It just keeps going up!
This is a tough hike to the top of Nesmith Point on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. This trail is not particularly scenic: there are no waterfalls along the way and no panoramic views from the top. What it does offer though, is a great opportunity to challenge yourself during its relentless climb to the top.
From the parking lot, head up the hill past the water tank and take an immediate right onto Nesmith Point Trail. Typically, most people continue straight towards Elowah Falls or Upper McCord Creek Falls, so you should experience some solitude unlike most other gorge hikes.
Nesmith Point Trail doesn't mess around and begins heading uphill from the very beginning. The trail winds its way up the foothills towards the base of the basalt cliffs that line the gorge. Soon the trail will switchback at a small creek and begins to head uphill in earnest. The trail contours along hillside briefly, then enters a break in the basalt cliffs and begins to follow a drainage steeply up hill. For the next 2 miles you will switchback repeatedly as the trail gains about 2,000 feet.
After what feels like an eternity, the trail will reach the top of the drainage and begin to gradually level out. The hard part is now over and you can enjoy the (slightly) more level terrain as the trail winds towards the back of Nesmith Point. In just over a mile you will encounter a marked junction for Horsetail Creek Trail #425 at a 4x4 road. Turn right at the junction here and hike the last .2 miles to the top of Nesmith Point. Arriving at the end of the trail is a bit of a letdown as the area is heavily forested and doesn't have many good views. There are a couple of use trails that wind past the remains of the old outhouse, but they are not really worth the extra effort. Rest your legs for the return trip- because its all downhill on the way back!
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.