Benson Plateau Loop
Central Gorge, Oregon
View from Benson Plateau looking towards Washington (photographer: John Carr)
Hike Details
Out to a loop and back
16.2 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
4080 feet
Trail Features
Family Friendly:
Trailhead Pass:
Trail Details
Starting at the Herman Creek Trailhead, climb up the Herman Creek Trail through a power line clearing to a junction with the Herman Creek Bridge Trail. Turn right and follow the Trail downhill less than half of a mile to the bridge, then climb almost 500 feet to a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. Once on the PCT, you'll climb from 960 feet to about 3700 feet in elevation in the first 2.7 miles. At the 2000 feet level, you'll enter the Hatfield Wilderness Area. Shortly thereafter, the trail flattens onto the summit of the Benson Plateau.
Continue south another 1 1/2 miles and pass a first junction with the Benson Way Trail, then a second junction with the Benson Ruckel Trail (#405A). Turn right and follow the Benson Ruckel Trail ~1 mile to the Ruckel Creek-Benson Ruckel Trail Junction.  Turn left here, and follow Ruckel Creek Trail about half a mile across the upper reaches of Ruckel Creek to a junction with the Benson Spur Trail. From here, head south on the Benson Spur Trail to a junction with the Benson Way Trail. Turn right here and you'll be heading back north on the Benson Way Trail. This trail skirts the west side of the plateau with views of Larch Mountain. It's 2.3 miles back to the PCT, crossing the Ruckel Creek Trail again at Hunter's Camp. Once you arrive at the PCT, it's an easy trek back down.
- Hike descriptions were collaboratively written with the generous support of

Directions & Travel Tips

Herman Creek Trailhead:  From the west, travel on I-84 to Exit #44/Cascade Locks. At the stop sign turn right/east and follow Wa-Na-Pa street through town. Continue under the freeway and turn left/east on Frontage Road (on the south side of the freeway) to the Herman Creek Campground sign. From the east, take Exit #44/Cascade Locks. Immediately turn left and travel under the freeway. Turn left/east onto Frontage Road (on the south side of the freeway) to the Herman Creek Campground sign. Follow the narrow, paved road that goes up to the campground (to the left) and trailhead (to the right). There is room to park at the trailhead, and along the road towards the campground, but don't block the campsites in the campground. Sometimes in the winter the gate is closed but you can park along Frontage Road. Hike up the 1/2 mile paved road to the trailhead.