Tag Archives: Scramble

Gorton Creek Falls & Emerald Falls (Autumn)

This is a hike AND scramble if you want to see both falls.

To get to this hike take I-84 to Wyeth (exit 51). Take a right at the stop sign and then another right onto Herman Creek Road. Take a left into the Wyeth campground and follow the signs to the trailhead parking. We did this hike in early November when the campground is closed so you have to park outside the gates, along the street.

From the trailhead follow the trail a short distance until you reach a three way junction. Take the trail straight ahead and follow the creek for a little over a quarter mile until you reach Emerald Falls. It’s a pretty small waterfall but still very pretty!

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From here you are scrambling up the side of the creek to reach Gorton Creek Falls. Keep going a few feet past Emerald Falls and the trail disappears and you have to drop down to the creek.

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It is best to follow up the left side of the creek. You will be gaining roughly 150 feet of elevation while you scramble. You will need to hop rocks in the creek, climb over and under fallen trees, scramble the sides of rocks and shimmy along the rock edge of the creek. We’ve done a decent amount of scrambles and this definitely wasn’t the hardest. That being said you will need to be sure footed and not afraid to get dirty. We did slip a few times which caused us to have wet and very cold feet. The scramble ends at two tiered, 115 foot Gorton Creek Falls. The secluded falls makes that messy scramble worth it, it’s very beautiful! This is an out and back trail so head back (carefully!) the way you came in.

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Distance: 1.5 miles

Elevation: 165 feet

Difficulty: Moderate/Hard

Pet Friendly: No

Good For: People who are comfortable with scrambles.

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Overall: Two great waterfalls and a fun scramble!

Mist Falls (Summer)

We would classify this as a scramble, not a hike.

The trailhead is located on The Historic Columbia River Highway on a small turnout on the side of the road, just before Wahkeena Falls. There is no marked trailhead and the trail is barely visible from the road so this can be a hard one to find. There is a small square plaque (not visible from the road) a few feet in on the trail. So if you see this, you’ve found the right place.

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This is not a maintained trail. It’s just underbrush that has been stomped into a trail by hikers. The trail is very steep and mostly VERY loose rock and dirt, and ends at a section of very overgrown bushes and plant life that you have to wade through. We slipped and fell many times going up and even more coming back down. So, please use caution and make sure you have good hiking boots on.

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The trail ends right at the base of Mist Falls. There is a nice view of the Columbia but not much place to sit and rest.

 

Distance: .8 miles

Elevation: 250 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: No

Good For: Anyone who is comfortable doing a scramble.

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: No

Overall: One of the only secluded waterfalls in the Gorge, just be careful getting to it!

Oneonta Gorge (Summer)

We wouldn’t even call this a hike. It’s more of a log and rock scramble, short swim, and walk through a creek, all wrapped up in one. But it’s very fun!

The Oneonta Gorge Trailhead is located on the Historic Columbia River Highway just past Multnomah Falls (if coming from Portland area). There are two small parking areas but it gets pretty sketchy on hot summer weekends.

Head down the staircase that drops you into Oneonta Gorge and follow the creek until you see the massive rock and log jam. We went on a very hot weekend and there were massive amounts of people. This made the logs very slick with mud and water and was a pretty slow go.

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After you have (carefully!) made your way over the rocks and logs keep heading upstream in ankle deep water. You’ll come to the first of two pools quickly.  The water is about thigh high on a 5’2 female and mid shin on a 6’3 male. This pool is short and leads to more ankle deep water.

The second pool is much deeper and we ended up swimming this part. Although the 6’3 male could have walked with the water about to his shoulders, it’s just easier to swim. After the last pool it’s only ankle deep water and you round a corner to the falls.

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This is a very short hike but we can’t stress enough to be safe. Flip flops and flimsy sandals are not suitable, and we saw kids and pets struggling. The water is ice cold and can take your breath away.

Want to checkout Upper Oneonta Falls? It’s on the Horsetail/Ponytail Falls hike.

 

Distance: 1 mile

Elevation: Minimal

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: No

Good For: Anyone who is comfortable with a scramble.

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: Summer

Popular: Very

Overall: This is a fun way to beat the heat. We would recommend going during the week to beat the crowds.

Falls Creek Falls (Summer)

This is another hike on the Washington side of the Gorge and it’s definitely worth the extra time crossing the river.

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)

The hike starts from the Falls Creek Falls Lower Trailhead. The well maintained trail winds through a Douglas Fir forest and follows along Falls Creek. After about 3/4 mile you will cross over a suspension bridge. There are a few moderately steep areas after this but they are short and give you great views of the creek.

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Around the two mile mark you will cross a foot bridge and head around a large bend. Here is where you will start to hear the roar of Falls Creek Falls. The trail then drops down to a perfect viewing area of the three-tier, 207 foot waterfall. This is a great area to take pictures, eat lunch and relax. This is an out-and-back trail, so head back the way you came in.

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If you are sure footed and have done scrambles before we recommend that you take the not very clear boot path thats off to the left of the waterfall. It climbs up the side of the hill (somewhat steeply) and drops you off at the middle tier of the waterfall. It’s absolutely gorgeous up there. The “trail” is very narrow and you must climb over and under fallen trees. Parts of the trail you are just shimmying along a very narrow and almost washed out path, while holding onto roots and rocks. It’s definitely not the hardest scramble we’ve ever done but it should only be done with extreme caution, as it can be dangerous.

Distance: 4 miles

Elevation: 600 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: Most ages. Some areas are fairly steep and may not be best for all ages.

Bathrooms: Yes at the parking area.

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: Snow gates are closed from late fall to early spring.

Popular: Yes

Overall: Great hike with a nice trail. Couldn’t ask for a prettier waterfall.