White River West (Snowshoe)

Directions: Take Highway 26 past Government Camp and get onto Highway 35. Follow 35 for about 4 mile or so until you reach the White River West Sno-Park on your left.

We would recommend not parking along the edge of the parking area near the trail going up the snowbank. Many people were choosing to sled down the hill here and were not very careful around the cars at all.

From the parking lot there is a well worn path that leads up the snowbank and onto the main path. The first half mile of this snowshoe is on a very hard packed snow path, this is from all the people who sled in this area. We got up here pretty early and there was already about 10 cars in the parking area and they were all sledding. Once you get past this area it gets a lot better, it turns into snowshoe and cross-country ski trails. You follow along the river the whole time. it’s mostly snow covered but you will see parts of it at all times. You also get an amazing view of Mt. Hood right in front of you the whole way.

      

Basically you follow along the river out in the open with trees lining your path. After about a mile you will go under some power lines and head uphill into the trees. It’s not heavily wooded so you will still see the mountain peeking through. Once we got almost to the top of this hill we decided to go down the side of it to get back down to river level. We followed the river a bit longer and decided to call it a day. We went a little over a mile and a half in making for a nice 3+ mile snowshoe. You can definitely go farther and I know we will be back soon to explore this area more.

      

      

On your way back to the parking area we would recommend that you stay down near the river once you get back to where all the sledders are. They come flying down the hills and don’t pay much attention to who’s around. Plus it’s much easier to walk in the nice snow instead of the hard packed stuff from the sleds.

Distance: 3 miles (you can go farther if you want)

Elevation: 500 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: A Sno-Park pass is required.

Seasons: Anytime there is enough snow.

Popular: Very

Overall: The areas with all the sledding are a bit frustrating but it’s worth it once you get past all the crowds. The views of the mountain are amazing.

Little Zigzag Falls (Snowshoe)

Directions: Head east on Highway 26 until you reach Kiwanis Camp Road/Road 39 (about 6 miles past the town of Zigzag). Head north on this road until you reach the Kiwanis Camp (where they stop plowing the road). Park along the side of the road.

They usually only plow Road 39 to the Kiwanis Camp, it does occasionally get plowed to the Little Zigzag Falls Trailhead but I wouldn’t count on it. So the start of the hike depends on what type of plowing you encounter that day.

      

      

From your car start snowshoeing up the road until you come to the Little Zigzag Falls Trailhead. From here you can get on the main trail, it follows along the creek. Soon you will come to an area with large icicles hanging from it. It’s easily passable just watch your head. The creek has a lot of downed trees over it, when they are covered in snow and ice it looks quite pretty.

      

Continuing on you will cross a bridge and come to an open area which leads you right up to Little Zigzag Falls. The waterfall looked amazing with all the snow and ice!

      

Head back out the way you came in.

Distance: 1.5 miles from the Kiwanis Camp, .6 if you started at the trailhead.

Elevation: 40 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: When there is enough snow for snowshoeing.

Popular: No

Overall: Very lovely snowshoe, we highly recommend it!

Bridal Veil Falls (Winter)

Directions: Take I-84 East to Bridal Veil exit #28. Take a right onto the Historic Columbia River Highway and in less than a half mile the Bridal Veil Falls parking area will be on your right.

From the parking area get on the paved trail that heads past the bathrooms and curves right. The trail quickly turns to dirt and heads down one long switchback. We did this hike a few days after the recent ice storm so the trail was pretty much a sheet of ice. We would not recommend hiking this trail if it’s icy unless you have some sort of shoe traction (YakTrax, Stabilicers, IceTrekkers, etc). Even with these on our shoes we still fell a few times.

      

After the switchback you will head down a staircase and follow a bridge over Bridal Veil Creek. From here you can go up more stairs to a viewing platform where you get a nice view of the waterfall. You can also go down to creek level and get a side view of the falls and explore around the creek. When it’s not icy you can climb around the large rocks and get up nice and close to the waterfall.

      

This waterfall is always pretty but it was extra beautiful with all the icicles and snow surrounding it.

Head back out the way you came in.

Distance: .6 miles

Elevation: 100 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages. Unless it’s icy, then make sure you are sure footed and have the right gear with you.

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes on nice weekends.

Overall: We love going to the Gorge when we get snow or ice, the waterfalls look even better!

Enid Lake (Snowshoe)

Directions: Take Highway 26 to Government Camp Loop Road. Drive up the road a little over a quarter mile until you see the Thunderhead Trailhead on your left.

From the trailhead you start on Skiway Trail and soon fork left onto Maggie’s Trail. Stay on Maggie’s Trail and pass Lucy’s Trail. Next you will come to the Crosstown Trail, go left staying on the Crosstown Trail. Most of this area you will be heading downhill through lovely snow covered trees. We noticed a lot of rabbit tracks through here which was great.

      

Continuing on you will cross a small bridge and come to a sign that says Enid Lake. It’s pointing right, do NOT go right, go left and follow this trail a short distance where there will be a side trail off to your right. This short trail takes you right out to snow covered Enid Lake, on a clear day you’ll be able to see Mt. Hood peeking out behind the trees.

