Posts Tagged ‘Multnomah Falls’

Multnomah Falls – Wahkeena Falls Loop 12/18/10

Garmin Interactive Map

5.45 mi

Min / Max Elevation:
51 ft / 1,578 ft

Dexter & I

Waterfalls Along hike: Wahkeena Falls, Fairy Falls, Dutchman Falls, Wiesendanger Falls, Multnomah Falls and a few others even!

The Multnomah Falls – Wahkeena Falls Loop is one of my favorites in the Columbia River Gorge. It is just a quick 35 minutes from Portland, Oregon and you see many waterfalls over the course of just 5 miles. (Check out the last time I hiked it in FEB 2010)

Multnomah Falls area is a high populated area so whenever hiking in this area I try to get an early start to beat the crowds. Dexter and I started hiking in the dark…

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[Dex sporting his Ruff Wear Rain Jacket – Sweet reflectivity! ]

 

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[Quick shot of Wahkeena Falls before hiking up… ]

Once we hiked above Wahkeena Falls to Lemon’s Point daylight was finally amongst us.

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[Looking East – Can you spot Beacon Rock?]

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[Lemon’s Point looking North at Washington]

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[First tracks – I love being the first on the trail!]

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[Dex loving the snow]

This hike is straight up and straight down bringing a nice burning sensation to the legs. However, with multiple waterfalls and creeks along the way it makes it worth it.

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[Dexter – a blur]

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[Love the snow and raging creek]

Fairy Falls reminds me of a miniature version of Ramona Falls (near Mt Hood along Timberline Loop Trail). I think it looks cool with water flowing down a rock face – It bounces off each ‘rock stair’ creating an unique waterfall.

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[Fairy Falls]

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[Fairy Falls]

Not far after Fairy Falls you approach a trailhead – both ways will lead and join up again. I usually choose the Vista option (left) as you get some great views of the gorge. The other way (to the right) leads you through a dense forest (has the feeling of an old growth forest) joining up later at the bottom of Devils Rest. Hiking through the dense forest is the better option if there’s been heavy rain as the Vista Trail becomes extremely muddy.

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[Snow covered trees]

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[Bottom of Devils Rest – also where the Vista Trail / Forest Trail rejoin]

IMG_2415 [Looking up at the climb up to Devils Rest – its brutal especially since the reward isn’t the greatest]

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[Looking up at Devils Rest…. not today!]

Once you hit this section of trail it plateaus for awhile then begins to descend to the Multnomah Falls / Larch Mountain trail while paralleling the Columbia River.  Along the Multnomah Falls / Larch Mountain Trail you parallel Multnomah Creek (fed by Larch Mountain Snow Melt) there are multiple waterfalls.

IMG_2443[A Beaver Dam strategically placed in the calm of the creek]

 

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[Multnomah Falls]

The highest point along the trail was about 1600ft – here there was 2-3 inches of snow. Descending from the top of Multnomah Falls there was little snow on the trail and then none as I hiked below 500 ft. A solid early morning hike and no better way to complete it, but with a warm cup of hot chocolate at the Multnomah Falls Visitors Center!

Wahkeena Falls – Multnomah Falls Loop

Distance: RT 5 miles
Duration: 3 hours
Party: Mom, Dad, Myself
Wahkeena Falls – Multnomah Falls Loop Photos
NW Hiker info
Portland hiker info

It was one of those rare February winter days where the sun was out and the air was brisk. We started the hike from the Multnomah Falls parking lot.

I enjoy doing this loop counter clockwise because of the unique perspective you gain from this direction. Also, it’s nice to start the hike with a bit more solitude rather than the crowds hiking to the top of Multnomah Falls.

Like most hikes in the Columbia River Gorge there was an initial steep elevation gain. From the bottom of Wahkeena Falls to Lemons Point is a paved trail that climbs about 700 ft. Lemons Point offers beautiful views of the Western Columbia River Gorge. The trail continues to climb along Wahkeena Creek, which is fed from the snow run off of Larch Mountain.

Continue hiking up trail #420 and it will come to a fork with trail #419. Trail #420 meanders through the forested area and then merges with the #419 detour trail. Trail #419 offers great vista views, but can be difficult when wet because of the combination of steepness and mud. I usually take the #419 detour because the vista views are incredibly rewarding.

