Posts Tagged ‘waterfalls’

Tanner Butte – Columbia River Gorge 2/1/11

Garmin Interactive Map

20.7 mi

Elevation Gain:
5,806 ft

Min / Max Elevation:
78 ft / 4,111 ft

Matt, Dexter, Sadie & I

Tanner Butte had been a hike on my ‘ to hike list’ for along time. Its one of the many higher mileage day hikes in the Columbia River Gorge. I had finally dedicated myself to getting an early enough start to have the opportunity to finish before dark.

The trailhead starts in an awkward spot right off of exit 40 (Bonneville Dam). You can either park at the Wahclella Falls trailhead (just to the right/South as you come off i84) or the Tooth Rock parking lot (just left/East at the fork). Tooth Rock parking is free and is known for access to the Columbia River Gorge Historic Highway that has been converted into a walking / biking path in different sections. Tooth Rock is just West of Eagle Creek (Punch Bowl Falls & Tunnel Falls) and serves as the trailhead for Wauna Viewpoint. We parked at the Wahclella Falls trailhead (requires a NW Forest Pass) .

From the parking lot you walk back (North) towards i84 where the road forks – the hike begins here. The trailhead is halfway decently marked, but beyond this good luck…

Matt and I brought information about the hike; however, it did not completely help as there were many unmarked and obscure roads. We explored a few roads and one finally led us to the top of some ridge dead-ending. Discouraged as we were hiking down we started to plot our itinerary for the rest of the day – possibly hitting up a couple other hikes in the area. We ended up giving it one last shot and found the correct road, which led us to the Tanner Butte Trailhead … finally!

Apparently back in the day you were able to drive to the real Tanner Butte Trailhead. From the get-go the trail is beautiful! It starts with a series of small cascading waterfalls. We had to hike across a small icy creek that required some rock-hoping preplanning to prevent getting wet. My dog Dexter loved walking through the creek hydrating while my brothers dog Sadie is still deathly afraid of water. Sadie would not budge – I had to grab her scruff and pull her across the creek. This didn’t wade well for my feet as they got slightly damp with many more miles to go.

There was a strong East wind that kept the air brisk – chilly brisk that is! Needless to say, I wasn’t willing to bust out my camera much and sacrifice my hands freezing. Much of the hike we stayed in the dense forest somewhat protected from the wicked East wind of the Columbia River Gorge.


[The Snowy Tanner Butte Trail – Dexter loves to run ahead]

Luckily once we got onto the Tanner Butte trail it was mostly easy to follow. As you can see above the trail clearly cuts through the forest. Sections of the trail we hiked were actually an old road. There was a few areas where it almost got away from us (due to the deceiving snow) that we took loose tree limps and logs to clearly mark  the trail to see on the way back.

The snow level had been at a high elevation for awhile leading up to this trip, but since much of the trail hikes through dense forest the snow is protected from the sun leaving us to hike though it. Most of the way the snow was firm and icy. As the snow melted off the tops of the trees the moisture created divots in the snow – this was definitely wearing on your feet and ankles causing your foot strike changed constantly. Hiking a few miles through this type of terrain slowed us down tremendously. As we reach a vista we felt like we were near the summit, but it was a false summit – a beautiful vantage point though!


[Mt Hood with Tanner Butte in the near distance]

It was starting to get late in the day so we had to make some difficult decisions. From the ‘false summit’ we decided to give the summit a shot. After a half mile or so the trail disappeared as did our summit fever. The snow had gotten thicker and icier and the forest had grown a few too many trees leaving us to poor visibility. Just a few hundred vertical feet from the summit we decided it was best to not show up in the news and turn around.


[Mt Adams in the distance]

When hiking you see so many different things – when you are leading vs following or when you are going ‘out’ or coming ‘back.’ As we were hiking ‘back’ we got a glimpse of Mt Adams in the distance.


[Matt in good spirits]

The decision to turn around or keep trekking is a difficult one to make. Like many, I want to reach my final destination – the summit! However, there are many factors that are considered prior to turning around – time/day light, trail conditions, supplies packed, individual’s fatigue. We probably would have been okay, but didn’t want to risk coming back to the wrath of our significant others for arriving way late 😉

IMG_2624[Munra Point just West of us]

On the way back we took full advantage of the downhill keeping a solid pace. With just a couple miles left the sun started to set behind the might ridges of the Columbia River Gorge. It made for a cool shot of Munra Point and reminded me of how steep of a climb it was!  We arrived back to the car just as it was nearing complete darkness. The dogs fell asleep instantly as they probably put in double the mileage we did!


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…


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



[Quick shot of Wahkeena Falls before hiking up… ]

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


[Looking East – Can you spot Beacon Rock?]


[Lemon’s Point looking North at Washington]


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


[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.


[Dexter – a blur]


[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.


