Backpacker Magazine Vancouver, WA: Table Mountain via Pacific Crest Trail 

Follow the Pacific Crest Trail across wooded creeks and steep rock gardens to a broad summit overlooking the Columbia River Gorge on this strenuous 15-mile out-and-back.

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Author: Backpacker Magazine
Date: 14 Jun 2008 5:25:11 PM
Activity: Hiking
State: Washington (WA)
Distance: 7.53 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 4493 ft
Total Loss: 1314 ft
Net Change: 3179 ft
Difficulty: 7 / 10
USGS Topo Map: Bonneville Dam
Tags: Columbia River Gorge, Pacific Crest Trail, Portland, Stevenson, Vancouver, Washington
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

This challenging trek to Table Mountain gains 3,300 feet of elevation in 7.5 miles and starts 35 miles east of Vancouver at the Bonneville Trailhead. Follow Tamanous Trail for the first 0.6 mile before turning onto the Pacific Crest Trail. The route weaves through dense old-growth forest and clear-cut areas, passing campsites (popular with PCT thru-hikers) to views of Gillette Lake. A small creek at mile 2.7 offers a good place to filter water and soak your feet on hot days—views of the Columbia River Gorge follow shortly. After 5.9 miles, tackle the stiff, switchback climb up root- and rock-strewn slopes, then scramble up a steep boulder field. From here, the route climbs another 0.2 mile to the broad summit of Table Mountain. Traverse southeast along the ridge for growing views of the Columbia River Gorge, Bonneville Dam, and a close-up of Mount Hood.

-Mapped by Trung Q. Le

TO TRAILHEAD: Take WA 14 E to North Bonneville, WA. Continue east on WA 14 for 2 miles to parking area on left side of road (marked by a sign for Bonneville Trail). Note: A Northwest Forest Pass is required for the parking area.

Position Format: Datum:

Table Mountain

Distance: 7.53 mi Points: 489
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi

Points of Interest


Location: 45.650425, -121.932709
From the trailhead at the east end of the parking lot, follow the gravel road for 20-30 yards to its intersection with Tamanous Trail. Continue straight onto Tamanous Trail (the gravel road forks to the left). Ahead, the trail travels under the covering of old-growth trees, offering very little views of the surrounding area.


Location: 45.653248, -121.926254
Turn left @ T-intersection onto the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Continue hiking through old-growth forest. Within a mile or so, the trail travels across numerous clear-cut areas.


Location: 45.667397, -121.941765
The trail intersects a gravel road. Turn right (northwest) and walk up the road for roughly 20 yards to reconnect with the trail on the left-hand side of the road. Look for the PCT emblem marking the trail. The trail leaves the clear-cut area behind and winds through thick old growth. Ahead, views of Gillette Lake peek through the trees below.


Location: 45.668541, -121.945427
Walk past numerous established campsites along the shore of Gillette Lake, home to golden trout. These campsites are popular with PCT thru-hikers. Powerlines can be seen overhead. Look to the west for views of Hamilton Mountain through the trees.


Location: 45.668570, -121.946762
Cross a small footbridge over a small creek (a good place to filter water or soak your feet on a hot day). Although the creek is only 5 feet wide and very shallow, it makes for a nice rest spot under the shade of the trees.


Location: 45.668003, -121.948105
Continue straight @ the 4-way intersection with the gravel road. Ahead, the trail intersects numerous gravel roads. Look for cairns marking the path, as well as the PCT emblem. Views of the Columbia River Gorge can be seen to the south.


Location: 45.667484, -121.949883
Turn right @ intersection with the gravel road. Walk along the road for 10-20 feet to rejoin the trail (look for cairns and the PCT emblem). Trail winds through clear-cut area.


Location: 45.668926, -121.955971
An unnamed lake can be seen through the trees.


Location: 45.668228, -121.956665
Continue straight, crossing the gravel road.


Location: 45.667992, -121.957695
Cross a footbridge over Greenleaf Creek. The trail leaves the gravel roads and clear-cut areas and passes through old growth once again.


Location: 45.664986, -121.968970
Turn left and follow road for 10 feet, then bear right to continue on the PCT.


Location: 45.666621, -121.971545
At the small forest road, the trail continues ahead to the right (marked by the PCT emblem).


Location: 45.665798, -121.976517
Cross a large footbridge. Stop on the bridge for views of the creek rushing over moss-covered rocks.


Location: 45.672783, -121.979055
The trail intersects a forest road. Hike north up the forest road, and bear left at the fork in the road. The unmarked trail on the right is closed due to erosion (tree branches are placed across the path).


Location: 45.678574, -121.978561
Bear right onto Heartbreak Ridge Trail @ 3-way intersection. Leave the PCT behind. Next, hike through a corridor of dense trees and brushes, offering very little views. Prepare for a stiff, lung-crushing, quad-burning climb up a very steep section of trail covered in loose dirt, roots, and rocks. Don't be fooled by the switchbacks (4-5 feet long), they do little to ease the steepness of the climb. Caution: Wet conditions make this stretch difficult.


Location: 45.687752, -121.982468
Scramble up a rock garden bordered by thick forest. Watch your footing on loose rocks (slick when wet). The route continues north to Table Mountain's summit ridge.


Location: 45.689184, -121.981673
At the top of the boulder field, reconnect with the trail located to the left of the rock garden.


Location: 45.690720, -121.981041
The trail crests Table Mountain's broad summit ridge. Turn right @ the T-intersection. Traverse the ridge, heading southeast. Look south for views of the Columbia River Gorge, Bonneville Dam and Cascade Locks, not to mention the close-up of Mount Hood.


Location: 45.689453, -121.977501
Views of the Columbia River Gorge extend to east from this vantage point. Turn around and retrace steps to the trailhead.


Location: 45.651908, -121.926827
The trail travels under the covering of old growth. ©Trung Q. Le

Fern Undergrowth

Location: 45.654818, -121.930261
©Trung Q. Le

Mossy Forest

Location: 45.659168, -121.933479
©Trung Q. Le

Gillette Lake

Location: 45.668585, -121.943114
©Trung Q. Le


Location: 45.668525, -121.946762
©Trung Q. Le

Bridge Crossing

Location: 45.665616, -121.976223
©Trung Q. Le

Rock Garden Climb

Location: 45.687565, -121.982317
©Trung Q. Le

Views from the Rock Garden

Location: 45.689124, -121.981695
Views to the southwest atop the Rock Garden. ©Trung Q. Le


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