Ruckel Ridge Hike/Run

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I took a run up Ruckel Ridge this afternoon against the impending threat of rain.  Run is a relative word, because the train rises so steeply that it is often faster and more economical to power-scramble on all fours.

The trail gains about 3700′ over the first 4.5 miles of the nine milke loop back to the car. In that space, it climbs up steep tree roots, and basalt rock piles, with the occasionally restful flat-ish piece of trail.  It made for a brutal run but would make for a fun hike.  It ends on the top of Benson Plateau, which was eerily silent and foggy as I crossed Ruckel Creek to descend the better maintained trail on it’s other side. 

It took me about 1 hr 35 min to complete the uphill.  I was pretty beat, but amused to find proudly marked 3.5 hr times carved into the broken trail sign at the top.  I guess I carve my mark here on the web instead. Unfortunately, the descent took me just as long, though the trail was better.  Occasionally runnable, it is eminently steep, and loses the same amount of elevation over only a slightly longer distance.  Iffy joints need not apply.

Running doggedly into a stone-filled meadow, I was surprised to discover a stone circle.  I have heard about these in the Gorge, these Native American relics.  I have heard various purposes ascribed to them, though google tells me nothing.  Further research is needed.  Standing tired in the eerie moonscape of this meadow, the lightness of hundreds of intervening years of human travel was striking. Long have people been there.  People in some ways like me, but also unimaginably different.

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Category: Running



  1. Nice man! I’ve been looking at that trail for awhile. I really want to get out to do the Elk-King Traverse before I leave for my trip. Best of luck at the 50k Monday! I’ll probably see you there.

    1. Tim- it’s a fun run for sure, but I certainly hit my max HR several times. Elk Mountain definitely involves more running per-se, though the climb is less fun and more hateful. I’m looking forward to and also a little bit apprehensive about the 50k. Introduce yourself if you see me!

  2. Fave hike/run in the gorge! The benson plateau is always so GORGEOUS that I just wanna live there.

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