[Fairy Falls]


[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.


[Snow covered trees]


[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]


[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]



[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!

Crater Lake Trip

This is a recap of our trip to Crater Lake. Click on the links for more information about a particular area… Enjoy! 🙂

Day 1

McKenzie Scenic Highway

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Proxy Falls



Dee Wright Observatory

Bend, Oregon

bend brewery

Bend Brewing Company


Soda Creek Camping

(A couple great hikes in the area – South Sister& Black Butte)


Day 2


Diamond Lake


Crater Lake


Day 3


Prospect, Oregon


Historic Prospect Hotel


Pearsoney Falls


Mill Creek Falls


Barr Creek Falls

Highway 138 Waterfalls


Clear Water Falls


Whitehorse Falls


Watson Falls


Toketee Falls


Colliding in Glide

Prospect, Oregon – Crater Lake Trip

After visiting the Winter Wonderland up at Crater Lake we finally arrived to Prospect, Oregon. I had been given a free nights’ stay at the Historic Prospect Bed and Breakfast from Travel Portland and was very eager to use it.

We were a tab bit early for checkin so we did a little exploring. Prospect is a small town – school, post office, gas station, tavern and of course the Historic Bed and Breakfast. We quickly found ourselves at the Tavern with a microbrew in hand. We enjoy visiting different pubs as they all have an unique feel.




Kristin and I had never experience the Bed and Breakfast deal before and did not know what to expect. The Prospect Bed and Breakfast is a beautiful Historic house that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as it was built in the 1880’s. The house is quaint with history lining the walls.


We we given the John Muir Room at the Historic Bed & Breakfast Hotel.  It was located on the 3rd floor – no elevators… Kristin didn’t like hauling her stuff up 3 flights of stairs much. The room was small and had all the necessities. We quickly enjoyed climbing up and down the 3 flights of stairs as we learned more about the place with the plethora of historic pictures and articles displayed. Being placed in the John Muir Room was cool too as he was a great wilderness explorer back in the day.

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[3 Flights of Stairs up… ]

Just a short 10 minute stroll from the Hotel are a few cool waterfalls. With the abundant amount of the rain one positive thing about it was the waterfalls looked much more powerful.  Before breakfast we walked to Pearsoney Falls - 

 Garmin Interactive Map

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[Pearsoney Falls – 10 minute walk from Hotel]


[Close Call!]

There was a huge storm that rolled through that entire area with some intense precipitation and wind. The SUV parked next to us wasn’t as fortunate as our car – he got hit and dented up pretty bad.

After breakfast we ventured back to the waterfall scenic area. The avenue of boulders and mill creek falls are an amazing geological site.


Garmin Interactive Map





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[Mill Creek Falls & Barr Creek Falls]

The Historical Prospect Bed & Breakfast was an excellent place close to Crater Lake. It was awesome to have the ability to walk from the Hotel to the Mill Creek Scenic Area. Also, the food at the Hotel’s Dinner House was phenomenal! For dinner I went with the grilled rib eye and a fine bottle of local wine. We lucked out for breakfast as we were served the specialty breakfast ‘left overs’ from a large group. It was essentially French toast, but way better. The bread is soaked over night is some sort of caramel concoction. Even with my legendary eating habits I was only able to put away a couple pieces because it was so rich – but soooo good! 

Proxy Falls – Crater Lake Trip

1.9 miles Loop

Garmin Interactive Map

Elevation Gain:
187 ft

Min/Max Elevation:
3,067 ft / 3,245 ft

Proxy Fall is a family friendly hike located right off of Highway 242/McKenzie Pass Highway. Keep in mind that this highway is closed for a large portion of the year due to extreme snow conditions. To find out road conditions or road closures check out Trip Check.

I had recently hiked Proxy Falls in September when we were in Sisters, Oregon. If you are driving through the area it is definitely worth the stop. The trailhead is located just off the highway and offers cool views of the lava fields and 2 unique waterfalls.



[Trail map]

On our way to Crater Lake we took the scenic byway and Proxy Falls was our first of many stops. It was cool to see how the area had changed from hiking it just a few months prior. Despite it being a tad bit wet the fall colors were impressive.


[Beautifully Marked Trailhead]


[A little green, rain and even sun]



[Lower cascading falls]


[Fresh Flowing water]




[Upper Falls – Also the ‘big one’]


[Lava Fields]

Proxy Falls

September 5, 2010

1.85 mile Round Trip

Elevation Gain:
220 ft

Min/Max Elevation:
3,066 ft/3,242 ft

Bob, Myself
Proxy Falls and Dee Wright Observatory both are located off of Highway 242. Highway 242/McKenzie Pass Highway is a scenic byway. This scenic byway seems to be closed much of the year due to the combination of high amounts of snow and curvy narrow roads making it extremely dangerous to maintain.

