Angelic Views at Angel’s Rest


Looking over the Columbia River to Washington

One of the best short hikes in Oregon lies at the west end of the Columbia Gorge.  After spending a night in the city, I decided to take a gander at one of my favorite hikes from my college days, Angel’s Rest.  It had probably been at least 15 years since I hiked it, and I was curious to see if it was enjoyable as I remembered.

Looking north to Silver Star Mountain in Washington. Fond memories.

The trailhead is easily found just off Highway 84 at the Bridalveil exit.  There’s no need to disguise it, as this area is obviously no secret.  I was there at 8 a.m. on a Sunday, and there were already seven or eight cars there.   Not exactly undiscovered, but still a gem.

I passed one couple on the way up, enjoying the cool morning.  Somehow, although I almost felt underdressed, I was sweating.  I soon got views through the trees and spots where the trail opened up on old mossy rock slides.  Below me lay the mighty Columbia River, one of the largest rivers in North America.   An impressive sight, indeed.

Turning the corner into the sun. Welcome warmth

The trail soon crosses a creek, then grinds through some relatively painless switchbacks up the ridge. There are various views along the way.  Eventually a rocky brow appears above the switchbacks, but it still takes a while to get to the top, including crossing a broad rockslide decked out with two improvised rock shelters.  No, I am sure these are not the remnants of a paleolithic society.  A more likely scenario: a hiker had way too much time on her hands.

Bigfoot’s lair?

I reach the top of Angel’s Rest in an hour.  It is a spectacular rocky spur jutting out over the Gorge, its open nature reminiscent of much higher alpine spots.  There are great views to the north, east, and west.

Jackie and I have the rocky ramparts to ourselves until the couple I passed walks by with a nod.  They meander to the far end of the promontory, where they soak in the views.

View from the top.   The only other people on top take in the view.

I am glad that the top is warmer than the woods.   I relax for a while, but I need to get back to business.  It is over an hour home and I have work to think about and bills to pay.

Jackie’s first summit.

So: onward and downward.  A lot more people were hiking up now.  Some seemed ill-prepared, but so it goes on a trail close to the highway.  A number of hikers had dogs.  To avoid hassles, I put Jackie on leash for most of the descent.   He is an easy pup to control, and our descent was smooth.

We got back to the car by 10:30 a.m., having hiked 4.6 miles, pleased with ourselves.  Jackie would sleep well on the way home.  And yes, the trail is as good as I remembered.

Crown Point doesn’t seem that big from here

About Josh Baker

"The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” ― John Muir

Posted on September 30, 2012, in General Hiking, Hiking with dogs, Memories, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I want to climb into your “view from the top” photo and soak in those views myself!
    You said some of the upcoming hikers looked unprepared. What does one need to do to be prepared for this hike? (Just thinking of my recent 11-mile trek with 1 16-oz bottle of water to share!)

  2. So glad you’ve got a new pup to share trail time with… he looks like he’s having a lovely time sniffing around and exploring!

  3. Wow, that “view from the top” is just spectacular!

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