Monday, October 27, 2014

Dry Creek Falls

If you want to visit Dry Creek Falls you'll start your hike at the Bridge of the Gods Trailhead located off the Cascade Locks exit from the I-84 going East along the Columbia River Gorge. This hike is easy to do and fun for the entire family. The total distance is 4.4 mile with an elevation gain of 710 feet. No matter the time of year or the severity of the weather it is never dry at Dry Creek Falls. Learn more about the Dry Creek Falls hike below.
This hike starts you at the Bridge of the Gods Trailhead. From the trailhead, cross the road and head up the Pacific Crest Trail parallel to I-84. Watch out for an old safety fence here that encroaches the trail and is now more of a hazard than a help. In about 1/10 of a mile, you'll come to Moody Street as it crosses under the freeway. Walk the road uphill to the right for a bit, under the freeway. When the road angles left, go straight ahead on a gravel road a short distance to twin trailheads. Altogether the road walking here is about 100 yards. The trail to the right is the Gorge Trail headed toward the Ruckel Creek Trail and the Eagle Creek Campground. You'll take the trail to the left, which is the Pacific Crest Trail.
The Crest Trail heads gradually uphill, never too steep, through a pretty, dappled sun kind of forest. In the spring, forest wildflowers including columbines are common here. About 1 mile in, you'll come to a powerline access road. Turn right here and follow the road a short distance under the powerlines to the resumption of the trail. Soon after the powerline road, you'll come to a minor summit and the trail begins a gradual descent to Dry Creek. This section of trail heads gradually downward through an interesting area of large lava boulders and trees for almost another mile.
At Dry Creek, the trail comes to another dirt road. This one seems to be open to normal traffic, at least I saw a small, 2 wheel drive pickup last time I was there. The Crest Trail crosses the road and then crosses Dry Creek on a wooden bridge. To get to Dry Creek Falls, instead of crossing the bridge, turn right here and head up the road about 2/10 of a mile to the falls. At the end of the road, there's a car turnaround and a fire pit. 
SRC: Find more photos and information about Dry Creek Falls at: www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Dry_Creek_Falls_Hike

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Buck Point Hike


If you like a little more adventure in your hike then the Buck Point Hike may be the ideal trail for you. Buck Point Hike starts at the Eagle Creek Trailhead and requires the finding of the 'real' Buck Point Trailhead. If found this hike is 1.8 miles round trip with 570 feet elevation gain resulting in an overall difficulty level of moderate. This hike is available year round and is family friendly, ending at viewpoints of the Columbia River Gorge. Read details about the Buck Point Hike below.
The hardest part of the Buck Point Hike might be finding your way to the "real" trailhead. Parking isn't available there, so you'll need to park at the Eagle Creek Suspension Bridge. You'll start by heading up the paved campground road for a bit, until you see a sign for Gorge Trail 400. The Gorge Trail climbs to the top of a bluff, then travels next to a protective fence for a ways. At a fork, take the right path signed for Buck Point. The left fork heads down to the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail. After passing a second fence, you'll find yourself at Campsite 11. Walk towards the right on the road and turn left on another road at Campsite 10. Between Campsites 5 and 6, you'll find a large sign reading "Buck Point Trail"
The sign says you have 3/4 of a mile to go, but it's closer to 0.4 miles. Hike up through a series of switchbacks through the forest. Near the top, you'll break out into a power line clearing. Just past an unmarked junction with Ruckel Ridge Trail, you'll arrive at Buck Point. Enjoy the views. 
SRC: Find more information and maps for the Buck Point Hike at: www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Buck_Point_Hike

