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Give my regards to Holbert and Kiwanis
This was my first hike in Oregon since moving to Washington State from Arizona. It is one of the most visited places in Oregon, and for good reason: a 550-foot high waterfall, within 100 yards of an interstate highway. It's less than a 30 minute drive from downtown Portland.
Most folks walk the short distance to the lodge and base of the falls; some even hike the 1/4 mile to the bridge for a closer view. Even this short distance creates a great photography opportunity.
However, the best view is from the top, via a 1.1 mile paved trail. Once you get past the bridge, the crowds will dissipate quickly, because of the steepness of the trail. The good people of Oregon put a series of signs that count the number of switchbacks to the top (there are 11), along with markers at every quarter-mile. There are several places to stop and view the falls along the way, and the higher up you get, the better the view of the Columbia River Gorge. The only down side is the noise from the highway and railway below. This is your motivation to get to the top, because once you cross to the other side, man-made noise is replaced by natural running water noise.
After about 3/4 mile, the trail heads East away from the falls, but then comes over a rise and then it's a short distance downhill, along the creek, to the viewing area that allows you to look right over the edge. The viewing deck will keep any folks from foolishly trying to get too close, but allows you to see down to the lodge, and out along the Gorge.
One warning: Please be sure to secure and hide valuables in your car. Thieves like to smash in windows and grab what they can see.
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This hike is listed as One-Way.
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