View from Table Mountain summit (photographer: Debbie Asakawa)
Trail Description Driving DirectionsStart this hike at the Bonneville Trailhead, on the Tamanous Trail. From the parking lot, start out on a gravel road, but quickly divert up a wooded path that leads straight uphill. Soon, you will come to a nice viewpoint to the south, overlooking the river just east of Bonneville Dam. About 1/2 mile up the trail, you'll come to a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail (#2000). Turn left to head northwest.
In ~1 mile, you'll come to a clear-cut area as the trail turns sharply to the right. Some of this land is privately owned, so while access is approved, it is not recommended you divert far from the trail. As you approach Gillette Lake, you will head up the right side of a dried-up creek valley and begin to gain more elevation. The trail eventually empties out onto a forest road. The lake is on the other side of the road, downhill and just out of view. Look for where the trail picks back up as it heads downhill. You'll see the lake on your left. Gillette Lake is a natural lake.
Continue down the hill and look for a small spur to the left. It takes you to a nice lakeside campsite. The lake is stocked with golden trout and there are often ducks as well, particularly in the winter. Deer are common around dusk, feeding in the clear-cuts. There is a view of Hamilton Mountain is to the west.
Back on the PCT, continue up to the Greenleaf Viewpoint for a great view of the Columbia River Gorge. Further on, you'll cross an abandoned road that today forms the Greenleaf Trail. Turning right here would lead you to Greenleaf Falls; for this hike, continue straight ahead. Soon, the trail contours across a ridge above Carpenters Lake. The PCT-Aldrich Bypass Trail soon parallels the PCT and then intersects ~ 1 mile from Carpenter Lake. You can take either path north from here as they intersect again about 150 yards farther north.
From this 2nd junction take the PTC northward as it climbs the west side of Table Mountain. ~ 1/2 mile later, you'll come to the Heartbreak Ridge Trail. This is a newly reopened second route to the summit of Table Mountain. The new route follows the old Eastway Trail for some distance up the mountain, and then swerves onto a new path up a steep talus slope. The Heartbreak Ridge Trail is quite rugged, so for this hike stay on the Crest Trail for ~ another 1/2 mile to the West Table Mountain Trail.
There are several different routes here, and the trail is a bit of a maze. The trail reaches the Table Mountain Lower Viewpoint, a large flat area, about a half mile above the Crest Trail. On a clear day, there are great views of Bonneville Dam and Cascade Locks. Here, the trail alternates between small timbered patches and open hillsides. The open areas are mostly right on the edge of a cliff and have great views to the west. Eventually, there are a couple of switchbacks through a talus area and some interesting pits that may have Native American origins. The trail passes another rocky area with a cairn marker. Soon after this, the trail comes to a fork. Go straight ahead to the open North Viewpoint, where there are views of Mount St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Rainier. Return to the fork and head south.
Next you will come to a flat stretch. Table Mountain is well named because the summit is as flat as a table. The main trail heads south and crisscrosses to the summit, and then drops through open meadows. The south edge features views of the cliffs framing the landslide, as well as views of the Columbia Gorge, and Mt. Hood. Enjoy the summit views and then return the way you came.
Hike by Bus! The Skamania County WET Bus stops at this trailhead. Plan your next trip using this service with our suggested hike itinerary. Learn more. + Read More