The day started with donuts, as all the best days do.
We met our hiking buddies for the day, Dana and Emma, at Pip’s Original in Northeast Portland. I could write a whole post raving about this place, but I’ll save that for another time. But basically, I love these tiny, made-to-order donuts. And I believe Dana said something to the effect of, “This place converts you immediately.” It’s kind of a must-do if you’re headed east of the Willamette River.
And east we went, full of sugar, coffee, and chai, to the Columbia River Gorge for some waterfall hiking.
We started off with what was supposed to be a hike to Triple Falls. But apparently the recent string of downpours around here led to a landslide along the trail, which prevented us from actually reaching our final destination. But we still saw plenty of waterfalls before we had to turn around.
The trail started at the base of Horsetail Falls, and quickly arrived at Ponytail Falls, which is one of those awesome Oregon waterfalls that you get to walk behind. I read that brave souls play in the pool at the bottom during the summer, but I don’t imagine the water is ever quite warm enough to make that comfortable.
There were also some pretty spectacular views of the Columbia River Gorge. I can never get tired of those.
And then you get to cross a somewhat sketchy bridge with a warning that it’s only structurally sound enough to hold one person at a time.
Some other hikers warned us of the landslide ahead, which did, indeed, wipe out a big chunk of the trail.
We turned back here, but had quite a bit of hike left in us, so we headed back up the road just a bit to make a quick pit-stop at Multnomah Falls (a good place to use the restroom and then fight the crowds to view the waterfall in all its glory).
We hit the road again (just for a minute or so), to find the trailhead for Wahkeena Falls. There was a sign at the trailhead warning that the whole loop wasn’t open, so we opted to just hike until we felt like turning around.
This hike reminded me quite a bit of Sweet Creek Falls, with the trail running alongside a creek full of waterfalls. This trail ran alongside Wahkeena Creek for most of the portion we hiked. It was gorgeous, just as you’d expect from any hike in the Gorge.
We passed Fairy Falls before turning around soon after the Wahkeena Spring, which feeds the waterfalls below.
It was quite a bit colder on our way back down, which made the spray coming off Wahkeena Falls pretty darn chilly. I recommend walking quickly if you don’t want to get chilled to the bone.
So, two incomplete hikes, a bunch of waterfalls, and several hours of hiking later, we were wiped. That’s a good day in the Gorge, my friends.
To get to this string of waterfall hikes, take I-84 east of Portland to exit 28. Turn left onto the Historic Columbia River Highway, and drive anywhere from 2-5 miles, depending on which hike you’d like to do (Horsetail Falls or Wahkeena Falls). All of these trails have parking areas, and are well-marked. You can’t go wrong with any waterfall hike in the area.