have lunch while admiring the falls and the beautiful trees.  Or if you are two years old, run around.    

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Picnic area at the falls. Waterfall is just out of view to the left of the bridge.

It’s also a great place for conversation as Ramona Falls is on both the Pacific Crest and the Timberline Trails (We hiked Timberline about 5 years ago, you can read about it here).  I think it’s fun to chat with the backpackers, I spoke with one man in the middle of week-long trek from Willamette Pass (Near Salem) to Cascade Locks.  

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We all made it back to the car in once piece, baby, dog and parents tired and happy.  This is a classic Oregon hike so I hope they repair the bridge soon (Unfortunately, word on the street is that it will never be repaired), but in the meantime, be prepared for an adventure if you hike Ramona Falls.

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RAMONA FALLS
7 MILES
TRAILHEAD AND DETAILED HIKE DIRECTIONS

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