Thursday, March 24, 2016

Eagle Creek Trail

Time to turn the calendar back to fall again....

( overload ahead!)

Backlit mossy tree

Yes, I continue to mess with the seasons - there's still a few autumn hikes to share.  Last November, taking advantage of a Friday off work, I decided to visit the most popular trail in the Columbia River Gorge, the Eagle Creek Trail.

Leaves, leaves everywhere!

I've hiked this trail numerous times, and blogged about it almost yearly.  This crown jewel pathway follows the fabulously scenic Eagle Creek, up a narrow cliff-lined gorge, past several lovely waterfalls.  The foliage is always lush and green, whether it be spring greenery or winter moss.

No leaves on trees, but lots of moss!

But in my opinion, fall is the best season to explore Eagle Creek.  In early November, the leaves display magnificent golds, oranges, and yellows.

Lone hanger-on

Lack of tree foliage highlights the thick moss that carpets everything.

Tiny cascade from the cliff

Although rain was forecast the day of my visit, I decided to go anyway.  Hiking in the rain is better than sitting home doing chores!

Ferns change color too

Besides, autumn hues photograph better in overcast light.

Not many leaves left on the trees

From the trailhead, I followed a wide, rocky path that paralleled rushing Eagle Creek.  But it didn't take long for the trail to diverge from the water's banks, steadily climbing a shelf blasted into the steep canyon walls.

Tall rocky cliff

As expected, fall colors were stunning.  Although a bit past prime, there was still plenty of beauty to photograph.  And photograph I did.

The trail hugs the cliff edge

Whether it was the last yellow leaves clinging to a tree, or the tall, mossy cliff faces towering above the forest, my camera found images to record.

Color spot

Golden wonderland

In some places, golden leaves created a magical tunnel through the forest.

Loved this old, gnarly branch

And gnarled, mossy tree branches stretched downward like an old man's hand.

Metlako Falls

A mile and half down the trail, I came upon the first waterfall, delicate Metlako Falls.  This cascade can only be viewed from a distant viewpoint.  Thank goodness for zoom lenses!

The bridge before it got taken out

Further down the trail, past Punchbowl Falls (due to thick foliage I wasn't able to get a decent photo, sorry!) I crossed the first sturdy footbridge spanning the deep canyon.  Little did I know that a month later, this bridge would be wiped out in a fierce December windstorm, rendering the trail impassable.

White, churning water

Crossing the bridge provided great views of the creek, far below.

Magic forest

Past the bridge, the forest thickened, and the splashes of color became more numerous.  Such a magical place! 

Another trailside cascade

Small waterfalls dripped down the adjacent rocky walls.

Loowit Falls

Although I'd escaped the predicted moisture thus far, as I was passing by Loowit Falls, my luck ran out.  Fat raindrops began to patter the ground.

Looking down on Eagle Creek

Time to turn around!  I'd traveled about 3.5 miles in - enough for a respectable day's ramble.  And the good thing about out and back hikes?  I'd see all this spectacular scenery a second time.

Hang onto the cable

One of the unique features of the Eagle Creek Trail are the stretches that have been created by blasting a shelf into rocky cliff walls.  This narrow ledge leads visitors through some of the steeper canyons.  To help timid hikers, there's cable handrails to cling onto.

Last of the leaves

Yes, it looks precarious in places, but I love the views from this lofty vantage.

Narrow ledge

About this time, the rain began in earnest.  I packed my camera away, and quickened the pace.

Looking downriver at a waterfall

But wonderful scenes such as these kept appearing around corners, tempting me to expose my camera to the elements. 

Dark forest

Rain or no rain, some things are just meant to be photographed.

Leaf and cable

Like this stray leaf clinging to a handrail cable.

Foggy return trip

Closer in to the trailhead, an eerie fog began to drift in the canyon. 

Narrow passage

Between the fog, and dramatic tall, drippy cliff faces, I'm afraid my poor camera got a dousing!

Rain and fog

But I captured so many great images, it was totally worth it.  It was difficult to decide which ones to include in this post!  (The reason for my earlier photo overload warning)  And no worries - my camera got a good wipe down once I reached the car.

