Home Sports & Leisure PNW Hiking Munra Point

Munra Point

April 21, 2011

40-50's, Windy, Intermittent Rain

Hiking Stats- Elevation Gain= 1982 ft, Top elevation= 1740 ft, Round Trip mileage= 4.4 miles, hiking time was about 4 hours.

Munra Point is a hike in the Columbia River Gorge that is unlike most other hikes in the gorge. There aren't really any significant waterfalls to be seen here, and the hike is somewhat difficult compared to other hikes in the area. Barry and I considered hiking this a while back, but passed on it due to potential rain that day, which can make the hike much more difficult than it already is. It's also got quite a notorious reputation for a seemingly innocent hike of about 2000 elevation gain. Read this article to see what I mean. Heart Attack on Munra Point

Some parts of the hike are exposed and steep so it's typically only recommended to hike this in dry conditions. Some guidebooks go as far as to say only attempt when it's been dry for several days. In addition there is poison oak along the trail, but in the early season we didn't see any. Today it rained earlier, and rained on and off during our hike adding a level of difficulty. We almost turned around twice when some nasty clouds blew in dumping rain on us, but then the mini storms would clear as quickly as they showed up. So we decided to stay the course and see if we could at least get a view of the summit. The resulting hike was a little slippery, but exciting and fun with great views and pics from the top.

To see the video of us running around the Munra Point Saddle just click here to download. If you are using Firefox you may need to right click, and choose "save link as". Song credit goes to Johnny Cash.

Or if you can't get that to work there is a smaller embedded version uploaded to youtube which you can play here.

Moss covered handrail on a bridge.

Gorge Trail #400 gets you started.

Hiking trail #400.

Self Portrait on the trail.

Hiking through a forest of ferns.

After about 1.3 miles you make a left turn up the short and steep Munra Point Trailhead which is only marked by this sign.

An eerie view through the trees at the Columbia River.

Some weird white looking moss growing on the trees.

Another look at the Columbia.

Me hiking with the rain cover on my pack. We already considered turning around once when we got stuck in a downpour in the lower trees.

Chad looking up at the trail- if you can call it a trail.

A look back down the trail.

Some wildflowers overlooking the Columbia.

The Columbia with I-84 running alongside.

Just a little obstacle you have to ascend to reach the final ridge. There was a short but steep climb in between the trees on the left. Maybe about 20' total of climbing but not steep enough to need a rope. Pretty easy, unless it's raining...

Another look at the Columbia.

Chad climbing up that steep section.

Finally the summit makes an appearance.

Chad approaching the summit.

Chad climbing up to the Munra Point summit and highpoint.

A look over to the northernmost front point, which has the best view of the Bonneville Dam and Columbia River.

Looking back the way we came up, another storm is rolling in quickly.

More wildflowers overlooking the Columbia.

We skipped the front point, for now, and decided to err on the side of caution while this burst of rain pushed through. We initially made the summit and felt good about that, but the front point was only accessible by a long narrow knife-edge, which was very steep on both sides. When slippery that would be sketchy at best, so we downclimbed the earlier steep section which would be very difficult to descend in a downpour. We considered calling it a day, but decided to wait for a few minutes and enjoy the views.

The latest rainburst passed after about 5 minutes. This little climb was in a gulley somewhat sheltered from the elements so it stayed dry. We decided to go up again and give the front point one more try.

Chad climbing up again.

Here you can see just how steep the drop-off is if you slip. To reach the summit you had to skirt around the right side of this, to reach the front point you have to go around the left side. Both are sketchy, especially if they are wet and the shady part was a bit wet from all the rain.

Heading over to the front point.

Chad overcomes his fear of heights and crosses the saddle while mist from the earlier rain smokes up around him.

Fortunately I do not have a fear of heights, although I did feel like I was about to have a heart attack after climbing up that very steep trail to get here.

Bonneville Dam and Columbia River.

Close-up of the dam.

Hanging 10 on the saddle.

Chad says "forget my fear of heights", or something similar to that.

I decided to hike around to the other side to see what was over there. Here you can barely see Chad in the distance.

Zooming in for a dramatic picture you can see him clearer.

Another cool shot as I was skirting around the edge of this back ridge.

Chad took this picture looking back at the ridge I was crossing. You can see me in the middle balancing my way across. I considered climbing up that high ridge but there wasn't really a trail, and another storm was moving in. Time to go.

Yellow flower.

Chad downclimbing another steep section of the trail. Going back down was a little more difficult than we thought. Some sections of trail became muddy and slippery. Still nothing we couldn't handle, but I guess there is a reason they say to hike this trail when it's dry. I just kept in mind a recent quote I saw "adventure starts when something goes wrong".

We capped off a fun hike with some milk shakes and junk food from a local ice cream shop in Cascade Locks.

Home Sports & Leisure PNW Hiking Munra Point