Category Archives: Update

Multnomah Falls- Post Fire

A few weeks ago the lower viewing platform of Multnomah Falls was reopened after the devastating Eagle Creek Fire. Most of the Historic Columbia River Highway is still closed so the only parking area that’s open is the one on I-84.

You can definitely see the fire damage up on the top of the ridge and down the sides. They have put up a lot of fencing to help with rock fall as well. The waterfall itself looks the same and the Benson Bridge *seems* to be undamaged. The trails are all still closed and probably will be for some time.

      

Everyone is excited to check out the Gorge as it slowly starts to reopen- it was very crowded when we were here early on a Saturday. We’d recommend maybe heading this way on a weekday if you don’t want to fight through a sea of people.

      

We’ll keep updating the blog as more trails open.

Post Fire Update

A section of the Old Highway was opened not long ago and two trails as well, Latourell Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. We decided to go check the area out a few weeks ago.

We started by doing the full Latourell Falls Loop and we were pleasantly surprise. There wasn’t any fire damage to the trail and the waterfall itself was looking great. They have done some improvements to the trail down at the lower section of the waterfall. The paved section is much better and more evenly graded making for easy universal access.

      

Next we kept driving and stopped at Sheppard’s Dell Falls. The trail is closed and with good reason. This area got burned pretty good and there are definite changes you can see. There are a lot of burned trees and rocks that have fallen. Trees have also been removed in this area making it to where you can see a lot more of the top tiers of this waterfall.

Continuing down the Gorge towards Bridal Veil you will notice a lot of burned trees along the road and scorched basalt, many trees have been removed and rocks have definitely fallen. We didn’t have time to check out the Bridal Veil trail but we plan to do so soon.

      

The Old Highway continues to have patches of burned areas as you reach the Angels Rest Trailhead and this is where you have to stop, as the rest of the Old Highway is closed. We’ve seen pictures of the Angels Rest trail and it was burned pretty bad.

You can visit the Multnomah Falls lodge but can only get there by parking in the lot on I-84 and walking up to it. There is fencing blocking off Multnomah Falls at the lodge so views are minimal.

As more sections of the Gorge open we will check them out and continue to update the site on what trails are open. Stay tuned.

 

Tom McCall Nature Preserve & Rowena Plateau (Spring)

Directions: Take I-84 east to exit 69 (Mosier). Take a right and follow the Historic Columbia River Highway for about 7.5 miles. There is a big sign marking Rowena Crest with areas to park.

We hiked the Rowena Plateau about 7 weeks ago, at the very beginning of the wildflower season. It was still pretty bare and dry up there so we decided to come check it out again and it was WELL worth the trip.

This time we decided to hike around the Tom McCall Nature Preserve as well. We didn’t go all the way up to McCall Point because there was so much poison oak and some of us in the group didn’t have long pants or sleeves on. Didn’t want to be itching for a week 😉

DSC_0011      DSC_0038

DSC_0056      DSC_0021

We started at the signed Tom McCall Nature Preserve trailhead and walked along the flat wide field that was full of Balsamroot and Lupine, Bachelor’s Button was also starting to bloom as well. Soon the trail starts to narrow a bit as you gain a little elevation and switchback up to a great viewpoint of the Gorge. We continued on a bit farther down the trail until we started noticing the Poison Oak on both sides of the trail getting really thick. We decided to turn back here and head back to the trailhead. If you continue on we would highly recommend you wear long pants and sleeves.

DSC_0137

DSC_0113

Back at the trailhead we crossed the Old Highway and headed towards the Rowena Plateau trailhead. To see our previous post about Rowena Plateau click here. Starting at the trailhead, the trail winds downhill gently for a little over a mile. You’ll pass Rowena Pond and many side trails that take you to different viewpoints of the Gorge. There are wildflowers on this part of the hike, especially at the beginning but they thin out as you hike. Also, keep your eyes peeled for deer, wild turkeys, butterflies, and lots of birds! The trail comes to an end at the “point” of the plateau. Head back the way you came to get to your car. There is poison oak along this part of the hike, but much less than Tom McCall.

DSC_0112      DSC_0102

Distance: 3.5 miles

Elevation: 110 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: No. Pets are not allowed, all areas are a nature preserve.

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fees: No

Seasons: All

Popular: Very popular in spring, not as bad during the other seasons.

Overall: This is one of our favorite hikes to see wildflowers and one of our favorite views of the eastern Gorge!

Beacon Rock (Winter)

Directions: Take I-84 East to Cascade Locks and cross Bridge Of The Gods ($2 toll). Take a left onto Highway 14 and drive for about 5 miles until you come to the parking area on the left shoulder of the highway.

We first did this hike in mid-August of 2014. It was a clear day and the views were great. This time around it’s the middle of winter and we happened to pick a REALLY foggy day.

