View from Benson Plateau looking towards Washington (photographer: John Carr)
Trail Description Driving DirectionsStarting 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 oregonhikers.org.
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Post-Fire Gorge Hiking Opportunities
These trails and recreation areas in and around the Gorge are open for exploring.