Swedish FlagJohann & SandraAmerican Flag



Sports & Leisure Pacific NW



Slide Shows

Site Map


eagle creek
Oregon Hiking Trails
Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge Waterfall Hikes

Other Gorge Hikes

Oregon Hiking Trails

Hiking Guides

Washington Backpacking Trips

Backpacking Features

Oregon Camping

Camping Guides

More Outdoor Sports

Pacific Northwest



Gillette Lake

Hiked:   May, 2003
Length:   5 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain:   300 feet
USGS Quad:   Bonneville Dam
GPS Coordinates:    N: N: 45 40' 05"
 W: 121 56' 35"
Photo Gallery:   Gillette Lake Photo Gallery

Start Your Free Trial Today!

To Reach (From Portland):

Take I-84 eastbound to Cascade Locks and cross the Bridge of the Gods.  The toll is $1.00 per vehicle each way.  Turn left on Highway 14 for 2 miles to the Bonneville trailhead on the right.  You can park here, and walk a short ways up to a gated gravel road to a sign marked "PCT".

The Trail:

The Bonneville Trailhead is well-known as the gateway to Table Mountain, a popular training hike for mountaineers.  There are shorter and much easier alternatives to the 15.1-mile, 3500-foot elevation gain Table Mountain, such as the 5-mile round trip to Gilette Lake. 

The trail takes off through a stretch of Douglas Fir and vine maple, rising only slightly, making for a nice, calm beginning.  After 0.6 miles, you'll hit the Pacific Crest Trail, where you want to take a left.  At around 1.7 miles, you'll emerge from the forest and enter a clear-cut. 

Traverse the clear-cut, trying to follow the faint trail in this area, until you hit a gravel road.  Cross the road, and descend to Gillette Lake, a questionable green color.  With all the clearcut around, one questions what might cause the brilliant green tint...  The lake is peaceful, and stocked with fish and ducks.

You can continue from here another 1.3 miles across a creek and up to Greenleaf Overlook, or another 5 miles or so to massive Table Mountain.  We opted to turn back here, and make a short day out of it.

Our Take:

We set out from the Bonneville Trailhead, enjoying the quick pace the flat trail provided us.  We entered the clearcut, finding it to be quite ugly, and headed over to the lake.  The lake was full of fish, and several ducks, and we headed down to the shore to relax for a bit. 

We continued over a creek, thinking that we might head up to Greenleaf Overlook, but then the rain started.  Light at first, the rain soon became a torrential downpour.  Thunder rolled and lightning flashed all around us as we ran down the trail, trying to get across the clearcut to cover.  The lightning was hitting the ground so close we could almost feel it, as we bolted across the exposed hillside.

We were completely drenched in moments, but we didn't care, as we were only thinking of how not to get struck by lightning!  There was no delay after a bolt of lightning before the thunder, as it was on top of us.  Eventually, after sprinting a mile and a half in the downpour, we made it into the forest.  The lightning began to subside, but the downpour continued.

Drowned rats, we reached the trailhead at last, perhaps setting an all-time record for speed down the trail.  Almost immediately as we reached the car, the clouds parted, and the warm sun shone down on us, revealing blue skies overhead.  That figured, we thought...

This trail was pretty unimpressive, considering the wealth of fabulous trails in the Columbia River Gorge.  We may try it again to head up to Table Mountain, but we wouldn't hike this stretch again anytime soon.  Most of the trail was clearcut, with limited views.  Not what you want to hike with all the options available...


Related Sites



This site has been visited  times since August, 2001.
To properly view this site, click
here to download the necessary fonts.
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for this site,  or would like to suggest a link, please
Contact Us.
2001-2014 JS Web Design - All Rights Reserved.