The famous Pacific Crest Trail crosses highway 242 near the Dee Wright Observatory. This area is so fascinating – You start driving from Sisters, Oregon West. Sisters is located in the High Desert area – extremely dry with the classic juniper trees. As you drive further West and start to climb in elevation you will immediately see the large fields that go for miles.  The lava fields are amazing – it is unbelievable to see! Dee Wright Observatory is one of the highest points long this stretch of highway at about 5200ft – from here you start to descend and immediately hit the dense forest. There is little transition from one area to the next – its abrupt, way crazy!

I had gotten some recommendations from a few friends to check out Proxy Falls. It is considered more of a stroll in the park versus an actual hike. I dressed accordingly Portland Style with my flip flops, cargo shorts and camera in hand.


I have this obsession with taking pictures of trail signs/maps/etc to accurately document the trip – even more so when I come unprepared and am not familiar with the area (great combinations by the way). It has helped a few times with better understanding the area and taking a win in a small friendly bet in the “who is right” game.

The is an Upper Falls and a Lower Falls that can be done in a looping form. It is about 1.5 miles to complete the loop, but can be more depending on how much exploring you do.


Proxy Falls is located in the dense forests, which also appeared to be once lava fields similar to the Dee Wright area. Over time the rock had been weather and eroded to create rich soil for plants and trees to flourish in. It is interesting to see the areas that have not yet been taken over – the lava fields look so desolate.


[Bob strolling through the lava fields]


[Looking North at a sweet Cliff I want to climb!]


[The Lower Falls]

At first sight the Lower Falls immediately reminded me of Ramona Falls located up on Mt Hood [viewable along the Timberline Trail/Pacific Crest Trail]. It is a beautiful sight for sure! And if you were wondering the water is colder than it looks…


[Bob sizing up the Falls]


[Stream flowing with the sun peaking through]


[Upper Falls]

The Upper Falls was definitely beautiful and unique as well, but I do have to admit … wished we had hiked this one in reverse order. Upper Falls is similar to Wahkeena Falls in the Columbia River Gorge – more rolling versus straight vertical. So it was similar to starting with Multnomah Falls then going to Wahkeena Falls – still great, but its nice to end with a “big boom.”


Despite the sun blinding us when we looked up at the falls I was still able to get a couple good shots of the falls. The moss was great to contrast the bright sun and white flowing water.


This was a fun little stroll that I would highly recommend! Especially for those that are traveling the full distance along the scenic highway it is a great way to break up the drive a bit. It looked like there is some great potential for picnic area at the Lower Falls as well…

Paradise Park, Mt Hood

August 14/15
Elevation – Min: 4700ft Max: 6200ft
12.5 mile Round Trip
Myself & Kristin
Paradise Park Hiking Photos
Garmin Connect –  Day 1 stats,      Day 2 stats

Video Action

Paradise Park is located just West of Timberline Lodge Ski Resort. There are a few different approaches to Paradise Park – via Ramona Falls, Burnt Lake, and Timberline trails. We chose the Timberline Lodge approach because of peace of mind parking the car at the Lodge and the mileage/elevation is the less strenuous of these approaches.

It was a perfect weekend to escape the Portland, Oregon heat and run to the Mountain for some cooler temperatures. We had just recently moved into a new place that unfortunately does not have central air or any kind of air conditioning for that matter; however, it does have plenty of storage room to my plethora of outdoor gear that definitely makes up for it (except when its 90+ two weeks out of the year). So to eliminate the problem of sleeping in the house, which definitely felt like was on top of the equator we headed up – 6,000 ft to be exact.

Timberline Lodge is located at 6,000 ft and is one of the select few areas in the world that have year around skiing/snowboarding. We left the house relatively early in anticipation of others thinking the same way we were. We hit the trail just after 8am.


[Looking South towards Timberline Lodge w/ the Flag blowing in the furious winds]


[Kristin amped for backpacking]

From the Timberline Lodge parking lot up to the trailhead we encountered frustrated skiers/snowboarders. The lifts were being delayed (not sure if they actually ever ran that day) due to heavy winds. The distance from the parking lot to the trailhead always seems like it is an eternity away because you are just starting to acclimate to the heavy pack, the elements (tornado like winds), the elevation (6,000 ft is a big change from living at 200 ft!), and warming up em’ cold muscles. For the first .25 miles from the parking lot to the trailhead it wakes you right up – the steep trail, beautiful views of Mt Hood & a few other Cascades, and fresh mountain air get you going.

I have hiked the entire Timberline Loop (41-ish mile hike around base of Mt Hood) the past few summers and have always noticed the trail juncture for Paradise Park, but had never made it up as it is early on in the trip (trail juncture is about 5ish miles from Timberline). I have always enjoyed the first section of the Timberline Loop and decided it was time for Kristin to enjoy it as well.

