Hiking Along Coyote Wall


Coyote Wall is a volcanic escarpment in the eastern Columbia River Gorge. I had seen it for years while driving on the Oregon side of the river. To me, it looks like the sloping end of a laminated layer of earth, and I always thought it looked like it would be an amazing place to hike or mountain bike. Somehow I never investigated further until recently. It turns out I was right; it is a great place for those outdoor pursuits.

The trail starts on an old roadbed skirting the base of the cliffs. East of the cliffs, views open up to the mighty Columbia. In short order there is a junction and most of the hikers and bikers peeled off to the left. Junctions are not marked, but there appeared to be only a couple main options. Both climb up in sinuous curves, which seemed to suggest that mountain bikers spurred the development of the area. That and the deep ruts in certain curves…

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The day was almost perfect for hiking. There were blue skies, and the temperatures were moderate. I enjoyed open terrain with stupendous views the entire time. There were plenty of other hikers and bikers, but because it was open terrain, it didn’t cramp my style. I was too busy gawking in all directions and getting a decent workout.

After forty or fifty minutes of uphill walking, I was skirting the edge of the cliff. The views kept getting better, but eventually, I decided to stop climbing.  There was no official summit, so felt  good turning around at a small dip in the trail, especially when I got a late start.  Most others had stopped below.  Jackie Chan the wonder dog took the opportunity to go nuts a little.

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What a treat to have continuous views on the descent!  I veered into the area known at the Labyrinth, where the trail darts across a creek and along a few different undulating hollows between small crags.  Perhaps because the terrain was not as lush as the usual environments around Portland and in the Cascades, each splash of green, each little rill, each colorful flower was a visual treat.

This was a terrific place to visit, and I definitely want to return, perhaps with a mountain bike. Coyote Wall is another reason for outdoor lovers to visit the wondrous Columbia Gorge.

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 February 24, 2015, in Flora and Fauna, General Hiking, Hiking with dogs and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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