Monday, March 7, 2016

Gorge November Ramble

Told you I was way behind!  Yeah, I'm barely into November......At this rate I may never catch up.  But consider yourself lucky - I'm bringing you another post of awesome fall colors.  (If it's spring where you are, just pretend you're in the Southern Hemisphere)

Multnomah Falls peeks through the foliage

Hiking the Columbia River Gorge's Multnomah-Wahkeena loop is one of my autumn traditions.  By early November, the woods here begin their fall fashion show.  Throw in several spectacular waterfalls, and you've got yourself a photographer's dream.

Multnomah Falls Lodge

I began the day's trek at Multnomah Falls.  Dropping dramatically from atop a sheer cliff, this waterfall tumbles 620 feet in two steps to the creek below.  This lovely cascade is the tallest waterfall in Oregon and the number one tourist attraction.  The visitor area is well done, with a nice viewing platform and gorgeous stone lodge.

Upper and lower Multnomah Falls

Although I tried to get an early start, the paths and viewing areas were already busy, even on this gloomy, wet day.  A paved path takes visitors up to the historic stone Benson Bridge, which divides the upper and lower falls. 

Approaching the Benson Bridge

It's always a lovely trek to this point, and the views from the bridge can't be beat!  The rainy weather meant the waterfall was flowing full and strong.  Spray off this cascade was thick, and in an effort to keep my camera semi-dry, I didn't linger for long.

Gorge view from the bridge

Continuing up the paved pathway, the trail traverses 11 switchbacks to climb 700 feet in a half mile.  But hikers are rewarded with a view of Multnomah Falls at it's very top.  There's also a lovely little mossy creek and cute stone bridge to cross.

Upper falls close-up

My goal was to continue on the Larch Mountain Trail for another 3/4 mile until it's intersection with the Wahkeena Trail.  Then I'd follow this trail across the ridge until it wound back down the Gorge to the Historic Columbia River Highway.  From here, it was a mere half mile back to my starting point at Multnomah Falls.

Weisendanger Falls

The Larch Mountain trail above Multnomah Falls is one of my favorite fall hikes.  It passes by three lovely waterfalls, but my personal favorite is the gurgling Weisendanger Falls.  It was in fine form that day, surrounded by lots of yellow foliage.

Magic forest!

Further upriver from Weisendanger Falls, the forest closed in over the creek bed.  The thick mossy trees and yellows, greens, and golds, reminded me of a magic fairyland.

Lots of trailside yellow

I kept leapfrogging a young man out hiking.  Finally catching him at the Wahkeena Trail junction, we struck up a conversation.  The man told me he was from the South (don't remember which state) and said he'd traveled to Portland on business.  Having a weekend to kill, he'd come out to explore the Gorge.  The man was quite impressed with the scenery and number of waterfalls here in Oregon.  Made me realize how lucky I am to have this wonderful place practically in my backyard!

Stately trees

Traversing the Wahkeena Trail, I passed large groves of tall Douglas firs, standing silently in the foggy mist.  Tons of yellow leaves provided bright spots in the forest floor.

Yellow accents

I also marveled at several huge trees completely draped in thick carpets of moss.  Their gnarled branches looked ghostlike. 

Wahkeena Trail

The rain had held off most of the hike, but by the time I'd begun my descent towards Wahkeena Falls, the sky decided to open up.  Huge raindrops and tiny ice pellets pelted my face.  Forced to protect my camera, it got stowed in my backpack, and that was the end of my photo taking for the day.

Luckily, it was only a mile to my car.  Splashing through puddles, I hurried down the final switchbacks to the Historic Highway.  Passing by Wahkeena Falls, I didn't even stop to take a photo (I have tons already) and instead bypassed the people milling about it's base (even during a downpour, there were still crowds!)

Gnarled, mossy tree

I arrived back at my car, soaking wet, but satisfied.  The fall colors had once again lived up to my expectations.  Despite the wet weather, it was great to get out and enjoy the beauty so close to home.

Stats:  5.5 miles round-trip, 1600 feet elevation gain.

Sharing with:  Through My Lens


  1. That 3rd photo of the upper and lower falls is fantastic. In fact all the photos are spectacular. Oh those autumn colours. You are right when you say it is all there on your doorstep.

  2. Spectacular. The guy from the South had good taste - so many people would have headed for the shops or watched the hotel TV! I don't know if you'll catch up with your posts, but I'll be along for the ride.

  3. What a lovely scenic area esecially with the autumn colours.

  4. Super post.. great fall colors!
    Gotta love our soggy wet weather.

  5. You're pictures bring back some memories of my visit to Multnomah Falls back in 2002, I think. I didn't have much time to hike the trails, and only saw the falls. It was most impressive.

  6. Hello, what a gorgeous hike. The fall colors are just lovely. Multnomah Falls was one of my favorite during our visit to the Gorge area. As always your photos are awesome. Great post. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

  7. That looks like a waterfalls worth seeing! And some beautiful fall colours too.

  8. Terrific photo trip through the trail! My favorite is the one looking down on the Benson Bridge from above.

  9. In my part of the Southern Hemisphere you gaze with awe, as we have no colour at all. Keep them coming.
    I was just thinking yesterday if I could convince my husband to drive 3 hours into our hinterland and higher elevation to enjoy the colour there.

  10. Thanks for sharing more autumnal color, waterfalls and some really fine art! :-)

  11. These are spectacular. I don't mind that you're behind. Just share away!

  12. Hi! Your fall's photos are very beautiful. I felt as if I were in Southern Hemisphere. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Spectacular images. The autumn colours, the beauty of nature. And you sure know how to capture it all.

  14. I've driven by Multnomah falls a ton of times and never stopped because it was so horribly busy. But now I'm thinking I should.

  15. I've been here!! The day I went in September had a similar gloomy look to it, the only difference being that the fall colors were just beginning.

  16. Fotografias maravilhosas destas paisagens fantásticas.
    Um abraço e continuação de uma boa semana.

  17. Know what you mean about having a backlog as I've still got a few summer trips around somewhere. Like the stone lodge and that path looks just like Rivendell.

  18. Some parts of Victoria will be looking like this soon - but only where there are introduced trees. And it can't come soon enough!

    cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  19. Lovely Fall photos! You should have trees budding out by now! :)

  20. fabulous, gorgeous, magnificent. How I wish I could see it for myself.

  21. I love that last picture of the tree!

  22. Your photos are so lush! I live all the greens and the trees! I would love to go there and see the waterfalls. Yes I know what it is like to be behind, I am so far behind in my comments.

  23. What a beautiful place and amazing falls. We're having a pretty hot start to Autumn down here but as I live in northern Aus Autumn isn't really any different to any other time of the year. As someone I was talking to yesterday said, we have two seasons hot and wet and hot and dry.

  24. This is spectacular - that's a huge waterfall!

  25. Oregon is so beautifully green--even in autumn! I love Multnomah Falls and can't wait to see them in person one day!

  26. Thank you for sharing another of your adventurous hikes, Linda. Beautiful!

  27. The scenery is awesome. I like the waterfalls a lot but I think the trees are my favorite.

  28. I've hiked these falls in the spring (also wet), but your fall colors are eye-popping. There's a reason for all that greenery and moss!

  29. The waterfalls are spectacular and the autumn colours as well.


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