Creek scene near trailhead

A fabulous way to spend a rainy, fall day!

Some of my other Eagle Creek posts can be found here and also here.

Sharing with:  Through My Lens


  1. it is wonderful to see theg orgeous colours of the Autumn and great photogaphs. Have a HAPPY EASTER.

  2. Really incredible captures... Wow!
    You conquered the rain!

  3. Your waterfalls and fall pictures are stunning. Thanks for sharing and reminding me that this season is beginning in the Southern Hemisphere! :-)

  4. Hello, I just to say WOW! Your images are just awesome! What a beautiful and magical place. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

    Happy Easter to you and your family!

  5. What an amazingly beautiful place - the rain and mist gives it an otherworldly look to my Colorado eyes. Gorgeous!

  6. No amount of mist or rain could spoil those views.

  7. These are some spectacular fall shots, Linda. Your poor camera needs a raincoat. Some of those trails look precarious.

  8. Not the usual vibrant colours of autumn, but intensely beautiful. I got all excited when I started reading. Eagle Creek a must do in June, and then I read the trail is closed. How disappointing for all.

  9. you can do "photo overload" any ole time you want with gorgeous images like these.

  10. Thank you, thank you for braving the wet weather! ;-) Your photos are stunning...especially that first one! I love the glowing mossy branch with the tiny dots of fall color around the scene!

  11. Awesome looking trail! I think I'd be hanging on to that cable a fair bit!

  12. Beautiful! The colors were just beginning when I ran this trail in September. Thanks for risking your camera's safety to snap these gorgeous rainy day shots.

  13. Great day out it seems, and nice photos. Warm Easter greetings!

  14. Just spectacular! The deep greens and the moss on everything makes for beautiful photos.

  15. A great trail hike and lovely waterfalls. I never mind rain if there is plenty to look at or its sheltered and I'm with you on the housework angle if I can escape outdoors instead. I'd rather wash dishes at night if it's been a good weekend.

  16. The lush greens make me feel like I am in the forest with you. I always try to get that moss backlite photo and never can. How to you chose what photo is best...I like them all! Wonderful walk. Hope camera is ok and dry now.

  17. I thought this trail looked familiar. I just watched an episode of 48 hours about a murder on this trail where a man allegedly pushed his girlfriend off a cliff by one of those cables (he says she fell).

  18. Hi! Nice collection of mosses and leaves photos. I like your falls's photos too. Thanks for sharing.

  19. I thought you said it was spring in your previous post??!!!
    However, lovely autumn photos!! There's nothing like the forest in the autumn.

  20. Uma maravilha esta reportagem e as fotografias da natureza.
    Um abraço e boa semana.

  21. I heard this trail is closed this year?

  22. Your gallery of photos tell a beautiful fall story.

  23. Great set of pictures - who cares about overload in this situation!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  24. It's a magical place! I love the mossy trees and the mossy cliffs. The creek and the waterfall are beautiful.

  25. The changing colours of the season is just so beautiful. Wonderful photos Linda. I enjoyed them a lot.

  26. Beautiful photos! The light was just perfect! I would be hanging onto the cables for sure:)

  27. Autumn is my favorite season, so I always enjoy looking at beautiful photos like yours form that season. It looks so very lush and green there, and so many trees --so unlike where I live! We are still covered with snow, but the big melt is on.

  28. Gorgeous! (I almost said gorgeous gorge... LOL!)

  29. Wow! Those views of the trails are just fantastic. I'd be hanging on to the cable for sure. - Love all the gorgeous waterfalls and the fall colors. It's such a treat to stop in here and see your awesome photos.

  30. I have to say, I'm nervous about doing this trail. We just did Elowah yesterday, and it didn't bother me at all. When you hike Eagle Creek, does it seem overly narrow when you're at those scary looking ledges?

  31. Your photos are absolutely stunning !!! Love those falls and what an amazing amount of moss on the trees! Love these shots!! nothing could compare to this amazing scenery

  32. Really like these, but especially love what you did with that first shot.

  33. Spectacular photos! I really enjoy seeing the foliage moss and waterfalls there---it is so unlike our dry climate!


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