What was originally a 3-day labor day weekend, came down to a day trip due to fire in the region. Here is what we ended up doing on a day-trip to Columbia River Gorge.
Below is the order of waterfalls we covered on a day-trip.
1. Latourell Falls:
● Start point: Latourell Falls Trailhead
● End Point: Upper Latourell Falls
● Distance: 2.4 miles round trip
● Elevation gain: 520 feet
This is the closest waterfall from Portland on the Columbia River Gorge.
You can completely skip the hike to the upper falls and just take a short 5-min stroll to the lower falls instead.
2. The Bridal Veil Falls
● Distance: 0.6 miles round trip
● Elevation gain: 70 feet
● Difficulty: Easy
You can access the waterfall base with a short swim if you can handle to the cold water.
3. Multnomah Falls
5 minute walk to the waterfall from the parking lot. One of the most visited waterfall in the gorge. That means, tons of traffic, heavily commercialized and way too many people. Plus the fact that we went on a long-weekend didn’t help with the crowd factor.
Yet, it is a very beautiful waterfall.
4. Wahkeena Falls
From Multnomah Falls, there is a 1-mile round-trip trail head to Wahkeena falls. Or you can actually drive up directly to Wahkeena falls too. But, we chose to walk and it appeared the area was under restoration with trail-closures. We barely saw the waterfall.
5. Horsetail Falls
Since we were staying at Cascade Locks that night, we just drove in that direction. Didn’t realize horsetail falls was along the road side. A nice surprise !!
There are picnic tables near the falls and few brave souls entering the cold water for a swim to the base.
We just stuck to wetting the feet.
After these waterfall visits, we came to know that someone set fire accidentally at the Eagle Creek area, where we were originally planned on camping. Next day morning, our plan was to hike to Punch-bowl waterfall. Due to the fire the hikers there were stranded. Instead of a short 1-mile return hike, they were forced to hike 18-miles to a safer place for rescue.
We were in awe of the fire as the day got darker, it was truly surreal to watch the red-blaze.
Here is a youtube video of what had happened.
After witnessing the fire, next day morning, we chose to leave the area and headed to the Oregon beaches instead. Hoping to go back and do more water-fall hikes in the future.
If you have time, there are over 90 or so waterfalls in the region and tons of hiking opportunities.
Here was our original plan :
There are state parks along the way with campgrounds.
Cascade Locks and Hood River are towns where you can find lot of motels to stay.