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Mosier Twin Tunnels Hike


A very popular hike in the Columbia River Gorge is the Mosier Twin Tunnels Hike. These tunnels had been used from 1921 until 1954 in order to get through the high rock point. In 2000 the tunnels were reopen for tourist use after rebuilding and resurfacing the road. Now you can enjoy the Mosier Twin Tunnels with a moderately difficult hike. This hike is 8.5 mile round trip with a 1000 foot elevation gain. Not only is this a great family hike, but it is also a great location for some once in a lifetime photo opportunities. Read details about the Mosier Twin Tunnels Hike below.
From the parking lot, head up the paved track into woods of Douglas-fir and big-leaf maple with some oaks. The road drops and is lined by maples on the river side. Pass a trickling waterfall on a shady face. There’s a picnic table here. The road drops along a walled section that gives views of the river. The road continues to drop and reenters woods with some views. Then the path rises past an prominent outcrop on the left, with a large pond in an old quarry area. A gravel path leads left at the top of the rise. Walk up and get great views looking east across meadows with blooming serviceberry bushes. This area is fenced. From the fence, you can also look out over the pond in the old quarry.
The road drops from this point and then rises again. There’s a viewpoint of Eighteenmile Island, and then there’s a long wooded downhill stretch leading to a view of Eighteenmile Island and Coyote Wall. The road rises to the covered Twin Tunnels Catchment Structure at the west portal to the tunnels and then enters the two tunnels proper. The second tunnel has two windows, known as adits, looking out over the river. There are outside viewpoints now blocked to the public. Past the second window (and MP 72) is a message scratched into the rock by a 1921 hunting party that was snowbound here.
SRC: Read more about the Mosier Twin Tunnels Hike at: www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Mosier_Twin_Tunnels_Hike

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Punchbowl Falls Hike


Not only does Oregon have the Columbia River Gorge but it also holds little treasures like Punchbowl Falls. To get to this epic waterfall you have to endure a 3.8 mile round trip hike but good news it's difficultly level is easy. This hike is recommended for children ages 10 and up and is available to hike year round. If you start from the Eagle Creek trailhead you get the 3.8 mile experience, start anywhere else and this hike can take as long as 13 miles to get to Punchbowl Falls. Read more about the hike from Eagle Creek to Punchbowl Falls below.
Before you've gone a half-mile you'll find yourself high above the creek, which has now opened up to a glorious valley. Many months the fog hangs low in the canyon, blocking your view of the snow-encrusted cliff-sides towering around you. In places the trail is narrow and the drop-off is quite steep. Cable lines were built into the walls in sections to provide some stability.
As the trail steadily gains elevation, it begins to divert away from the creek. You'll notice the quiet as you ascend away from the rushing water and deeper into the lush old-growth forests of douglas fir, cedar and hemlock. Dewy ferns, moss-covered rocks, and sometimes poison oak blanket the forest floor. You will be surprised at the beauty and quiet of these sections, which at times are like scenes from a fairy tale.
Along the rest of the hike, you'll cross various side-creeks -- some by rock steps, many by footbridges. Be sure to look upstream as you pass by -- especially in the wetter months -- as you will be treated to waterfalls and more lush greenery.
After you've walked about a mile and a half, watch for an obvious spur trail off to your right. The path drops down to an overlook with a view of the magnificent 100-foot Metlako Falls, which seemingly shoots straight out of a cliffside into a large pool below.
Walk back up the spur trail to the main drag and continue southward, winding high away from the gorge with the creek well out of view. In just over a half-mile you'll be at an obvious, signed junction and resting spot near your destination, Punchbowl Falls.
SRC: Read more details about this hike to Punchbowl Falls at: www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Eagle_Creek_to_Punchbowl_Falls_Hike

