If things have seemed a little quiet on the blog for the past few weeks, it’s because we’ve been relaxing, taking that 2-week Christmas vacay that was instilled in us through 17 years of schooling (I’ll never stop wanting it). I’ve been reading books (4 1/2 down, 2 1/2 to go), finally jumping on that Serial bandwagon (and pretending that my years of watching crime-solving comedies have prepared me in any way for having a valid opinion on such matters), and shamelessly watching this Bruno Mars video on repeat.
But now that our tiny Christmas tree is gone (though the runaway pine needles may haunt me forever), we’re transitioning back into normal life and doing things like cooking, cleaning, wearing real pants, etc.
I have a long list of places I want to visit in this new year, so to kick us off, we’re crossing Angel’s Rest off the list.
This hike is a must-do for so many reasons. One, it’s only 30-ish minutes away from downtown Portland. Two, the hike is relatively short and easy. Three, the views are phenomenal. We’ll call this a “little hike, big reward” adventure. To get views like this, we generally have to hike for hours or climb a mountain, but this was a 2.4-mile (4.8, roundtrip) gradual climb up to open views of the Columbia River Gorge.
The trail starts in the woods, wanders past Coopey Falls and Upper Coopey Falls, crosses a bridge, and then travels up some switchbacks into a field of rocks. From there, it’s a short distance to the open summit, where you’ll get your ridiculous views.
This is a hike made for clear days, so save it for great conditions. From what I’ve read, it gets pretty darn crowded on clear summer weekends, so a winter hike might be your best bet for avoiding the crowds.
We headed back down about an hour before sunset, and there were tons of people headed up to get the sunset views. We’ll have to add that to the to-do list!
A few things to note:
-It’s a popular trail, so expect lots of people. I thought a cold, freakishly windy day would give us the place to ourselves, but Oregonians are sure to get out when the sun is shining.
-The trail gets icy in spots during the winter, and from what I could tell, a pretty muddy mess after a rain.
-It’s going to be quite windy and chilly at the top, so keep those layers handy.
To get to the Angel’s Rest Trailhead, take I-84 east of Portland to Exit 28: Bridal Veil. Go right off the exit, and you’ll find a parking lot at the intersection with the Historic Columbia River Highway. There’s a second parking lot just up the hill, on your left, along with some parking on the road. The sign for the trailhead is on the road between the two parking lots.