Tag Archives: Rivers

Lewis River Falls (Spring)

Directions: Drive I-84 East to Cascade Locks and cross the Bridge Of The Gods ($2 toll). Take a right onto Highway 14 and drive for almost 6 miles where you will take a left onto Wind River Road. Follow Wind River Road up and over Old Man Pass, a couple miles after the pass take a left onto Curly Creek Road. Follow this road until you come to the junction with FR 90. Take a right onto FR 90 and drive for about 10 miles where you will take a right into the Lower Lewis River Falls parking area.

A small section of this trail between the lower and middle waterfalls is close. There is a detour that adds about a mile to your total hiking distance. You wont miss any of the waterfalls.

From the parking area head down the trail by the bathroom until it dumps you out at the main trail and Lower Lewis River Falls. There are multiple viewing areas for the lower falls. Go right and you will pass two of them, there are small wooden benches at them as well. Heading back up the main trail you’ll pass a staircase that takes you down to a viewing platform at the top of the lower waterfall.

      

From here get back on the main trail and head upriver. You will pass multiple staircases that allow river access and a small boardwalk turnout. As you pass these side areas the trail heads uphill gradually on a fairly wide and well maintained dirt path. There are campsites off to your left in the beginning and you will always see the river off to your right. When you are almost to the middle waterfall the trail is closed due to damage. It was like this the last time we were here (July 2016) and doesn’t seem to have had any work done on it. Take the detour trail that heads uphill somewhat steeply and through a slide area. It ends up at road level and the parking area for the middle falls. Briefly pass through the parking area and get back on the trail heading back into the forest. You’ll cross a bridge over Copper Falls and head downhill to Middle Lewis River Falls. The water level was so high this year that you couldn’t get out onto the rocks and get a good look at the waterfall.

      

Continuing on the main trail there are few spots on the way to the upper falls that have eroded quite a bit and you should be careful hiking through it. You will soon reach Upper Lewis River Falls, there is a place to get off trail and down to river level that offers a great view of the waterfall. There are a few big logs here that make it a great place to have lunch or sit and relax for a bit.

      

This is an out and back trail so head back out the way you came in.

This hike is very pretty with all the lovely trees and always having a view of the river as you go. All three waterfalls looks different and are each worth checking out. Visiting in spring this year was nice because the waterfalls were a lot fuller. In the summer this place gets very busy and becomes and popular swimming hole.

Distance: 6 miles

Elevation: 320 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: Yes, a $5 NW Forest Pass is required

Seasons: All but check for road closures due to snow in the winter

Popular: Yes

Overall: We love this hike, theres a lot to see which is never a bad thing 🙂

Old Salmon River Trail (Spring)

Directions: Take Highway 26 to Old Salmon River Road (just past the Welches shopping center). Follow this road for a few miles until you see the marked trailhead on the right.

From the parking area follow the trail somewhat steeply downhill until you reach river level. The trail follows along closely to the Salmon River for most of this hike. The trail is fairly wide and well maintained. There are a lot of little side trails that take you down close to the river along the way. With all the snow melt and rain there were a good amount of seasonal streams we had to cross and the trail was very muddy.

      

The best part of this trail are all of the massive trees, it’s amazing and you get to see them the whole way. The trail heads up some steps and gains a small amount of elevation before leveling out again. As you start to head farther away from the river you will pop up out on Old Salmon River Road. Briefly walk along the road before reentering the forest on a trail. This is a good place to stop if you want a 3 mile total trip.

      

Continuing on is more of the same as you follow along the river and come to a camp site area. The trails ends at the Salmon River Trailhead. Just turn around and head back out the way you came in.

      

This is a nice, quiet spring hike. There isn’t anything overly special about it but it’s a very beautiful area.

      

Distance: 5 miles

Elevation: 200 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes a portable toilet

Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes on nice weekends

Overall: Very peaceful hike and the trees are great.

Browns Ferry Park (Winter)

Directions: Take I-5 to exit 289. Turn left onto Nyberg, follow the road a short distance and the park will be on your left.

This is a nice park for a quick walk, or a great place if you’re a birder.

      

From the parking area go over the bridge, follow the trail around to the left and you can quickly check out the big barn that’s in the park. Head back and down towards the pond, this is a great area to see birds. During our visit we were able to see a golden crowned sparrow, spotted towhee, gadwalls, northern shovelers, buffleheads, green winged teals, and pied-billed grebes. Continuing on, follow the path past the pond and across another bridge.

      

      

From here stick to the dirt path that follows along the river. We saw a woodpecker in here and you will pass by a few small marshy pond areas. The trail connects back out to a paved path briefly but you can get on the dirt trail again. Follow this for as long as you want. You get brief views of the Tualatin River and the houses that line it, but it’s mostly fairly wooded.

      

Head back out the way you came in.

 

Distance: 2 miles

Elevation: Minimal

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Can be on nice weekends.