To Paradise Park you hike along the Timberline Loop trail #600, which is also shared with the almighty Pacific Crest Trail (trail that spans from Mexico to Canada).


The trail is continuously winding in and out of the forest giving you great glimpses of the Cascade Peaks and beautiful treed valley. From time to time you’ll come across snow patches that have been so lucky to survive most the summer. Just under a mile into the hike you will come across a Wilderness Permit Box. When entering the Mt Hood National Forest (and many other forests for that matter) you are required to sign in by filling out some basic information. This info basically is used to track the usage of the area and does influence the amount of funding it granted as well – so fill it out!

From Timberline Lodge to the top of Zig Zag Canyon it is mostly down hill (which makes for a good warm up to the hiking experience). Despite it being downhill we were still bundled up because of the heavy winds. The winds were causing mini dust storms blowing the fine-grained sand everywhere coating everything in it.


[Atop Zig Zag Canyon enduring the crazy winds/sand storm]


The descent into Zig Zag Canyon is long, gradual with just a couple steep grade switchbacks. Trekking poles are nice to have on much of this trail especially when you are carrying a decent amount of weight. The 4×4 traction gives you more balance and provides you with a little peace of mind through sketchy sections of washed out trail and river crossings. Hiking down into Zig Zag Canyon there are a couple of narrow spots along the trail with a decent cliff like drop. Unforntuately for “Daisy the dog” a few years ago she took the tumble. While hiking the full Timberline Loop we had “Daisy the dog” & “Max the dog.” Along this particular narrow section of trail the dogs were vowing for the lead. Needless to say Max won as Daisy slipped and tumbled down the hillside after being launched off a log. A 1 hour rescue operation took place. It was extremely difficult to get to her as the ground was wet and steep. She was luckily just a little dazed and sore – we were able to continue along the trail.

Along the river in Zig Zag Canyon is always a great spot to rest for a few minutes. If you hike a few hundred yards up river there is a sweet waterfall.


Crossing the river can be somewhat tricky depending on the time of year / time of day you cross. We usually cross in the morning when water levels are not as high – but even then it can be a little tricky to keep the feet dry. Usually if you hike up river a ways it narrows just enough to make a leap across with minimal danger of your feet getting wet.

After crossing the River the elevation climb begins. From the River (4700 ft) to the top of Paradise Park (6200ft) it is up up and up for about 3 miles. Not far after hiking above the river you come to a trail juncture. To the left you continue around the Mountain on the Pacific Crest Trail/ Timberline Loop #600 and to the right is the Paradise Park trail.

From Trail #600 / Paradise Park trail cut off the steepness increases a bit. Portions of the trail are made up of fine grained sand, which make it difficult to hike it – every step you slip back a few inches. Again, the ole trekking poles come in handy! Along the Paradise Park Loop trail you come to the Paradise Park Summit Trail cut off. This area is truly Paradise – a high Alpine Meadow with amazing views of the Cascade Mountains and the valley.

IMG_1066 IMG_1069

Hiking up to the Paradise Park summit is fairly steep so we decided to pull over in a shady spot and hang out for awhile as we were way ahead of schedule. We watched other hikers head up the hill to the summit – by the looks of the hill it looks pretty steep! 

IMG_1089 IMG_1074

At the Paradise Park Summit the wind was blowing hard so we had to layer up. We hung out up there for awhile – long enough for Kristin to get a nap in. While she was napping I jotted up towards the Mountain a ways. We were a few weeks late on seeing the wildflowers in few bloom, but there was a few left.


Its pretty cool to see the headwaters of some of the major rivers in the area. Here’s a sweet “fresh” (a few hundred yards from the glacier) waterfall.

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It was starting to get late in the day and we were seeing some crowds roll in so we decided to hike down and claim our camping spot. We scored a sweet spot near a creek with a perfect view of the Mountain.


We hiked up on this bluff to watch the sunset. Truly beautiful!

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[cool wildflowers up there]


[Enjoying the sunset]


[if you look close enough you can see the I205 bridge!]

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[cool moon]



[my best attempt at getting a night shot – I had the shutter open for 15 seconds (max my camera goes) pic doesn’t do it justice.. as always]

And of course in the morning we watched the sunrise… It rose at 6:10am, but from our camping spot we didn’t see it until 7:30am-ish.

IMG_1318We didn’t stick around for long as it was heating up fast! I didn’t want to wait for it to get hot while I was climbing up Zig Zag Canyon!


[I let Kristin wear my “positive energy” bracelet to increase her balance :)]


[Timberline Ski lifts in the distance – we are close!]

This was a perfect backpacking trip for Kristin’s first backpacking experience. The weather mostly cooperated and we were able to enjoy the clear skies with both sweet sunset/sunrise’s. I highly recommend checking this one out as either a day hike or short weekend backpacking trip.