[su_accordion] [su_spoiler title="1. Angel's Rest - 4.8 miles round trip"]
1. Angel's Rest- 4.8 miles round trip- Angel's Rest is an exposed bluff on the Western end of the Columbia River Gorge. This summit is characterized by a long, rocky spine surrounded on three sides by cliffs, boasting a striking 270 degree view! While you can't see any of the Cascade volcanoes from the top, you do get great vantages of Beacon Rock, Silver Star Mountain and many other landmarks.
The real draw, however, is the perspective of the river below - like you're on a balcony over a great auditorium. Its near-1500 foot prominence, and its proximity to the Columbia River give you the false sensation that you could dive from the summit to the water below!
Getting to this precipice takes a relatively short hike (2.4 mile one-way) with an easy to moderately-steep ascent. Its bang-for-the-buck makes this a long-time favorite of families and hiking clubs. When you consider that the drive time from downtown Portland to the trailhead is under 45 minutes, it is understandable how popular this destination can be on sunny summer weekends.
The forest expanses surrounding the summit burned in a fire back in 1991, and lots of charred evidence remains. It is a unique landscape - one quite varied from other locales in the Gorge.
Angel's Rest, while a worthy destination by itself, is also a favorite stopping point for longer hiking loops in the area. Don't be surprised if you even see backpacking thru-hikers taking a breather at this splendid rest-stop.
Note for families: While there is plenty of space to avoid danger at the top, it should be noted that it's a good idea to keep little ones close by to avoid them getting too close to the cliffside drop-offs. http://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guide/Angel's_Rest
[su_spoiler title="2. Umbrella Falls Loop Hike - 4.6 miles round trip"]
2. Umbrella Falls Loop Hike 4.6 miles round trip:Mount Hood's most expansive flower displays are found in the vicinity of Hood River Meadows, on the gentle, southeast flank of the volcano. While the Meadows ski resort has expanded to cover much of the area, the trails remain surprisingly free of reminders of the throng of skiers that crowd the slopes here in winter. The massive display of wildflowers in July and August and series of pretty streams and waterfalls makes this a good destination even when clouds obscure the mountain. The loop visiting Umbrella and Sahale Falls combines the best of the features with an easy grade that even young children will enjoy.The hike begins at the Hood River Meadows Trailhead. From the trailhead, hike 0.3 miles through open forest to a junction with the Umbrella Falls Trail. Turn left here and immediately begin climbing around a rocky bluff, passing under the first of several chairlifts that crisscross the area. Hood River Meadows, proper, spreads out below. Soon, the route levels off and passes through small meadows, passing a junction with the trail to Sahale Falls at the 1.7 mile mark. You'll return to this junction to complete the loop, but first keep straight, and at 2.0 miles, reach gracefulUmbrella Falls. The dog-legged footbridge across the East Fork makes for a nice lunch spot. Kids will have fun exploring the slow, clear pool below the bridge. Adults may notice ski litter that has floated down from the Meadows resort, just upstream, so a good object lesson for kids is to carry a couple of pieces of litter out.
From Umbrella Falls, backtrack 0.3 miles to the Sahale Falls junction, and turn right, following the trail through small meadows and open forest. After about a mile, the trail passes above Sahale Falls, with views into the falls and of the picturesque original highway bridge that arches below the falls. Scramble trails drop to the old highway and bridge viewpoint, for those inclined to take the side trip. The main route continues through forest, and soon reaches Hood River Meadows, proper, where the trail meets the old highway again. Resume the path through forest and a crossing of gurgling Meadows Creek for 0.3 miles to the trailhead at 3.6 miles. http://www.oregonhikers.
[/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title="3. Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls - 12 miles round trip"]
3. Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls - 12 miles round trip- The Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls Hike is one of the most popular and magnificent trails in the Columbia River Gorge, and for good reason. You will literally lose count as you pass dozens of spectacular waterfalls through the lush temperate rain forests and tall basalt cliffs. You'll traverse passageways blasted out of the bedrock with dynamite, footbridges over bubbling streams, talus slopes, and unique geologic formations along your journey -- and that's just in the first 2 miles!Most of the early sections of this hike are described in more detail on this page: Eagle Creek to High Bridge Hike. A summary follows...
