Thursday, January 5, 2012

Winter Waterfalls

New Year's Eve day I needed an outing.  I'd been cooped up in the house doing chores the previous day.  The weather had been dumping rain since Wednesday.  But this day dawned cold and dry.  I decided to head to the Gorge with camera and tripod to check out the waterfalls.  With all the rain we'd received, I knew they'd be running full and mighty. 

Click on any photo to enjoy a larger version

Latourell Falls

Usually this time of year I'm up on the mountain skiing.  But the sparse snow kept me away most of the month.  Hood did get a dump of snow the night before, but after such a prolonged drought, I was sure the slopes would be packed with powderhounds.  Knowing the mountain would be a zoo, I wisely stayed away.

The falls in its green grotto

That's the great thing about Oregon.  There is such a wide variety of things to do outdoors - even in the winter.  I pointed my car towards the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway and Latourell Falls. 

Latourell Falls - up close and personal

Latourell Falls is a spectacular waterfall, plunging 249 over the top of an ancient basalt lava flow.  Colorful yellow-green lichen grows on its adjacent rock walls.  Latourell's lower bowl is unusual.  The rocky grotto forms interesting hexagonal patterns called columnar basalt.  Everything is dripping wet and super-green.

Footbridge adjacent to the splash pool

You don't have to hike far to access Latourell Falls.  It's a short 0.1 of a mile hike from the parking lot to reach the footbridge at the splash pool.  All of the recent rainfall had this cascade absolutely roaring.  I couldn't get very close without getting doused with spray.  I tried to take some close-ups but kept having to wipe water droplets from my camera lens.  I did manage to get a couple of nice shots, though. 

Downstream from Bridal Veil Falls

After Latourell, I decided to check out Bridal Veil Falls.  This waterfall was flowing so full, that it was hard to capture a good shot.  The sheer amount of white was throwing off my exposure.  So instead of the falls, I concentrated on getting shots of the creek below.

Roaring creek full of rainfall

The adjacent forest was scenic, even without any leaves.  The mossy rocks added some character. 

My final stop was at Wahkeena Falls.  But this area was so full of people, I couldn't get a decent photo without someone walking in front of my lens.  So I gave it up for the day.  Sorry, no photos from Wahkeena.

But I did manage to get a couple of nice images of flowing water that I've posted here for you to enjoy.  And it was wonderful to be outside on a dry winter's day!


  1. Beautiful! What kind of camera do you use?

  2. Beautiful Falls! I can almost hear the roar of the water. I also love how green everything is. Oregon gets lots of rain like we do. Enjoyed!

  3. Beautiful shots !!!!!! I have not heard of these places before. Definetly adding them to my list of places to check out. I love following your hikes and adventures. Good to see other people with similar interests and where they go.

  4. Beautiful photos! Oregon is so gorgeous!


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