Turn north from the Columbia River Gorge at Hwy 141 and start your ascent of the majestic, and less-crowded, Mt. Adams.
Getting all the way to the top, however, can take a lot of time and resources. Climbers and hikers spend multiple days reaching the summit to acclimatize their bodies to the altitude. Many chose routes that require extensive technical gear and knowledge of avalanche and alpine climbing. Even when hiking in the summer when there is less snow, the ascent can make for a brutal day.
Several smaller mountains near the base of Mt. Adams provide that epic, sweeping view of the Columbia Gorge and surrounding volcanoes, without the ridiculous time and gear commitment (there is always another day).
Sleeping Beauty, a distinct rock outcrop on the southwestern side of Mt. Adams, fits perfectly in between a whitewater rafting trip and winery visit for the visiting adventure junkie. While only 1.4 miles to reach the vista pay-off, you’ll work for it. Keeping a good pace, your calves will remind you later that you climbed up. Approximately 1,400 feet up actually.
Each footstep, of course, is worth it.
You’ll begin to feel close once the under story plants become more diverse, signifying your entrance into an Old Growth Forest. Fallen trees look like sleeping, wounded giants, once part of the great army of massive trunks surrounding the trail.
Soon snapshots of Mt Adams and the valleys far below peak through the trees. Rocks begin to dominate the landscape during the final switchbacks to the rocky pinnacle known as Sleeping Beauty.
Hopefully you brought some good karma and the skies present cinema-quality views of Mount St Helens, Mt Adams, Mt Hood and even Rainier.
Perhaps you’ve even timed it with an creamscicle sunset, breaking open the bottle of wine from last night’s winery visit.
At roughly 1.5 hr. round trip, this hike works perfectly for a morning or afternoon addition to a longer activity in the gorge. Local experts and Collection fact checkers recommend combining the Sleeping Beauty hike with kayaking or rafting one of the many sections of the White Salmon River: Farmlands, Green Truss, Middle White Salmon or Lower White Salmon.
Following the White Salmon River through the small town of Husum on Hwy 141, continue pass the orchards and wineries until the dense forest begins to rapidly grow around you.
You should be entering another small town, Trout Lake. Mt. Adams should be looking pretty close right about now.
Pass the Mt. Adams Ranger Station and turn right onto Trout Lake Creek Rd. After a while, keep right at a fork to take NFS Rd 010. The road will becomes NFS Rd 8810. (Consequently, the left fork will get you to the same place eventually).
Relax, taking in the thick woods now swallowing your little car. Eventually you will turn right (virtually the only right turn option) onto NFS Rd. 040. The trailhead is on the left (#37), parking on the right, about 1/4 mile ahead.