Less than a mile the trails merge at the juncture. Devils Rest trail head is at this juncture as well. Devils Rest is a painful steep climb to nothing. The one highlight about Devil’s Rest is there is little foot traffic creating a solitude experience. When I have hiked it in the past I was actually able to see some deer on the trail. This is pretty rare because of all of the foot traffic.

All in all this is a great hike especially if you are into waterfalls. There are a number of em’ along the trail –

Wahkeena Falls, Fairy Falls, Dutchman Falls, Wiesendanger Falls, Multnomah Falls and a few others even!

Wahkeena Falls – Multnomah Falls Loop Photos
NW Hiker info
Portland hiker info

– Garrett Hampton

Larch Mountain – Columbia River Gorge

Reminiscing…

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Now that we are in the Holiday season I find myself with even less time to get out and play. So to “get my blog on” this week I decided it would be best served by reminiscing about one of my favorite hikes in the Columbia River Gorge – the almighty Larch Mountain.

Larch Mt is one of my favorite hikes in the Columbia River Gorge due to its close proximity to the city and diversity of scenery along the trail. This hike can be done a few different ways –

Popular Starting Points: Larch Mountain

Multnomah Falls*

Horsetail Falls

Angel’s Rest

These are a couple of my favorite approaches. Multnomah Falls is definitely the shortest amongst all. However, Multnomah Falls (15 miles RT) is usually crowded and makes for a longer hike having to weave in and out of the numerous people making the “short” hike to the top of the falls. The “short hike” to the top is a far too common misconception amongst tourist as well as many Portland Metro Goers. Despite people even being able to visually see where the top viewpoint (noting the elevation gain) and seeing the mileage marker sign of 1 mile at the trailhead.

*A side note* – I have hiked up this trail passing women walking in high heals, pregnant women, people that were pulling up their 16 year old son in a wagon, morbidly obese people who look like they are going to collapse out of exhaustion, and many other misfits – but hey, at least they are out there right? Multnomah Falls recently has updated the one mile climb up with signage on each switchback to show what # of switchback you are on and the distance to go so people can decide if they still feel its worth it…

The trail follows up Multnomah creek most of the way up providing for beautiful views of multiple waterfalls and vistas. At the top – Sheppards Point 4,050 ft – views of Mt Hood, Mt Adams, Mt St Helens, Mt Rainer… on a clear day.

The first and last 2 miles are the most strenuous. Generally speaking – in the Columbia River Gorge, the first mile of most trails are steep and strenuous climbing to the top of the ridge of the gorge.

Just beyond the top of Multnomah Falls the trail traffic slows. The trail parallels Multnomah Creek for most of the way as it continues a slow but steady incline up to Sheppards Point. There are many waterfalls ranging in size – each very unique in their own way.

Three bridges cross over Multnomah Creek as the trail winds through the rugged hills up to Larch Mountain. Shortly after the third bridge crossing there is an open rock clearing. At this point it begins to steadily become steeper.

The next big trail juncture is 2 miles from Sheppards Point. The last 2 miles of the trail climb through a highly dense forested area with little visibility of the surrounding area making it difficult to navigate in the dark or when snow is on the ground.

I have gotten out of some sticky situations by understanding the topography of the area. I have hiked this trail in June on an 80+ degree day and 2.5 miles from Sheppards Point we hit snow. By knowing the topography of the area I knew it would be more efficient to stay along the ridgeline rather than following up the trail through the dense snowy forest. Many people have gotten lost in this area by coming into similar situations – the dense forest turns people around and disables their sense of direction completely.

I will be the first to say I have been lost. I actually like to phrase it more like “I was temporarily misguided.” I believe that being lost in somewhat of a controlled environment (comfortable weather; within close proximity of civilization; readily prepared – food, first aid kit, emergency blanket, etc) only strengthens your abilities to navigate and survive in more extreme situations. In some of my experiences of being lost people have the tendency to make irrational decisions that can potentially be damaging. It is absolutely quintessential to think clearly through each decision and action taken.

For all day hikes I go prepared with –

  • Day pack
  • Water (water treatment – iodine tablets)
  • Food (energy bars, trail mix, candy, etc)
  • First Aid (athletic tape, alcohol pads, pain reliever)
  • Clothes (Layers, rain jacket, fleece, gloves, beanie hat)
  • Knife
  • Whistle
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Headlamp
  • Fire (matches/lighter)

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Happy Hiking!