This spring I’ll be exploring the Hiking Trails of the Columbia River Gorge and other Mt. Hood area outdoor activities. The forests, waterfalls and trails in the area offer scenery that is as good as any in the world. Thick, green, fragrant, secluded pine forests with well mapped-out, unending trails that connect to the Pacific Crest Trail. Too many waterfalls and blue mountain pools to count.
There are so many trailheads and state parks within a one hour drive from Portland, I don’t think I can get to them all. But I will put a dent in the list.
I only made it out a few times last year after we sold the van, but I’m a regular Zip Car driver now, so getting out to the forest for an afternoon is very convenient now.
Eagle Creek Trail – February 2016
45 minute drive to Cascade Locks, OR. There is a large parking lot at the fish hatchery just off the I-84 exit, but there are two lots a half mile upstream with plenty of parking if you get there early enough. The first part of the hike is right next to the stream and the sound of rushing blue-green mountain runoff. Chrystal clear, ice cold water. Furthe up the trail, you’re hiking a few hundred feet above Eagle Creek on the edge of a steep cliff that was blasted out of the side of the mountain in the 1910’s. Follow the little side trail, all very short, to views of all the waterfalls that are off the main trail. One of the longer offshoots gets you down to the creek bed right next to the lower Punch Bowl Falls. From the trailhead to Upper Punch Bowl and back is about a two hour round trip hike. Add an hour for staring at the scenery and for lunch next to the water and its a short half day outing.