Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wahclella Falls

Now that my foot was nearly healed, I had a huge hankerin' to visit some waterfalls.  There's no better place to see beautiful cascades than the Columbia River Gorge.  Time to reacquaint myself!

Nice trailhead sign

Two weekends ago, all of western Oregon was being drenched by a "pineapple express" rainstorm.  Unless I wanted to get soaked, hiking didn't look very probable.  However, the weatherman predicted a break in the precip for Sunday afternoon.  Being the optimist I am, I decided to sneak in a quick hike.

The trail starts on a wide road

The Gorge is full of wonderful trails to gorgeous waterfalls.  Seeings as I had to keep the distance short, I opted to visit Wahclella Falls.  A mere two-mile round trip, it fit the bill perfectly.

Moss-coated trees

It had been many years since I'd visited Wahclella.  There's so many amazing cascades in the Gorge, this one is easy to overlook.  Tucked in a steep canyon, it often gets bypassed on the way to other trails.

Tanner Creek surrounded by lots of green

Leaving my house around noon, rain battered my windshield the entire drive.  I was beginning to doubt the weatherman's forecast.  But by the time I located a parking spot, the sky had dried up.  What timing!

The trail began to narrow

The trail began on a wide road paralleling lovely Tanner Creek.  The water was high and fast-moving from the weekend's heavy rainfall.  Everything on both banks was coated with a carpet of thick, bright green moss.

Gorgeous forest

The creek was absolutely gorgeous.  It captivated me and my camera from the very start.  I kept stopping every couple of yards to capture yet another wonderful shot.  It took quite a bit of time just to travel the first quarter mile.

Moss close-up

Because this trail is so short, it's very popular.  Families with kids, and other casual hikers made up most of the crowd.  I was surprised to see so many people on a rainy February day.

Getting closer to the falls

I finally tore myself away from Tanner Creek's wonderful scenery, and hoofed it down the rest of the road.  It ended at an intake dam for a nearby fish hatchery, and from that point transitioned to a normal trail.  Still following the creek, I continued on.

Small trickle from the cliffs

The further I traveled down the trail, the higher and steeper the adjacent canyon became.  I crossed a sturdy wooden footbridge with the gushing creek below.  Recent heavy rains had created wispy waterfalls that trickled from high up the canyon walls.

Wahclella Falls in sight!

Not far beyond the bridge, I began to hear the telltale roar of a waterfall.  Looking up ahead, I spied Wahclella's tiered cascade straight ahead.  Squeezing between a slot in the canyon walls, it looked even better than I'd remembered.  Why had I waited so long to return?

Creek-level view

I snapped many photos from the creek bank.  As there were many people hiking by, I had to patiently wait for the bridge to clear for many of my shots.

Photo from the bridge

Finally I moved up to the bridge closest to the falls.  Perching my tripod on the narrow plank, I captured some great shots of the roaring cascade and churning creek directly below.

Wahclella Falls is two-tiered - a plunge falling through an upper slot, and a 60-foot tall lower cascade that fans into a thick horsetail.

Churning water below

I attempted to get some photos closer to Wahclella Falls, but the huge volume of water tumbling down the rocks created lots of spray.  Constant mist in the air made it nearly impossible to get any photos.  All mine ended up with water droplets on the lens.  Today I had to be content with admiring this cascade from afar.

Lovely Tanner Creek

After enjoying a lengthy photo session, and a good conversation with another man also trying to photograph the falls, I finally packed up my tripod and headed back the way I came.  Making one final stop on the way out, I captured some of my favorite images of Tanner Creek.

White rapids

But the rain's return cut my photo session short, and I hightailed it for the car.  Luckily, it wasn't far away, and I didn't get too wet.

Glad I was able to squeeze in a short hike on a rainy winter's weekend.  It's nice to be back on the trail chasing waterfalls again!

Sharing with:  Wednesday Around the World.


  1. Oh those are great photos! I love the mossy greens and that last photo with the soft water is AMAZING! I love all the mosses and trees! A beautiful place and lovely walk! Glad you are hiking again.

  2. Linda, all your lovely photos here with the water, the green and the views are relaxing me, I just love this series. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  3. The landscape is so beautiful. And your pictures are gorgeous. Wood and water are wonderful motives.

  4. Gorgeous shots! I always love water, but I also like the mossy trees and rocks a lot.

  5. Wow!
    With you it is fantastically beautiful landscape pictures - I am very excited!

    Greetings - Monika

  6. Spectacular captures!
    Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!!!

  7. Wow, Linda! Another gorgeous place. And a beautiful scenic hike! The waterfalls is gorgeous.. Lovely images, have a great day!

  8. Gorgeous photos, Linda. Great composition in each one. I'm very impressed with how green everything is out there, even in the middle of winter. I'll take green any day over the white snow seen in these parts now.

  9. Makes me wish for spring! Amazing thick moss, beautiful falls, and those two pictures of the creek, WOW! Great photography! I think it's time I checked out some winter waterfalls around here.

  10. The falls are always beautiful in photos, but I especially felt the calming effect of Tanner Creek. Lovely shots.

  11. Beautiful photographs, what a wonderful hike:)

  12. What a great hike and photos. It's a well worth hike when you see such spectacular water fall.

  13. Whenever I see your tripod photos, I am reminded that I should carry mine (but never do). We drove through the Gorge a few years ago and made many waterfall stops but didn't hike to this one. How pretty it is!

  14. Beautiful photos! What a nice place for a hike!

  15. Pretty! I'm heading that way with my daughter tomorrow. I wonder if we'll have time for a detour! Love the moss in the overcast light by the way!

  16. OHMYGOSH...stunning! This place looks enchanted. I would love to hike through it. I bet it's incredibly peaceful and soul satisfying. Your images are gorgeous.

  17. Dearest Linda; What GORGEOUS and making us feel REFRESHING pictures from your hike♡♡♡ Yes I LOVE the water fall and your pictures with water in the nature are fabulous♪ Smiled to read 'a break in the precip'. Thank you very much for reminding me of the word p:-)

    Sending Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan to my Dear friend, xoxo Miyako*

  18. Linda, it wasn't your green that inspired me, but your 'get up and get out there' mojo (and the two pix of that creek!).

  19. Even without the sunshine that's gorgeous - the rain and mist make it mystical.

  20. Good to see you out and about again now that your foot is so much better!

  21. Love those mossy trees.

  22. I want to get my peacock adorned rubber boots out of the closet and go tramping through that stream. I liked the trickle photo, what a lovely view on a hike!

  23. Awesome! What a gorgeous place to visit. Those pictures with stream are some posters or postcards I 'd buy before as a child. Those mossy rocks are enchanting to me. I now dream of seeing such place in actual life.

  24. I love all the moss, what a truly beautiful place


  25. fabulous scenery and fabulous images of it Linda. It looks like a photographers paradise.

    the mossy green trees are amazing.

  26. Those last two shots are incredible! You and your fantastic waterfall shots are the reason the Columbia River Gorge keeps climbing higher on my must-see list. Darn you, Linda. ;)

  27. Hi! It's very nice for me too that you would become to go hiking. I like your fall and river photos very much. The moss covered tree photos are very beautiful too. Thanks for sharing.

  28. The amount of moss is incredible. Impressive photos as always.


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