Steep and demanding, this 5.8 mile trail rewards with scenic views, wildflower displays, lichen covered rocks and Indian pits as it climbs up one of the southern faces of the Columbia Gorge. The trail forks after the forested Benson Plateau. The trail on the right side (past a “Trail Not Maintained” sign) provides a lunch spot and turnaround point next to Ruckel Creek.
Alert! Side trail Ruckel Ridge is NOT a system trail so it is not maintained or marked. Eagle-Benson Trail #434 is not maintained so it is very difficult to follow and not a recommended connection between Ruckel and Eagle Creek #440.
At a Glance
Expect snow and ice on trail. First 3.5 miles last cleared of logs in 2016.
From Portland, OR: Travel east on Interstate 84 to Eagle Creek exit # 41. Turn right, drive past the fish hatchery and park in the day use area.
Hike 0.1 mile (0.2 km) up the road toward Eagle Creek Campground. Take Gorge Trail #400 for 0.5 mile (0.8 km) to the junction of Trail #405, which starts alongside an abandoned Historic Columbia River Highway bridge on the east side of Ruckel Creek.
This more challenging hike winds through a variety of habitats and spectacular views.
The trail provides fantastic cliff-top views of the Bridge of the Gods, Table Mountain, and Mount Adams.
From April through May, the climb to Benson Plateau passes moss-covered rock slides dotted with wildflowers. Trail also passes through old-growth forest.