Since I am so behind in my blogging, I had planned to mush the Latrourell Falls hike together with another post, but my camera was doing some interesting things. That means this will be a picture heavy post.
First, the stats:
2.3 mile loop 2.28 mile loop
600 ft. elevation gain 575 ft. elevation gain
Easy Mostly Easy
Latrourell Falls in locate in Guy W. Talbot State Park. It is one of the classic Oregon tourist hikes along the Historic Columbia River Highway; the kind that most Portlanders only hike ironically. As much as I’d like to consider myself hip and ironic, I am never sad to see waterfalls. The last time I made this hike, it was spring and Bleeding Hearts, Dutchman’s Breeches, and Trillium lined the pathway, but even in winter this is a pretty hike.
This hike is “Mostly Easy” on the Brenda scale because almost all the elevation gain is right at the beginning of the hike. Which as a very sedentary person means I was definitely breathing heavy. However, after the first 3/4 mile, it’s a pretty easy hike. The only reason it took me an hour and a half was because I took so many pictures.
The hike begins with touristy historical information, a viewing platform for Lower Latourell Falls, and steps build during the Great Depression.
Apparently, on the day I visited, there was also a blind hipster loose in the wilds. I stayed vigilant but did not sight him/her.
The path from the viewing area begin an immediate assent that had my heart rate up pretty quickly, but the path was lovely and ferny (I am a great fan of ferns) with delicious views of the lower falls.
Not long after you lose sight of the falls, you begin to catch glimpses of other views through the trees.
Once you reach the top of the falls, most of the elevation gain is finished and you get your first glimpse of the Gorge.
Then you continue onward and slightly upward crossing four wooden bridges over feeder streams until you loop below Upper Latourell Falls.
Upper Latourell Falls:
After the upper falls, it’s all down hill. The trail skirts the creek most of the was down, winding around old cedar trees until a side path takes you to viewpoint above the the Lower Falls. If you’re hiking with children, don’t let them climb down here. You can see the spectacular view even without scrambling down onto the granite outcropping above the falls.
Next the trail winds away from the creek and falls, taking leisurly path down to the Historic Columbia River Highway.
From here you can walk down the road to your car, or cross the street and continue on a paved path under the highway to the splash pool of the lower falls before returning to your car.
The sun was setting as I reached the splash pool of Lower Latourell Falls and the flash on my camera started going off. With all the mist in the air, the light began doing interesting things.
I fully realize there are too many pictures in this post, but it was hard for me to chose. I am not a gifted or visionary photographer, but I liked the ways a lot of these came out. Overall, I would say this is a nice hike for those of us working on our fitness. Dogs are allowed on leashes. It would also be a great hike for kids that are old enough to be trail-safe, say 5 and up. There are places where younger kids could be walking on their own safely, but there are certainly spots where you’d want to have toddlers in a pack and/or have some serious hand-holding going on.