      

You can follow a trail around the small lake and head back out the way you came in.

      

This whole area has a fair amount of cross-country skiers and they can come flying around corners pretty quickly. Just be aware of that while you’re out on the trails.

Distance: 2.5 miles

Elevation: 200 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: $6 snow-park permit

Seasons: Late fall through winter

Popular: Yes

Overall: This is a very pretty snowshoe. There are a lot of intersecting trails which can be confusing if you don’t have a map.

Trillium Lake (Snowshoe)

Directions: Drive Highway 26 past Government Camp, a few miles later you will see signs for Trillium Lake. Take the marked exit where you will see the large Sno-Park.

From the parking area head past the snow gate and start heading downhill. You will be snowshoeing for 2 miles down the access road that takes you to Trillium Lake. This part of the snowshoe is pretty much a roller coaster, you will lose and gain elevation a few times. The path is pretty well worn with snowshoe and cross country skiing tracks. It’s mainly just a nice snowy treelined path that takes you to the lake. You will see signs along the way keep following them down the road and past the campground entrance. Take the next right after the campground which will take you down to the lake.

      

It’s two miles from the parking area to the lake so if that’s enough (four miles round trip) you can hangout at the lake and head back the way you came. If you want to go farther head around the lake clockwise and go back out the way you came in, for a total of 6 miles.

It was pretty cloudy and sleeting most of the time we were here so we didn’t get the nice view of the mountain. It was still a great snowshoe though. This place starts getting pretty busy around 11am, getting here early would probably be best. The last hill on the way out is a big one as well, lots of people were struggling. Keep that in mind when you decide between the 4 and 6 mile options.

Distance: 4 or 6 miles

Elevation: We don’t know the exact elevation. There are definitely a few decent hills on the road heading in. Not much elevation at all going around the lake.

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: Most ages- may not be best for young kids or older folks.

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: Sno-Park permit

Seasons: Anytime there is enough snow 🙂

Popular: Very

Overall: Great snowshoe area, even better if you hit a day without clouds!

Tooth Rock (Autumn)

Directions: Drive I-84 east to exit 40. Take a right at the stop sign and then an immediate left. Follow this road uphill where it ends at the Tooth Rock Trailhead.

The trail starts out paved as you pass by a Bonneville Power substation and soon come to a side trail to your right. This trail has a small brown marker that says Tanner Butte, take this narrow dirt trail and follow it uphill. There are a lot of downed trees on the first part of this trail, they are all easy to go under or around. You will also pass by an old refrigerator that has been dumped on the trail.

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Continue up the trail until you reach a sort of summit where there is a trail junction. Keep on the same trail as you start to head downhill somewhat steeply. This trail will end in two switchbacks that drop you off at the paved trail you started on just farther down.

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Go left on the paved trail where you will hear a lot of traffic from I-84 just below you. The path heads uphill a bit for a short distance before leveling out. You will pass a couple good spots that have a nice view of the Gorge and Bonneville Dam. From here you are just following the paved path back to your car.

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Distance: 2 miles

Elevation: 240

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: Most ages- there are some steep parts but it’s not very long.

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Overall: Not the most exciting hike but it’s nice if you don’t want to do a long hike.

 

Elowah Falls & Upper McCord Creek Falls (Autumn)

Directions: Take I-84 East to exit 35. Take a left at the stop sign and then a right onto Frontage Road. Follow Frontage Road for about 2 miles to the John B Yeon parking area.

From the trailhead follow the trail as it passes an old water tower and heads back east where you start hiking uphill. The trail here is fairly wide and well groomed, you are going uphill steadily but it’s nothing too hard. Soon you will reach the junction with Upper McCord Creek Falls. Continue straight here and the trail levels out a bit but becomes much more rocky. Next up are the long switchbacks that take you down to Elowah Falls. We’ve had quite a bit of rain recently so this part of the trail was pretty muddy. The trail drops you right at the base of Elowah Falls and a bridge crossing the creek. This is the end point for the Elowah Falls part of this hike.

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When you are ready to head up to Upper McCord Creek Falls follow the switchbacks back up and head for the trail junction you passed earlier. Go left and start gradually heading uphill, you will switchback and cross over old metal pipe that’s running over the trail in two spots. Continue following the trail and you will hike up more switchbacks where you will start getting views of the Gorge. After the switchbacks the trail skirts along the cliffs with a metal railing to prevent falling. The views up here are beautiful and there is even a rock bench to sit and enjoy it all. This cliff area can be really drippy with runoff during the rainy months. Continue around the cliff and short distance and you will be able to see Elowah Falls from the top and a short distance later will reach Upper McCord Creek Falls.

When you are ready head back out the way you came in.

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Distance: 3.6 miles

Elevation: 500 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Very

Overall: Two waterfalls in less than 4 miles is hard to beat! These waterfalls are best during the rainy seasons.