Starting at the Eagle Creek Trailhead you'll hike along the water for a 1/4 mile or so, but soon ascend high above the gorge floor, spanning a wide valley. Continue away from the creek into a moss-covered old growth forest, crossing many side-creeks and footbridges until you reach the spur trail to Metlako Falls at about 1 1/2 miles. Take the optional side trek to the viewpoint (highly recommended for first-timers!), or continue on toward Punchbowl Falls, at about the 2 mile mark. At Punchbowl Falls you again have the option of taking a side trail. This one is a bit longer, dropping you down to the creek floor with a head-on view of the falls. Thru-hikers will sometimes skip this option, being satisfied continuing ahead a quarter mile to a viewpoint from above. After another mile or so you'll pass by Loowit Falls and come to High Bridge at the 3.3 mile mark. The trail leading up to High Bridge -- although wide, well groomed and oft-traveled -- is rocky and can be slippery in places. The path is carved into the cliffside 120 feet up! A cable-line is affixed in the rock to your left, providing some security, but on a busy day you will encounter two way traffic. Pass with care.
High Bridge is one of only two places where the trail crosses the creek. It also marks the border where camping is allowed (in designated places). There are many sites between here and Tunnel Falls, but the premium ones are gobbled up quickly in the summer months. You'll see the first a few hundred yards past the bridge on your right and another one .1 mile past. At the 3.7 miles mark you'll pass Tenas Camp, which has room for three tents and decent water access. Campfires are not allowed along the Eagle Creek trail
As you continue past Skoonichuck Falls, you'll notice the forest composition gradually start to thin and feature younger deciduous trees. (A sign further uptrail describes a forest fire that swept through this area back in 1902). At 4 1/2 miles you'll cross the creek for the second and final time. The appropriately named Four and a Half Mile Bridge is a nice place to cool off on a hot day. It is quite a contrast to it's downtrail cousin, sitting a mere 4 feet above the water!
Over the next few miles you'll pass through several more campsites -- but the nicest may be about a 1/3 of a mile past the bridge -- with decent size and water access. Not far beyond is Wy'East Camp - which is the tenting equivalent of an RV Park with 7 or 8 sites - some right on top of each other! Just prior to seeing to the camp you'll have crossed Wy-Est Creek. In the summer, this is dried up completely, but in the wetter season, look to your left in the distance for a beautiful tall, ribbon-like Wy'East Falls. (There is a primitive bushwack back to a better view.)
You'll notice that the forest has now completely changed to one of maples and other hardwoods. The trail has flattened out and runs straight for awhile as the ever-present creek ebbs and flows to your right. You'll pass into the Hatfield Wilderness and the junction with the Eagle Benson Trail #434. Hikers are required to stop at the Hatfield Trailhead and fill out a free day pass. Wilderness regulations apply from this point forward. Seethis page for a description of these regulations.
Just as you starting to wonder how much longer? , you'll you cross two enormous talus slopes, then a section called the " the Potholes" -- signaling you're approaching the homestretch.
Finally, at around the 6 mile mark, you'll turn around bend and be awestruck by the object of your journey - the 175 foot Tunnel Falls!
As the name implies, your path with pass through a tunnel behind the falls about midway up the span. Consider as you enter the tunnel, that work to build this was done in the 1910s and has been virtually unchanged since! The falls drop from the bluffs above to the creek bed below then downstream into the main Eagle Creek run. The years have carved out a striking amphitheater here. It is a breathtaking area, and easily the climax of your trip.
Avoid the temptation to climb down the loose dirt slope on the near side of the falls as so many have done before. It is neither safe nor good for the life of trail above.
This is the turn-around point for this hike. Go back the way you came.
The stretch just beyond the falls is another very exposed cliff-side pathway etched into the gorge wall. Again, a cable line is there you steady you. But nowhere has the traverse been quite so dizzying!
