Hiking in the Columbia Gorge

Salem, OR

Today we drove north to the Columbia River Gorge to do some hiking at a couple of the many waterfalls in the gorge.   Our first stop was at Wahkeena Falls.  We hiked up to a bridge crossing the stream about mid-way up the falls then continued up to Lemmon’s Viewpoint, well above the 262 foot falls.

Wahkeena Falls

Looking up from the bridge at the mid point of the falls

The Columbia River from Lemmon’s Viewpoint

The trail going up the hill is very steep and features numerous switchbacks.  At some points you can look down the hill and see the path numerous times.  In the picture below Pam was on the trail below me after a switchback.  In the second picture she continued around another switchback while I remained in the same spot.

After returning to the parking lot we decided to hike the half mile to the next falls area.  Multnomah Falls drops in two major steps, split into an upper falls of 542 feet  and a lower falls of 69 feet, with a gradual 9 foot drop in elevation between the two, so the total height of the waterfall is conventionally given as 620 feet. Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in the State of Oregon. It is credited by a sign at the site of the falls as the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States but that claim is debated among waterfall experts.

Multnomah Falls

We hiked up to the bridge across the falls, then continued up a long, steep trail to the top of the falls where we were treated to some spectacular views.

View of the parking area and Columbia River from above the falls

Looking down the falls, the crossing bridge below

Enjoying lunch above the falls

At the visitor’s center we were told there were more falls above Multnomah Falls and also the trail would cross over and we could come down the trail we previously hiked to Wahkeena Falls, so we continued the hike upward.

The trail above the falls was a bit rocky in places

Rock formations at times hover over your head

Weisendanger Falls

The trail became a bit steep and narrow above all the falls.  It’s difficult to capture in a picture, but the picture below shows a look down through the trees.

After many switchbacks and steep climbs upward, we reached the top and were treated to a beautiful trail through the tall pines.

After a mile hike across the top, we began the long descent.  Again, many switchbacks weaved the trail down the mountain.

A switchback on the way down

Fairy Falls on the way down

After over four hours and seven and a half miles of hiking up and down the side of the gorge, we returned to the car tired but glad to be alive,  We now know how Sir Edmond Hillary and his expedition felt after hiking Mt. Everest in 1953.

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1 Response to Hiking in the Columbia Gorge

  1. Marsha says:

    Beautiful photos of Wahkeena Falls. We didn’t get to hike that one, so thanks for the view from the bridge.
    Those switchbacks most of the times are something else! That trail looks like a good workout one for sure.
    Prefect spot for lunch…above Multnomah Falls. Isn’t that just a lovely Falls. Since we were with another couple and Terry can’t go on hikes, we just stood there and were in AAAAAHHHHHH! Spectacular.
    Awesome picture of you in front of the Falls, Pam. You two deserve a slice of Banana Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake and a Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino Blended Cream…super-duper large!
    Wonderful post. So happy for you both!

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