This may be the first occurrence of a hike so amazing that I did it two weekends in a row.
First, on a drizzly, gloomy day in Oregon with my friend, Emma. I found the hike the day before, kind of read the description, and assumed I could check the details again on my phone once we got to the parking lot. Naturally, that was the day that my phone completely stopped working outside of our apartment, so I just hoped for the best. Luckily, Emma was very trusting in my navigation skills and followed me down what we hoped was the right trail. We hiked through a ton of mud, over and around fallen trees, and up quite a few switchbacks before arriving at an amazing point with views of the Columbia River Gorge. Within minutes of getting there, we got caught in a hail storm and opted to turn around, assuming the view couldn’t get much better.
When I got home, I read a little more about the trail (thanks, Internet connection!) and determined that Emma and I definitely didn’t reach the best viewpoint or even come close to the end of the trail. So Eric and I returned to Munra Point the next weekend, determined to reach the top. Of course, in the week between these hikes, Munra Point, which I had never heard of until the day before the hike with Emma, suddenly appeared on literally every single Pacific Northwestern Instagram account (this photo, in particular). So Eric and I (world’s biggest crowd haters) opted to start our hike just before sunrise to beat the crowds. We managed to have the whole trail to ourselves, which was extra wonderful because of how embarrassingly difficult that hike turned out to be.
The trail starts out easy enough, despite the number of huge fallen trees cutting across the path, requiring a bit of tricky climbing for those of us cursed with short limbs. Then the switchbacks begin, which are certainly the best way to warm up on a chilly morning (read: so sweaty). Once you hit the first viewpoint (where Emma and I turned around), it’s basically impossible not to proclaim, “Wow!” as you see the mountains lining the sides of the Columbia River. From there, the real challenge begins, as you scramble up lots of rocks and walk some incredibly narrow paths that drop off the mountain on both sides.
I’m sharing this embarrassing photo with you because while it looks like I’m just stretched out on the ground, I’m actually climbing a very steep rock wall. #pleasebeimpressed
Once we finally made our way up the rocks, we were rewarded with views of Mount Adams, the Gorge, and the smaller mountains all around. Not too shabby.
The clouds didn’t exactly provide perfect photo/video conditions, but Eric brought his drone on the hike and got some neat shots of the area from the sky.
What you can’t tell in this video is that I’m discovering my fear of heights and trying so hard just to put one foot in front of the other.
Climbing down the trail proved to be the trickiest part of the hike, I think. I reverted to my “all 5 on the ground” form of hiking, where both hands, both feet, and my bum have contact with the ground to assure I’m not falling anywhere. It’s super cool.
For some really good directions for this 7-ish-mile hike, check out Outdoor Project’s guide. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this hike on a rainy day (slippery rocks = danger zone), with dogs, or with kids. Northwest Forest Pass required. Porta-potties in the parking area. Get there early to get a parking spot.