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Fairy Falls Hike


The Columbia River Gorge has many beautiful waterfalls worth visiting including Fairy Falls. In order to visit Fairy Falls a moderate hike is in order but well worth the effort. It is a 2 mile hike round trip with an elevation gain of 800 feet. Fairy Falls is a great hike for any season and is a good one to take the kids on. Start this hike at the Wakeena Trailhead then follow your way to Fairy Falls, you will be glad you did. Read details about this hike below.
The trail starts with some beautiful stonework and a wooden bridge over Wahkeena Creek. Make sure you're headed right here. The trail to the left leads to Multnomah Falls. The trail climbs in one long switchback to a stone bridge at the base of Wahkeena Falls. Expect a bit of spray on the trail here year-round. In winter, things can get really icy. A large log here was cut away to clear the trail after it fell down the falls. After the falls, look across the valley at the trail you just traveled and you'll see old stonework that's slid from the trail. A bench makes a good resting spot, or a turnaround if you're pressed for time.
From here, the trail starts up a pretty steep section, climbing about 600' in about half a mile. I have several guidebooks that reference 10 switchbacks, but I counted 12. There are beautiful rock walls, another bench cemented into a wall and better views the higher you climb. The most alert hikers will find a Lego cemented into one of the walls. At the top of this first climb, you'll crest a ridge. Follow the pavement out to the point, called Lemmon's Viewpoint. A plaque here commemorates a firefighter who gave his life fighting forest fires near here. The views from the point are really good up and down the river.
SRC: Read more about this hike to Fairy Falls at: www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Fairy_Falls_Hike

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood Tour


Sea To Summit provides a Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood Tour. Sea To Summit is owned and operated by native Portland, Oregonians who operate custom 4X4 vehicles for touring year round. Their Mt. Hood and Columbia River Gorge Tours are a full day's adventure starting with the scenic Columbia River Gorge working its way to Mount Hood. Tours are available every day of the week, so no matter what day you have off this opportunity is available to you. Read more details about this Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood Tour from Sea To Summit below.
$125.00 per person Sea to Summit offers Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood Loop Tours All Winter Long!!! Begin the day with visits to Chanticleer Point, Crown Point and the Vista House, all breathtaking viewpoints of the Columbia River Gorge. Travel along the Historic Columbia River Highway constructed in 1912-1914 and explore numerous waterfalls including Latourell Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Horsetail Falls and 620 ft. Multnomah Falls (North Americas second tallest year round waterfall). Continuing on, it is a short trip to the Bonneville Dam salmon ladders and Oregon’s largest fish hatchery. From the Bonneville area we pass the Bridge of the Gods and travel to the town of Hood River, Oregon, the wind surfing capitol of the world. In this area a stop for lunch, by a fresh fruit stand or winery is always a option during the tour. Continuing the journey around the scenic east side of the Mt. Hood to the National Historic Landmark, Timberline Lodge, est 1934. This Magnificent Lodge sits at 6,000 ft on the south south side of Mt. Hood, Oregon’s tallest volcano. Home to Timberline Ski Area, this historical lodge has been featured in movies such as “The Shinning” and is considered to be “Every ones Playground” Sea to Summit’s Mt Hood & Columbia River Gorge Loop Tour is amazingly scenic and very informative, both historically and geographically. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes, light jacket and a camera on this awesome Sea to Summit Tour!
SRC: Book your Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood Tour at: seatosummit.net/tour/columbia-gorge-and-mt-hood-tours/

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

Columbia River Gorge Tour


Sea To Summit provides a half day tour just for the Columbia River Gorge. Take in the waterfalls, the historic highway, Chanticleer Viewpoint, the Vista House and more. This is a great tour for people who are not from the area, people who rather take photos than drive or for those who want to kick back, relax and just enjoy the scenery. These tours are very informative and have a large range of dates to choose from so you can enjoy it on a day that works best for you. Read Sea To Summit's description of their Columbia River Gorge Tour below.
Sea to Summit’s Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour takes you along the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway, built in 1912-1914. Visit scenic Chanticleer viewpoint, Crown Point and the Vista House, all with incredible views of the Columbia River Gorge. Learn the history and unique geographical features that created and surround this designated national Scenic Area. Tour and explore numerous waterfalls, including Latourell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Horsetail Falls and the breathtaking 620ft Multnomah Falls. Sea to Summit’s magnificent Columbia River Gorge Tours are not complete without a visit to the Bonneville Dam, Columbia River Salmon ladders, Oregon’s largest fish hatchery and Sturgeon Research Center.
Our Columbia River Gorge Tours are historically and geographically informative and very scenic! So please make sure to bring a camera on this incredible, short but sweet, 1/2 day Sea to Summit tour!
SRC: Book your Columbia River Gorge Tour at: seatosummit.net/tour/columbia-river-gorge-tours/

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here