Wahclella Falls (Autumn)

Directions: Take I-84 east to exit 40 (Bonneville Dam). Take a right at the stop sign and go right at the fork where you will see the parking area.

We have also hiked Wahclella Falls in the Winter and Spring seasons.

From the parking area follow the wide flat path past a gate as it follows along Tanner Creek. Soon you will come to a Dam where the trail takes a sharp left and immediately comes to a bridge that takes you right next to Munra Falls.

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From here the trail gradually starts to head uphill as you get great views of the creek below. The trail is pretty rocky the whole way and has some pretty muddy spots with some fencing in it to prevent erosion. There is a small staircase with wooden steps and a short distance later you will come to a split in the trail.

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Head right at the split and go down a couple switchbacks that take you to a bridge. After crossing the bridge you will be in a large rock slide area. There is a nice little seasonal runoff to the right coming from way up on the cliffs. You will soon start seeing the waterfall as you continue around and through a small almost cave or grotto like area. Cross yet another bridge and you will be at the main viewing area for Wahclella Falls.

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When you’re ready, continue the loop as you climb up between a few large rocks to the upper trail. As you go along the upper trail you will see the lower trail and rock slide area below. Soon you will be back at the split in the trail, go straight and get back on the main trail where you will follow it back to your car.

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Autumn at Wahclella Falls is great, the upper tier is much more visible and Munra Falls water level is nice and full. Tanner Creek is moving swiftly and the colors are great.

Distance: 2 miles

Elevation: 300 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Porta-potties at the trailhead.

Parking Fee: Yes a $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: This is a great easy hike for all seasons. Can’t beat two waterfalls in two miles either!

Falls Creek Falls (Autumn)

Directions: Directions: Take I-84 East to exit 44 (Cascade Locks). Cross the Bridge Of The Gods ($2 toll) and take a right towards Stevenson. Drive for about 6 miles on Highway 14 and take a left on a road signed for Carson (Wind River Road). Take Wind River Road for a little over 14 miles and stay right at the fork in the road. About a half mile later take a right onto FR 3062 for Falls Creek Falls. Follow the dirt road for a little over 2 miles to the trailhead (there are signs for Falls Creek Trails)

We did this hike during the summer- click here to check out the post.

From the parking area follow the trail which starts out fairly wide and runs along the creek. You gradually start heading uphill as the trail narrows a bit and you come to a suspension bridge. You get great views down into the gorge below. Continuing on the creek will now be on your right and there are a few spots that you can get right down next to the creek.

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Autumn is of course a rainy season for Washington so the trail was pretty muddy in spots. There were also a lot more seasonal streams that ran across the trail.

You soon start to gain elevation, some parts are pretty steep but it’s not that long. You do have to cross a fairly decent runoff area, but there were plenty of rocks to hop, and no wet feet. Soon you will cross another bridge that takes you over another seasonal stream. This one is very pretty as it flows through moss covered rocks.

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Keep following the trail and just a short distance later you will start to hear the roar of Falls Creek Falls. The trail drops down right in front of the waterfall. There are a lot of big rocks here that would be a good place for lunch if you bring a tarp, otherwise they are too wet to sit on. Falls Creek Falls is massive year round but it’s just something else during the rainy seasons. It’s very loud, very full, and VERY impressive!

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There is a scramble that we did back in the summer that takes you to the middle tier. We decided to skip it this time because the ground was quite soggy and the rocks and logs were slippery.

The fall colors that were on display was great, just icing on the cake for this great hike.

Distance: 4 miles

Elevation: 700 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: Most ages. There are some steep sections that may be difficult for some.

Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area.

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: The snow gate closes late fall and opens in early spring.

Popular: Yes

Overall: We definitely recommend this hike, the waterfall is amazing.

Dry Creek Falls (Autumn)

Directions: Take I-84 East to Cascade Locks. Take a right on Wasco St. and then another right onto Moody St., park along the road.

We have previously visited Dry Creek Falls during the summer and winter seasons, this is a great hike and we were excited to check it out during autumn with all the great colors!

From the trailhead follow the trail as you gradually start heading uphill through a nice forest. Previously there were downed trees but they have since been cleared out which is great. The trail stays steadily uphill for about a mile where you will come to a clearing with power lines running through it. On a clear day you will get views of the Gorge off to the left.

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Continue on and the trail switches to more of a roller coaster. It’s pretty equal between gaining and losing elevation. The forest through here is very pretty and had foggy patches. We were getting a nice show of autumn color which was great! The trail comes to a junction at Dry Creek, go right and head uphill with the creek to your left as you soon reach Dry Creek Falls.

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You will cross over old damn pieces and finally get to the base of the waterfall which is surrounded by columnar basalt. There are lots of places all around the waterfall to take pictures, as well as lots of places to take pictures of the creek. See if you can spot the tree full of shoes while you’re there!

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Autumn is a great time to do this hike. The colors are great and the water level is flowing pretty high, while the weather is still pretty mild!

Distance: 4.5 miles

Elevation: 680 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: We love this hike and can’t wait to check this out in spring which will finish all the seasons!