Overall: This is a nice park, the pond attracts some great birds. Nice place for kids or an afterwork walk as well.

Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge (Winter)

Directions: Take I-5 South to exit 294. Get onto 99W/Barbur Boulevard and drive about 6.5 miles. Take a right into the Refuge.

From the parking area follow the trail down into a wide gravel path with trees. There are many side trails and benches with informational signs. The path goes down a small hill and over a bridge where you will start to follow along the Tualatin River. We’ve been getting a lot of rain lately and the river was definitely over it’s bank. There were large areas of the trail along the river that were flooded out and you needed to go way out into the grass to get around it.

      

There is a platform area that gives you a view of the river and has an informational sign. Continuing on you head toward a thicker wooded area. The trail was flooded out here and we couldn’t go any farther. If you are able to continue, the trail takes you out to a wetland observation deck. It gives you great views and there are usually lots of birds out this way.

      

Head back out the way you came in and make sure you check out the visitor center. There are a few telescopes that let you get a nice closeup view of the wetlands. As well as lots of interpretive stuff.

      

Distance: 2 miles

Elevation: 60 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: No. Dogs are not allowed in the refuge.

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: Great place to do some birding.

Sandy River Delta (Winter)

Directions: Take I-84 East to exit 18 and take a right at the stop sign. Follow the road under the freeway to the parking area.

We started this hike on an unmarked trail that is near the entrance gate to the parking area. We followed this dirt and gravel trail straight and through an open area where there is an intersecting trail that you can take either left or right. We went right and followed this trail that’s up above the open meadow area you just walked through. The trail continues for a while before coming to an open area where you can see power lines and off to your right you can see the big open grass area that has a main trail running through it.

      

Head down to the main trail, where you get a nice view of Mt. Hood, and go left following it along a section of the Sandy River and to a bird blind. You can go past the blind a bit and get a view of the Columbia River. From here head back out and follow the main trail back through the open grassy area as it winds back around to the parking area.

      

The Sandy River Delta is the areas largest off-leash dog park, so you will see tons of dogs roaming around freely. You will also see mountain bikers and horseback riders, as well as hear duck hunters off in the distance. This area is great for birdwatching, we’ve seen many different birds here throughout the year.

There are many different intersecting trails and they aren’t really marked. Most of them lead back to main trails, it’s a great place to get out and just explore.

To see our previous post about the Sandy River Delta click here.

Distance: 3 miles

Elevation: Minimal

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Very

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area.

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: Very easy hike, more of a walk actually. Nice place to nature watch and just explore.

Best Of 2016

We did a lot of great hikes in 2016, here are some of our favorites and our overall top hike of the year.

  • Willamette Valley:

Henline Falls– This is a short hike but it takes you to an amazing waterfall. Catch it at the right time of day and you might just see a rainbow at the base as well!

  • Columbia River Gorge:

Columbia Hills State Park– Great area to see wildflowers with amazing views of the Gorge.

  • Washington:

Lewis River Falls– So many pretty waterfalls in such a short distance. Definitely a must see.

  • Coast:

The Thumb– This was probably the most unique hike we did this year.

  • Central Oregon:

Smith Rock (Misery Ridge)– The views are amazing at the top and you get a very up close view of Monkey Face!

  • Mt. Hood:

Wind Lake– You get to ride a chairlift up to the top of Ski Bowl and then hike to a somewhat hidden lake. And the whole time you have great views of Mt. Hood and Government Camp. 

  • Portland:

Powell Butte- This is a great hike in the city. On a clear day you can see Mt. Hood, Mt. St Helens, and Mt. Hood.

  • Southern Oregon:

Plaikni Falls– This hike was inside Crater Lake National Park, it’s very pretty, especially in autumn with all the beautiful colors.

  • Kayak:

Disappearing Lake– This was such a treat! It’s a lake that’s only around for about a month out of the whole year.

Overall Best of 2016:

Bald Mountain– The hike up bald mountain is beautiful and lined with beargrass. Once at the top you round a corner and come to one of the best views of Mt. Hood we’ve ever seen. Do this hike!

What were some of your favorite hikes in 2016? Any you’re looking forward to doing in 2017?

 

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.

Toketee Falls (Autumn)

Directions: From the entrance to Crater Lake National Park on Highway 138 follow the highway West for about another 25 miles or so. You will see signs for Toketee Falls.

From the parking area pass the wooden pipeline that is diverting water from the North Umpqua River to a powerhouse downstream and get onto the trail. Crossing over a small bridge the trail heads downhill slightly as you pass through a wooded area and come to your first set of stairs. As you continue you will be going through three more sets of stairs. Some are stone and some are wooden with chainlink fence.

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You will follow along the North Umpqua River the whole time and there are many points along the way to stop and get a good look at it. The trail ends at a wooden viewing platform with a tree coming up the middle of it and a bench. You get a great view of the waterfall and the amazing columnar basalt.

