Columbia River Gorge, OR
Though it’s one of the most challenging hikes in this gorge full of taxing trails, the Ruckel Ridge Loop isn’t the most strenuous trek on our list: It’s just the one that will give you the best workout. On the way up, expect to climb to 3,700 feet in 3.8 miles through moss, old-growth Douglas fir, and basalt pillars. Be prepared to use your entire body when you reach The Catwalk, an exposed and narrow (it’s a foot wide in some places) rock with drops to both sides. Topping off at the Benson Plateau, the stiff walk down features sublime views of the Gorge and strolls through wildflower-filled meadows.
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