You will have Beautiful lookout points for Mount Hood, Mount Adams, and the Columbia River Gorge. Bring a camera because the views are amazing.

This ridge is one of the lesser known paths from the Eagle Creek Trailhead. Instead of taking Ruckel Creek Trail, find the trail leading up Ruckel Ridge. It is a far more difficult hike of about 7 miles leading up to Benson Plateau. Along the way there are beautiful lookout points for Mount Hood, Mount Adams, and the Columbia River Gorge. This is one of my favorite hikes I've ever done, everything about it: the difficulty, scenery, photography opportunities.

The trail includes several rock faces which must be climbed, along with some steep inclines. The consistent incline does not stop for the duration of the hike. It begins from the Eagle Creek Trailhead. Head east up toward the high camp ground, then follow signs for Gorge trail 400, then find signs between campsites 5 and 6 for Buck Point Trail.

This is about as difficult as a hike can get before it has to be called something else. Do not attempt with dogs, kids, anyone who is afraid of heights, uncomfortable with rock climbing, or out of shape. Expect this hike to take about an entire day before you link in with the PCT on the plateau.

There are a few campsites along the trail, but no resources. There will not be other water or food sources along the way. The total hike, if the loop is completed will take 2-3 days of moderate paced hiking. If the loop is completed, there are several waterfalls as well. So swimming gear is great for the summer or early fall.

Pack List

  • Overnight supplies
  • Plenty of food and water sources
  • Photography equipment, as there are some breathtaking views
  • Swimming gear
  • Rock climbing gear isn't necessary, but may help
  • You may want to pack light, as this is a steep incline
Show More
RT Distance 9 Miles
Elevation Gain 3700 Feet
Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Advanced
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Features
Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Fantastic Hike! ...So Why the Hype?

This is a great hike with lots of fantastic scenery and cool rock formations but it's not the ultimate challenge you're making it out to be. True, you'll ascend ~3.8k ft of elevation and cover 9-10 miles but you'll find similar (or more impressive) stats on tons of hikes in any mountainous area. There's no rock climbing, and the ridge traverse (while super cool!) isn't steep or very high off the ground; it's even surrounded by trees. Reasonably fit hikers can complete it in 6-7 hours.

Be prepared

The Ruckle Ridge Hike is not for the faint of heart (bye far the hardest hike in the whole Columbia River Gorge area). DO NOT ATTEMPT UNLESS YOU ARE VERY WELL CONDITIONED. But for those that do have the ability to tackle it this is an amazing adventure, complete with boulder scrambling, river crossings, and amazing views of the Gorge, Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. Be sure to bring a large amount of water and good griping boots.

almost 2 years ago

Round Two?

Ruckel Ridge was nothing less than tremendous in every way. I came unprepared, lacked the necessary conditioning, and eventually found myself fatigued half way through. HOWEVER, finding the end was one of the most satisfying moments I've ever experienced. Every true Oregon hiker must take a crack at this beast.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Hike to Mossy Grotto Falls

575 Saves

Backpack the Mark. O Hatfield Wilderness Via Eagle Creek

201 Saves

Photograph Ruckel Creek Falls

139 Saves