Latourell Falls Loop

Regrettably, it has been a while since my last post.   The outdoor jaunts have been few and far between, so I was pleased to have perfect weather last Saturday for some two legged traveling.  I drove east on Highway 84 along the mighty Columbia River, ready to hit some waterfalls with my dog.

Jackie stays still when I say so.

Jackie stays still when I say so.

After passing a ridiculously crowded trailhead for Angel’s Rest, I decided on the Latourell Falls Loop, which actually hits two waterfalls.

Angel's Rest Trailhead crowds

Ridiculous Angel’s Rest trailhead crowds

The main falls with its 249 foot plunge can be seen right off the old Columbia River Highway.

Fifty yards ups a steep path there is a great overlook of the fall.  A crowd has gathered.  Continuing past it, I follow a twenty-something guy with a dog, figuring I can keep up.  Wrong answer.  The trail seems unnecessarily steep at first, and I am gassed quickly.  I am getting old!  It takes a while to get my groove on, about the point where I get some cool sidelong views at the lower falls.

Sideways view of the lower falls

Sideways view of the lower falls

The trail is rather non-descript for half a mile until it nears the upper falls.  Occasionally I spy hikers on a path barely fifty yards away across the canyon.

The upper falls is a two stage drop in to a mini punchbowl.

Two stage drop on the upper falls.

Two stage drop on the upper falls.

Two  men scramble behind the veil of spray as Jackie and I soak in the view.  It is spectacular. Then we follow the path across a bridge.  It heads back down the far side, hitting more sun, for which I am appreciative.  The light seems especially luminous on moss cloaked branches.

Amazing light and sky

Amazing moss, light, and sky

A tiny spur trail leads to the top of the lower falls.   With Jackie on leash, I don’t creep too close to the edge.  The view is sublime enough where I am: two hundred fifty feet straight down to splash town.

Vertical views

Looking straight down

This was the best hike I’ve taken in a month.  It starts out challenging but quickly gets casual, there are two spectacular waterfalls, and it even has views out into the Gorge proper.

Looking toward Washington

Looking toward Washington

Once past the upper falls, the trail isn’t too crowded.  The end of the loop ducks back under the road and returns to the lower falls.

Jackie waits just after trail crosses back beneath the road

Jackie waits just after trail crosses back beneath the road

The geometric geology of the basalt cliff behind Latourell Falls is amazing up close from the final section of the loop.

Amazing falls up close

Amazing falls up close

Latourell Falls in all its glory

Latourell Falls in all its glory

What else can I say?  As I drive back to Portland, I have a silly smile on my face.  Yeah, it was that nice.

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 March 12, 2013, in Flora and Fauna, General Hiking, Hiking with dogs, Uncategorized, Waterfalls, Waterways and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. The Falls look spectacular! I’m glad you were able to get out on a hike and enjoy the nice weather!

  2. That’s a gorgeous area. I’ve only ever been to the touristy parts. I guess I need to go back. 🙂

  3. Whoa, all those cars! Glad you could ditch the crowds.

  4. Clearly, a popular place and with good reason!! Do those falls run full year round, or is spring the best time of year due to snow melt?

  5. Envious of your trails! I’ve just been able to “hike” my neighborhood roads lately.
    Great views from your trails, as always, and I love the moss…also the Lego-like geology 🙂

  6. It is amazing how as the weather warms up we are all yearning to get outside. I am glad you could enjoy and even more glad you decided to share!

  7. A good way to record your trek, but even more so to promote the trail. Too bad there’s no room for you to write of such experiences for pay.

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