Many people drive along the Historic Columbia Gorge Highway and stop at all of the waterfalls, well at least the ones that they can see from the road. That means they are missing one of my favorites that is only a very short hike and the trail was made so much better a couple of years back that it is very much worth it.
This waterfall is different from the other along the highway in that the road is not at the bottom of the falls, but it is at the top of the falls and you have to walk down to see it. There are trails that go around the top of the park, and from here you can look down on the Pillars of Hercules, which I will write about in another blog. The other trail takes you down to the base of the falls. It is less than 1 mile round trip and though fairly steep (120 feet), should be doable by most able bodied people.
When you get to the base, there is a viewing platform that gives you a wonderful view of the falls. You can see the highway bridge right at the top of the picture, however it is not possible to view the falls from there because of the narrowness of the bridge. The upper part of the falls is reported to be 60-100 feet and the lower part 40-60 feet. I have problems believing these numbers given that most places say it is 120 feet to the base of the falls.
As well as the falls, there are wonderful areas of still water in the stream with lots of great colors glistening through the water. So next time you are hurtling along the waterfall row, stop and take the time to go see this one. You will be glad you did.
For years this falls became a whimper as it was diverted for a paper mill in the 1880’s. That mill was badly damaged by fire in 1936 and the waterfall was returned in 1960. As you return from the falls you will notice a gate just before you cross the bridge. UPDATE: See what the falls looked like when the water was diverted!
If you were to go past the gate (which I am not suggesting, coughs) then you would find some of the remains of the plant.
Brought to you by Brian Bailey
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