Tuesdays With Mindy: Latourell Falls Hike
This should have been a post about the North American Organic Brew Festival last weekend. If only we’d gone. Instead we took the high road and got some exercise. We decided to bring the pugs along because the weather was nice and they too could use the fresh air and natural scenery.
The first hiking spot after Crown Point and the Vista house on the Columbia Gorge is the Latourell Falls. It’s a short hike consisting of a lower and upper falls, which you can visit in a 2 mile loop.
There’s nothing at the parking area to map the trail or indicate the loop or the number of miles…so when you start on the upper trail past the initial viewing area, it seems like you are just wandering through the forest endlessly. I half wondered if it was going to connect up with the Oneonta Gorge but it was too far away. The Gorge loop only really goes to Triple Falls and then you can head up to Larch Mountain, but we’ve never been that far.
Since we had no idea just how long the hike was, we were considering turning back. Fortunately, as we stopped to give the dogs some water, a passer-by indicated that we were half-way to the waterfall. We were all like, wha? There’s a waterfall? So we drug a panting and exhausted Sun-Dawg and Jabba another 1/2 mile of mostly level trail until we reached the most gorgeous waterfall I’ve seen on the Columbia Gorge yet.
It starts out as a regular waterfall and then twists down into a ponytail or horsetail. Half the falls are obscured by the rock outcropping, but you can see the amazing sweep of the water cascading down into the pool below. Well worth the confusing hike into the woods.
On the way back several other hikers were asking the same questions – what’s the point of this hike? Where are we going? We passed along the information about the Upper Falls.
So yeah, if you decide to make Latourell Falls your first or last stop – do yourself a favor and take the 2 mile loop. It’s one of the easiest hikes we’ve done as far as elevation is concerned. This would be a nice day trip with kiddos.
I just wish they would mark the trail or give some indication of the loop distance and hiking ease. I have a feeling more people would make a point of traveling it.
Here are the pics!