Skip to main content

Columbia River Gorge Backpacking

Challenge Level: Moderate Intensity

The Steppin’ Out backpacking trip is one of our best experiences for scenic beauty. We will be exploring the Mount Hood National Forest during the experience. This is a more demanding activity physically but no specific backpacking experience is required, just the ability, and excitement, to hike for long days with a heavy pack. Specifically, we will be exploring the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness in Hood River Ranger District. The district spans the North, East, and part of the South side of Mt Hood about an hour east of Portland. This Eagle Creek Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the area with multiple waterfalls and views running along the mountain river. During this approximately 14-mile moderate backpacking experience, you will have beautiful views of mountains, rivers, creeks, and streams as you hike and sleep along the Eagle Creek Trail. Your team will stop at popular stops like Punchbowl Falls, High Bridge, and side-hikes like summiting Chinidere Mountain. Your team also has the opportunity to explore nearby viewpoints along the drive back to campus on the last day.

During this experience, you will be backpacking in a variety of terrain. While backpacking you will be carrying all the items in a 55L to 70L backpack. You and your team will be sharing group camping equipment and food, along with carrying your own personal items. Even though this is a moderate intensity experience you are not expected to have backpacked before. This can be your first backpacking experience as a beginner backpacker. Our leaders will provide the appropriate instruction as needed. This experience will be at a moderate intensity from a physical standpoint. You do not need to have any outdoor experience. We do hope you will be at a moderate fitness level to participate because you will be backpacking several miles a day with a pack weighing 25 to 35 lbs. To prepare, it's a good idea to do some physical activities such as swimming, hiking, backpacking, walking, or biking for successive days during the summertime prior to your arrival. More importantly, please get plenty of rest and hydrate prior to this trip. Above all, have a great attitude and willingness to learn.

Cost: $450, Financial assistance available

Click the backpacking menu to learn more about this trip.
Register Here
Willamette University

Jump Start

Putnam University Center, Second Floor
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6463 voice
503-370-6407 fax