4 Great Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge
There are so many fantastic trails in the Columbia River Gorge area it can be overwhelming for hikers to decide where to begin. From dramatic mountain views to cascading falls, this region is truly a hiker’s paradise.
Here is a look at the top hiking trails to put on your list during your visit to the area.
Eagle Creek Trail
Eagle Creek trail is one of the most spectacular to be found in the Gorge, capturing its essence with as many as a half dozen major waterfalls, a wide variety of wildflowers and lush foliage. The trail was forged out of sheer cliffs, bridging a colossal gorge and even a tunnel through solid rock that can be found behind Tunnel Falls.
This moderate 4-mile hike leads to 30-foot Punchbowl Falls – which cuts through a narrow channel in Eagle Creek and powerfully shoots into a large bowl with the appearance of a punchbowl. This beautiful hike is popular, go early or late in the day for the best experience.
Find the trailhead one mile south of the road’s end off exit 41 on I-84 west of Cascade Locks.
Dry Creek Falls Trail
This is one of the best waterfall hikes, although it’s a tough choice in a region legendary for its waterfalls. It’s called Dry Creek, but it never actually runs dry even in peak summer months. The 4.4 mile hike is considered easy and doable for people of all ages and most fitness levels.
The small effort is well-worth the huge reward with Dry Creek Falls swirling through a deep, narrow crevice between the rocks and cascading 70 feet over the basalt cliffs into the canyon.
The trail can be accessed in Cascade Locks from the Pacific Crest trail next to the Bridge of the Gods.
Dalles Mountain Ranch State Park trails
Dalles Mountain Ranch State Park can be found at the eastern gate of the Gorge about 90 miles from Portland on the Washington side. This area tends to offer more peace and tranquility and is a great place to hike during the spring with the wildflowers in full bloom.
Explore canyons or climb up Stacker Butte and spot raptors soaring through the sky as well as numerous deer grazing on the hillsides.
Angels Rest Trail
Angels Rest is a wonderful hike off the Historic Columbia River Highway. This 4.6 mile hike begins in a fern-filled forest and climbs about a half mile before reaching the top of Coopey Falls, a stunning 150-foot horsetail waterfall. When you reach the peak, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Gorge. If you hike in late spring you’ll find brilliant wildflower displays including star-flowered Smiliacina, blue-eyed grass and trillium.