If you still feel like you have some energy, continue less than a half-mile ahead to the two-tiered, 200 foot tall Twister Falls (sometimes called "Crossover Falls" or "Eagle Creek Falls"). It is well worth the minimal additional effort if time affords. It is difficult to see the full span of the cataract, but more impressive is the trail to it. Many have referred to this stretch as the "Vertigo Mile". It is the most dramatic section of the hike for its vertical rise above the gorge floor. Just beyond the falls is plenty of room to take a break before heading back the way you came. http://www.oregonhikers.
[su_spoiler title="4. Oxbow loop - 3.3 miles"]
4. Oxbow loop: 3.3 miles-A Gresham-area destination with long stretches of Sandy River access, the park fills up with gear and fly-anglers hoping to lay into the chrome, hard-fighting fish that populate the river mid-January through May.
But the 1,000-acre natural area is popular for reasons beyond fishing — it's also home to almost 13 miles of hiking trails that traverse old-growth forest and the edges of riverbanks.
The combination of those two assets makes Oxbow, despite the 80-minute drive from Salem and $5 entry fee, worth a visit during late winter and early spring.
One important point to remember before getting started — the trails are marked by a system of letters, but it's only decipherable with a park map, so make sure to grab one at the tollbooth entrance.
My plan was to attempt both fishing and hiking on a 3.3-mile loop that includes long stretches on river but also winds through the old-growth forest.
The place to begin was the boat ramp and campground near the end of the main access road. There were plenty of fishermen crowding the main beach near the parking lot, so I headed right (east), past the campground, to a stretch of trail with 0.6 miles of rocky-beach river access.
I happened to be carrying a fly rod — large black and bright red flies had been recommended — and spent a few hours drifting my line across the clear, greenish water found alongside the sections of trail marked L, K and J.
After not getting as much as a bite in four different locations, I decided to focus on hiking. The trail led inland, crossing a gravel road and markers N, O and G for one mile before entering what's labeled on the map as "ancient forest."
Large, hundred-year-old trees rose above the trail — the most scenic in the park — in a section of trail that crosses over the main road and turns back toward the boat launch.
The final stretch follows high above the river past group picnic areas, before dropping down as you approach the boat ramp (past a few more fishing spots) and the loop's conclusion.
The downside to hiking at Oxbow is that the trail can be confusing and is frequently interrupted by roads, picnic areas and other distractions. The upside is old-growth and the chance to fish for winter steelhead — whether they happen to be biting or not. http://www.
[/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title="5. Washington Park Loop"]
5. Washington Park Loop: On a sunny day in southwest Portland, one can usually see the entire downtown area as well as Mount Hood of from the hillside of Washington Park. On a rainy day, you can't necessarily see as far, but the beauty of the park is astounding.
The most impressive aspect of Washington Park isn't the amount of playgrounds or basketball courts, it's the massive amount of space located just a few miles from the heart of the city. With the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Children's Museum and the International Rose Test Garden all located within the park, there are endless opportunities fun (indoor and outdoor) regardless of the weather.
But it turns out that walking around the 410 acre park in the pouring down rain isn't all that unusual. As I approached the International Rose Garden to check out the few flowers still in bloom, many people were doing the same.
At the top of the large (and very green) amphitheater, which hosts a myriad of public concerts including the Washington Park Summer Festival, a woman ate lunch as another person decked out in rain gear jogged up and down the steps. In Oregon, rain deters almost nothing.
The park is also equipped with a number of tennis courts, playgrounds, picnic tables, soccer fields and more than 15 miles of hiking trails, you could spend an entire weekend in the park and not run out of new things to do.
If the rain isn't your cup of tea don't fret, there are a number of indoor activities in the area as well.
The Oregon Zoo is located within the park with more than 2,000 animals of 250 different species including Lily, the newest baby elephant. The Hoyt Arboretum contains nearly 10,000 trees and shrubs and the Portland Children's Museum also is in the area.
For those who are looking for some historical information, the Oregon Holocaust Memorial lies within the park as well as the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, both easily accessible with a lot of parking.
