Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hiking the Latourell Falls Loop

Latourell Falls is one of the best waterfalls to visit for hiking along The Columbia River Gorge. The Latourell Falls Loop is 2.4 miles with an elevation gain of 520 feet creating a moderately difficult and very rewarding hike. This is a family friendly hike with dense forest that ends at the Upper Latourell Falls. Read details about hiking the Latourell Falls Loop below.
Latourell Falls is the closest of the Columbia Gorge waterfalls to Portland. It's just barely visible from the highway, but a short jaunt up a steep paved path leads to a clear viewpoint. A walk down a different path leads to the base of the falls. Latourell Falls, a 249' plunge, is beautiful in all seasons. In the summer, the water flow is very low, creating near misty conditions. In the winter, the splash freezes everywhere. The most interesting hike is a 2.4 mile loop visiting Latourell Falls, Upper Latourell Falls and Guy Talbot Park. Beginning from the Latourell Falls Trailhead, follow the paved viewpoint trail up to the viewpoint. From there, a dirt path leads away to the left, steeply around the basin. Look for side views of the falls, particularly in the winter, when the trees have lost their leaves. The trail climbs for about 1/3 of a mile to a bench at the top of the falls. There's a side trail here that drops down to an unimproved log that functions as a bridge of sorts. This side trail shortcuts the loop, shaving about a mile from the trip. 
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