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Since you are in the area we would recommend stopping at Whitehorse Falls, it’s just a few miles from Toketee Falls. The waterfall is just steps from the parking area!

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Distance: 1 mile

Elevation: 150 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: This trail is good for most, but there are a lot of steps, so it may not be good for young kids and older folks.

Bathrooms: Vault toilet at trailhead.

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: Check for road closures during the snowy months.

Popular: Yes

Overall: Lovely riverside hike that leads to a beautiful waterfall surrounded by amazing columnar basalt!

Wildwood Recreation Area (Autumn)

Directions: Take Highway 26 past the town of Sandy and about 15 miles later you will see a sign for the Wildwood Recreation Area on your right. After stopping at the pay station follow the road past a junction and just a short distance later take a left into the parking area.

Make sure to get a trail map at the trailhead. There are lots of trails through here and it definitely helps to have one.

Get on the trail to the left of the bathrooms and cross a bridge over the Salmon River. Keep following the trail until you reach a junction, go left onto the Wetlands Trail which quickly turns into boardwalk. This takes you through a marshy area, there are a few side boardwalk trails to your left, these take you farther out into the marsh area for better wildlife viewing. This is a good area to hangout if you are into birds, we saw quite a few interesting ones while we were here.

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Continue following the boardwalk to a junction, go right and the trail loops back to the bridge. There is an optional side trip here that you can take. Go down the steps that are to the right of the bridge and get on a narrow dirt trail. This trail takes you along the river, with a few trails actually leading you out to the river. You can follow this trail for about a half mile where you will run into a private property sign on a fence. Turn around and head back to the bridge.

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Cross back over the bridge and immediately take a left where you will get onto the Streamwatch trail. Follow this paved trail as it eventually heads downhill and gets to river level. Follow the signs for the underwater viewing window. This viewing area is below water level and you are able to see small fish swimming around. It’s a great area for kids. Coming out of the viewing area go left and continue following the streamwatch loop trail as you pass several side trails that take you to the river.

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At the junction for the Salmon River Shelter take this trail and pass a bathroom and the shelter. The trail ends at a parking area, go left and follow around the edge until you come to a second paved trail. Follow this trail until you come to a junction marked for Mt. Hood Village. Go right and follow the trail through a very pretty wooded area. You will go uphill for a short distance but most of the trail is well graded. Keep following this trail until you come to the Old Mill Nature Loop. You can take this loop around, it’s not very interesting at all, you do get to see the remnants of the old mill at the end though. Once you are back at the beginning of the loop follow the trail signed for Trailhead Parking.

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Distance: 4.5 miles (if you take all the side trails and loops)

Elevation: 50 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: Yes

Parking Fee: $5 day use fee

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes on weekends

Overall: This is a pleasant and easy hike, if not a bit boring. The Salmon River is pretty and you get lots of chances to see it.

Lava Canyon Loop (Summer)

Directions: Take I-5 North to exit 21 (Woodland/Highway 503) and follow Highway 503 East through the town of Cougar. Highway 503 turns into FR-90, continue on FR-90 and take a left onto Road 83 (signed for Ape Caves and Lava Canyon). Follow Road 83 for about 12 miles where you will reach the Lava Canyon Trailhead.

From the trailhead follow the paved path down a few switchbacks and to a viewing platform. There isn’t much of a view here but keep going on the trail to a junction. Go left here and the trail soon turns to dirt. A small part of the trail here can be dangerous so watch children and pets. Continue on the trail until you come to the large suspension bridge.

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The bridge is quite narrow and has a good bounce to it. If you are not comfortable with heights it may not be a good idea for you to cross. You will be crossing over Lava Canyon and the Muddy River, you get great views the whole way! After crossing the bridge go right and follow  the trail uphill, sometimes steeply. There are a couple areas with good views of the river and canyon. You will soon come to a set of stairs/metal ladder which heads up steeply.

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From here it’s a short walk to the second bridge. It’s much lower and wider, with no bounce. You will be crossing over a very pretty part of the Muddy River and will also have great views from all directions. Head down the steps after crossing the bridge and back up to the junction. Go left here to hike back up the switchbacks to your car.

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There are MANY warning signs along this trail, and for good reason. There have been many injuries and even a few deaths along this trail. We strongly encourage everyone to stay on the designated trails at all times!

Distance: 1.3 miles

Elevation: 500 feet

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes but there are many dangerous spots on this trail for dogs.

Good For: May not be a good idea for young kids and older folks. Also people with height issues will have a struggle with the suspension bridge.

Bathrooms: There is a vault toilet at the trailhead. It was very dirty while we were here.

Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: Late spring through fall. Call ahead, there are snow gates.

Popular: Yes

Overall: This is a great scenic hike. The suspension bridge is fun as well!