Although there is a fair amount of parking within the park, there's a Max station located within the park.
[/su_spoiler] [su_spoiler title="6. Oak Island - 2.8 miles"]
6. Oak Island 2.8 miles - Surrounded by Sturgeon Lake on Sauvie Island, Oak Island is part of the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area and is open to hikers only seasonally, from mid-April to the end of September. The best times to visit are right after and just before the closure, when migrants such as sandhill cranes may still be present. Look for raptors in the grasslands and woodpeckers and passerines in the woodlands. Vegetation includes typical shoreline trees such as Oregon ash and willow but also extensive meadows and copses of Oregon white oak.
Pick up a nature trail brochure if there are some in the dispenser. From the trailhead, walk past the gate on a vehicle track. At a junction, go left through snowberry thickets under oak, willow and ash trees. At a junction with two trail signs, the beginning of the loop, keep left on the vehicle track. Cross an open field and get a view of West Sturgeon Lake to your left, with the Tualatin Hills behind. There are oak woods are to your right. The trail heads into an ash forest, passing a couple of gnarly old trees. Spurs left leads to the waters of Sturgeon Lake. Where the trail turns south, you can head left through the thick grass to the water's edge at The Narrows, a channel which connects Sturgeon Lake with its western arm. The trail turns south, with several spurs leading to the willow-lined shore of Sturgeon Lake (Since the island was extensively diked, there have been no more sturgeon in Sturgeon Lake). From here, you can get good views of Mount Saint Helens looming rather large. The road bed is a carpet of white clover. Blackberries ripen in profusion here in late summer, so come prepared with containers! Pass through a grassy expanse sprinkled with young ash and cottonwood trees. The green oak forest is to the right. The trail turns right again (left is to a stony beach) and passes a bench and a memorial plaque to Keith Bolles Lobdell. Enter oak forest and reach the loop junction, where you turn left back to parking.
From the port-a-potty at the parking area, a short trail leads to a little cove called Wagonwheel Hole on West Sturgeon Lake. http://www.oregonhikers.org/
[su_spoiler title="7. Wild Cherry-Alder Loop - 6.3 mile loop"]
[su_spoiler title="8. Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge - 3.5 miles"]
[su_spoiler title="9. Taulatin Hills Nature Park"]
9. Taulatin Hills Nature Park - In the heart of Beaverton, Cedar Mill Creek spills into the westward flowing Beaverton Creek. Surrounding this confluence is the Tualatin Hills Nature Park, a remarkably diverse 222-acre wildlife preserve with wetlands, forests and streams that are habitat to insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.This nature park is a fascinating place to observe seasonal changes, such as the migration of rough-skinned newts to their breeding ponds or the waves of spring wildflowers or breeding birds. For hikers, birders and botanists of all ages, the mosaic of habitats within the park offers much to be discovered.The features about five miles of trail; 1.5 miles of trails are paved, while the remaining 3.5 miles are well-maintained, soft-surface trails. The Oak Trail and sections of the Vine Maple Trail are paved and wheelchair accessible.
The Tualatin Hills Nature Park is a wildlife preserve, so we ask that you please leave your dogs and other pets at home when you come to visit.
The Tualatin Hills Nature Center is the jumping-off point for visitors entering from the SW Millikan Way parking lot entrance. Stop by the center to check out the exhibits, have your wildlife questions answered, find out about programs or use the restrooms.
[su_spoiler title="10. Smith and Bybee Wetlands Take the Interlakes Trail"] 10. Smith and Bybee Wetlands Take the Interlakes Trail or go by boat to explore one of America’s largest urban wetlands. Either way, you might find beavers, river otters, black-tailed deer, osprey, bald eagles and Western painted turtles. You’ll also find a water control structure that is restoring this network of sloughs, wetlands and forests. Walk the Interlakes Trail. From mid-April through late June, see the lakes up-close by paddling a kayak or canoe. Bring binoculars to look for the many birds that live here or pass through the area.
http://www.oregonmetro.gov/parks/smith-and-bybee-wetlands-natural-area [/su_spoiler] [/su_accordion]
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