I know, it's only the first week of February. But the weather has been so nice here, I've been itching to get out to the gorge for some hiking. If you've been poking around on TAWPS a bit, you may noticed that the "Outdoor Adventures & Travel" section has been updated. And there's a spot dedicated entirely to the gorge (go read through if you haven't yet)
(BTW: what do you think of the look and feel of the blog. I'm still playing around with things, but I'm hoping to have a few new features this week)
Now that you've read about "Operation: Hike the Gorge" I'm going to give you (and me) a little taste of the gorge to difuse our cabin fever (I'm assuming you're ready for spring too?) At least until things warm up a bit and we can get out there to do some more exploring. (Maybe in March)
Last summer, Jason and I managed to make it out for a day of hiking and fun. Our first stop was Latourell falls. It's fitting that this was our first stop, because it's also the first trail on the Columbia Gorge Highway as you head east from Crown Point.
I always forget how beautiful Latourell Falls is. I usually just glance at it from the passenger's side of the car has we're meandering down the highway in search of a different trail to hike. But on this sunny, yet smoky August day we stopped. And as we pulled into the parking lot, we caught a view of the 249-foot drop that is lower Latourell Falls.
We leashed up Khloe, put on our packs and made our way up the steep, paved trail to the lower falls view point. We continued up the paved pathway through several switchbacks through the shaded woods and out of the path of smoke from nearby wildfires.
Once in the shelter of the trees, we unleashed the dog and continued through the woods, listening to the babbling of Latourell creek as we made our way toward the upper falls. I always forget how simple, yet beautiful this trail is. It really doesn't get enough attention, at least in my world.
After about a mile or so, we finally made it to the upper falls.
We followed the trail to the little wooden bridge that crosses right in front of the falls, and paused for a moment while the mist cooled us off. We watched Klohe splash and play in the pool directly below the falls. This is such a beautiful place, I feel so lucky to have it right in my backyard just a short drive away.
After basking in the cool mist of the falls, and the smoke free air, we made our way back down the other side of the creek and through the small canyon right below the lower falls. Back into the haze of the smokey air, and to the car onto our next adventure.
Latourell Falls is a 2.2 mile loop, with a moderate incline. It's a great choice if you're new to hiking or the gorge.
If you're up for it, this trail could be paired with The Falls at Sheppherds Dell