ElevationAscent: 1,098' 335 m
Descent: -1,098' -335 m
High: 2,268' 691 m
Low: 1,875' 571 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 26% (15°)
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“A hike that traverses the length of the High Drive Bluff area. Mostly flat with great views in the middle.”— Phil Larkin
Features River/Creek · Views · Wildlife
Family Friendly This route has bathroom access at P.J. Park during off-winter months. At mile 3.0, you can hike a short trail up to Rocket Market for more refreshments and a restroom.
The Bluff parks have been described as a choose your own adventure book, where you can pick a new trail nearly every time you come out. There are 30 miles of trails built by intrepid mountain bikers and hiking fans over the years. While this may seem daunting, after a bit of exploring you'll find that this area is pretty easy to navigate. Don't worry about getting lost. A main road is above you and the creek below. If you feel lost: just hike up!
Need to Know
But if all the forks in the trail have you confused and you feel lost, don't worry! You really are always within at least a half mile to a road. In most places you can just keep taking trails that lead you up hill. You can quickly get to the main High Drive route and head back to your vehicle.
Within the first mile, you'll have some amazing views to the south as the trail closely follows the edge of the hillside. After just one switchback, you'll be at a main grade. You'll be on this easy grade for another three miles. Between mile 1-2, you'll experience some of the best views of the valley. At mile 2.4, you'll drop slightly and enter a thicker tree canopy. Generally this forest style will dominate the remainder of the route.
At mile 2.8, be sure to pay attention to the burnt vegetation. This fire ripped up the hill in 2014. Stop and listen for birds. This is a great spot for viewing birds. At mile 3, you enter a gulch that has some really impressive trees. There are a few monster Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine. If you want a break, head up the hill to Rocket Market.
At mile 4, you'll spot some power lines again. This marks your descent into a flat region of the park. This is a peaceful area that is popular with surrounding neighbors. You'll make a big loop here and start to head back north at mile 4.75. As you round the curve, you'll start the section of the hike that is much more dominated by the creek and golf course. If you are quiet, during the fall and spring, you might catch a glimpse of moose near mile 6. Great views of the creek pop up between mile 6-7.
The remainder of the hike is similar to the first few miles, but you are a few hundred feet lower than when you started. Around mile 9, you'll hit the trail you started on. Your trip back to the park will be mostly down hill from here.