Herman Creek to Mud Lake
Central Gorge, Oregon
Herman Creek (photographer: Debbie Asakawa)
Hike Details
Out and back
18 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
4564 feet
Trail Features
Family Friendly:
Trailhead Pass:
Trail Details

Fire Impacts

This trail was impacted by the 2017 Eagle Creek fire. We encourage hikers to be extra alert when hiking in burned areas in the Gorge. Falling trees, landslides, and debris flows are more likely in the burned areas because of unstable soil due to less vegetation to hold it in place.

Creating a World-Class Trekking Network Encircling the Gorge

Learn more about the initiative to create a 200-mile loop trail network in the Gorge.

On the Trail

The Herman Creek trailhead is one of the best starting points in the Gorge, because it’s less crowded than other trailheads, with many out-and-back and loop options. This hike travels 9 miles and gains 4,000 feet as it travels up the Herman Creek drainage to Mud Lake, a small, shallow lake surrounded by Tomlike Mountain, Green Point Mountain, and Waucoma Ridge. The hike returns along the same route (or via a similar-length loop) and gains 564 feet on the return, for a total elevation gain of 4,564 feet and 18 miles round trip. It travels through fir and oak forest, and past waterfalls on the way to a peaceful destination.

Permits & Pets

This site is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. A Northwest Forest Pass is required and can be purchased here. Dogs must be on leash. Sections of the trail are within the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness. Wilderness restrictions apply.

Trail Notes

  • From the Herman Creek trailhead, begin hiking the Herman Creek Trail (Trail 406). At 0.6 mile, keep left on Trail 406 where the Herman Creek Bridge Trail (Trail 406E) forks off to the right. The Herman Creek Trail turns into a shaded, mostly smooth logging road; keep to the main trail, ignoring side trails or overgrown logging roads. Herman Creek can be heard far below.
  • In 1.3 miles, where Gorge Trail 400 and Gorton Creek Trail (Trail 408) come in on the left, stay on Trail 406. In another 0.1 mile, the Nick Eaton Trail (Trail 447) comes in on the left. Again, stay right on Trail 406, and pass by several waterfalls.
  • At 3.8 miles from the trailhead, the Casey Creek Trail (Trail 476) comes in on the left. At a campsite here is a short, steep trail off to the right that leads down toward Herman Creek and through one of the largest stands of old-growth forest in the Gorge. Stay on Trail 406 another 0.2 mile to the crossing of Casey Creek.
  • From Casey Creek, continue the gentle climb toward Mud Lake, along the east fork of Herman Creek. At 7 miles, come to the Herman Creek Cutoff Trail (Trail 410) on the left. At this point, the elevation gain is 3,120 feet.
  • Stay on the Herman Creek Trail. Travel 1.9 more miles and gain another 900 feet and come to the Mud Lake Trail (Trail 406A). Turn left here. Emerge from the trees on the short walk to Mud Lake, the source of the east fork of Herman Creek. Enjoy lunch at the campsite on the trail near the lake. Above the east shoreline are the scree slopes of Green Point Mountain, which rises about 1,000 feet above the lake. There is no trail around the marshy lake, one of 16 “Mud Lakes” within Oregon.
  • After enjoying the lake, retrace the route to the start.
  • Please always stay on the trail and clean your boots before and after you hike. Hikers and their dogs are common vectors for spreading invasive seeds.
  • Restrooms are located at the trailhead.

Post-hike Explorations

Find brewpubs and restaurants by retracing the drive from the trailhead into Cascade Locks. Ice cream, beer, pizza, salmon chowder, and other hearty fare await along WaNaPa Street. On the riverfront is a brewpub and cafe at the Port of Cascade Locks Visitor Center at Marine Park.

Other Hikes from This Trailhead

Directions & Travel Tips

Eastbound I-84: Take exit 44/Cascade Locks, and head straight (east) on WaNaPa Street through town for 1.4 miles, cross under I-84, and turn left on Frontage Road. Drive 1.7 miles and turn right on Herman Creek Road.

Westbound I-84: Take exit 44/Cascade Locks, and immediately turn left, passing under I-84. Turn left on Frontage Road and drive 1.7 miles to Herman Creek Road. Turn right. In winter, the gate may be closed. If so, park along Frontage Road and walk the paved road 0.4 mile to the trailhead. If the road is open, follow it to the Herman Creek trailhead, on the right. Park here or along the road by the campground. Restrooms are located at the trailhead.