Archer Mountain loop
Dad and I turned north off of Highway 14 onto Smith-Cripe Road, drove to the end of Smith-Cripe, and parked at the big turn-around there. We hiked up the gated gravel road 1853 to a meadow, the road forks three ways in the meadow, we took the left fork which was the most traveled. I think it would have been easier if we took the middle fork (which had a sign labeling it 159), since we ended up bushwacking back to it then following it to where it approaches the creek that runs south along the west side of Archer Mountain.
At the creek we turned off the road and headed north up the basin on a faint way-trail on the west side of the creek. This way trail eventually led us to the north end of the basin which is a large, mossy, open, talus field with a wonderful waterfall at the north end. At the base of the waterfall are two interesting rock monoliths.
We scrambled up the large gully west of the waterfall, a trip report I had read said the gully is 50 degrees but my inclinometer read 35 - 40 degrees. We traversed east above the waterfall where we found a beautiful field of Camas Lilies. From the top of the waterfall we headed SE along the side of the N ridge of Archer, eventually gaining the top of the ridge where we found a very old logging road.
We followed the logging road south then east until it turned into a faint way trail that soon intersected with a well traveled trail that led to just SE of the summit of Archer Mountain. Here the trail splits, one fork leading to the summit of Archer (a nice ridge trail, and a pleasant but treed summit) and the other fork leads to a very impressive, exposed point with views of Hamilton Mountain, Beacon Rock, and Multnomah Falls.
We returned via a trail that runs down the south ridge of Archer Mountain, then traverses down the west side of Archer. This trail is very exposed at spots, has some scrambly sections, has nice views, and a couple pretty lily fields. The trail eventually leads to a logging road which turned out to be the right-most and faintest of the three forks in the road in the meadow that we started in.
All in all a surprising and beautiful trip. But even the sections of the trip with a trail are only for experienced people who are sure of their footing.
Columbia River Gorge
5 hours 29 minutes
1 hour 38 minutes ascending from end of Smith-Cripe Road to waterfall
1 hour 59 minutes ascending from waterfall to viewpoint SE of summit
27 minutes ascending from viewpoint SE of summit to summit of Archer Mountain
1 hour 9 minutes descending from summit of Archer Mountain to creek
16 minutes descending from creek to end of Smith-Cripe Road
Maple trees in Archer Waterfall basin
Monoliths below Archer Waterfall
Gully west of Archer Waterfall
Field of Camas Lilies above Archer Waterfall
Path to the viewpoint SE of the summit of Archer Mountain
Viewpoint SE of the summit of Archer Mountain
The viewpoint SE of the summit of Archer Mountain as seen from the trail on the S ridge of Archer Mountain
Lily field on the Archer Mountain trail
Chocolate Lily on the Archer Mountain trail
Copyright © 2022 Gabriel Deal.