DSC_0004          DSC_0026

From the parking area take the dirt trail into the woods and follow it until you reach the gated entrance to Beacon Rock. From here it’s a series of 51 switchbacks all the way to the top. That may seem quite daunting but it’s actually a pretty easy hike. You’ll be on a mix of wooden bridges and a paved rock path the whole way up. There are many viewpoints to stop at along the way.

DSC_0011      DSC_0015

The difference with the revisit would definitely be the weather. There was so much fog this time that we didn’t see much of anything (the picture of white with some trees to the left was our view at the top, it was quite funny). It was also a little drizzly which made a few parts a little slick. BUT the fog also made it kinda fun and we got some great pictures too. It’s also easier to hike in weather that’s in the mid 40’s instead of low 90’s, as well as a LOT less crowded.

DSC_0033

 

Distance: 2 miles

Elevation: 700 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: Most ages- there is quite a bit of elevation to consider for older folks and younger kids.

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: $10 Washington Discovery Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: We love Beacon Rock and it’s even better with fog!

Collin’s Beach UFO Boat (Sauvie Island)

We kept hearing about this mysterious UFO boat that sits on Sauvie Island and finally decided to go check it out. It’s really close to the Warrior Rock Trailhead and made for a fun addition to the easy 7 mile hike. We also got to see Warrior Rock in a different season, the hike is much prettier in fall! To read about Warrior Rock Lighthouse and get directions, our previous post is here.

Collins Beach is on the gravel road right before the Warrior Rock Lighthouse trailhead. There are 6 entrances to the beach and you will need to park at entrance three. Take the short trail to the beach and turn right walking on the beach for about 200 feet. The boat is now covered in graffiti and not hard to miss.

DSC_0013

I did some digging around and found some more information about the UFO boat. Turns out it was made by a local man back in the 70’s for his family. Here is a Youtube video of a local reporter interviewing the daughter.

DSC_0017

DSC_0019

If you want to continue on to the lighthouse you can head back to your car and drive the short distance to the trailhead. Or, just turn around and start the hike from Collins Beach (which would only add a half mile or so.)

DSC_0047

There is a $7 parking fee for all of Sauvie Island. There are two or three little stores that sell them along the way to the trailhead. Also, Collins Beach is a nude beach, we did this hike on a late October weekend and only saw a few nude people. So, if nudity bothers you, this may not be the best outing for you or your family.

Pup Creek Falls (Clackamas River Trail) (Autumn)

Directions: You can start from the Fish Creek Trailhead or Indian Henry Trailhead, OR do a car shuttle and go from one trailhead to the other. We chose to start at Fish Creek and make this an out and back hike. To get to the Fish Creek Trailhead take 224 to Estacada. Go through Estacada and turn right at mile post 39 onto Fish Creek Road. The parking area is on the right and the trailhead is on the left.

We picked a really hot day (mid 90’s in October!) and it made this hike a bit of a struggle. This trail constantly switches from partially shaded riverside hike to forested to very exposed. The Clackamas River is beautiful and early on in the hike you have a few opportunities to get great pictures. The trail is eroding pretty badly in a few areas but is still passable, just be careful. You’ll pass a few fallen trees on the trail and some little streams that are easily rock hopped over. The trail is pretty much like a roller coaster. You gain and lose elevation the whole way.

DSC_0011

Soon you’ll come to an exposed area where it can get really hot. It stays exposed off and on for a good while until you drop down into a marshy area. After the marshy area the trail stays pretty covered as you wind through the forest. You’ll pass a zip-line and see many rafters and kayakers below.

DSC_0021          DSC_0061

Around the marshy area we ran into a few hikers asking if we had ever been to the falls and how much farther they had to go. It seemed like everyone felt like it was a lot farther than they had planned. A couple people even turned back. We don’t blame them, by this point we were VERY hot and chugging water like crazy. We decided to keep going and about a mile later we came to the junction with Pup Creek Falls. It’s not marked well so keep your eyes peeled. The junction is about 4 miles from the trailhead. It’s only a quarter mile more from the junction to the falls.

DSC_0001   DSC_0031

The side trail to the falls is in good shape until you reach the falls. You’ll have to do some log and rock climbing in a few parts but nothing too extreme. Pup Creek Falls is tall and beautiful and it’s pretty peaceful back there. We only saw a few people the whole time.

DSC_0046

Another thing we noticed was on the way back out we had even more people asking us how far it was to the falls. Seemed like everyone was having a bit of a struggle that day, probably due to the heat. Although it does seem a bit farther than it actually is.

Overall this is a nice hike. The Clackamas River is beautiful and the trail is well maintained. Pup Creek Falls is great and nicely secluded. This is a great trail if you are birders, like us. We saw a few Western Tanagers which was awesome. As well as many other birds.

 

Distance: 8 miles

Elevation: 500 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: May not be best for young kids or older folks.

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Overall: Great waterfall but kind of a rough trail.