The Gorge Revisited

The giant forest fire in the gorge now two years old dramatically impacted access to many of the most popular and iconic trails that have made this area famous. From Wahclella Falls to Oneata, it’s been a rough time, especially for those that counted on hikes and recreating in this most-beautiful-of-places as a regular part of their life. Me? I’m one of these people and was just getting to introduce all of these great hikes to my two children…who were loving it. Then, boom, trails closed. And heck, many trails are still closed…but alas, some are indeed open. Case in point: Latourell Falls. Near the ever popular Angels Rest hike (always packed it seems), Latourell Falls gets far less traffic and boasts two incredible beautiful waterfalls sure to punch your Gorge ticket.

The first waterfall on the Latourell Falls hike is seen right after parking. A short jaunt gets you to the plunge pool…a welcome respite on a blazing hot day. That said, the water is FRIGID and I wouldn’t dare swim in the pool here unless the falls are a bit more of a trickle ;). image Courtesy: Agoodgrey.com

The first waterfall on the Latourell Falls hike is seen right after parking. A short jaunt gets you to the plunge pool…a welcome respite on a blazing hot day. That said, the water is FRIGID and I wouldn’t dare swim in the pool here unless the falls are a bit more of a trickle ;). image Courtesy: Agoodgrey.com

The first waterfall can be enjoyed immediately, right after parking. A short trail leads down to the plunge pool for those looking for a close-up. A hot day might even get you swimming? In any case, this is just the first treat in this wonderful, but very short hike (only 2.5 miles in the loop).

The final destination falls in the Latourell Falls hike…just an awesome twister (and not the midwest kind!). Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

The final destination falls in the Latourell Falls hike…just an awesome twister (and not the midwest kind!). Image Courtesy: Dan Meyers

The second waterfall is halfway through the hike and is simply stunning. But what really stood out on this hike, outside of the un-paralleled beauty, is the fact that this trail was not overrun with people, dogs, etc. In fact, it was a sunny, warm Saturday, at the start of summer, and it was un-crowded. Even with so many amazing trails closed due to the fire…there are still great, un-crowded hikes to be had in the Gorge. I think I, along with many other regulars, have been holding back, thinking nothing is accessible. Well, don’t let the secret spread too far... ;). But do get out there! The Gorge beckons.

For a complete list of trails, including their open/closed status, follow this link to Oregon Live.

 

Edgefield is the Perfect Cap

So, what to do after a great hike in the Gorge? Well, McMenamin’s Edgefield is the perfect spot…or “cap” I should say. This place is like a ritual to us, after hiking. Just roll in, get an outside table…dog friendly…and enjoy a great burger! So nice. And of course, their soaking pool is a dream for sore hiking legs and feet. You need to be staying over to get access to the pool, but it’s worth it!

Eating outside at McMenamin’s Edgefield…such a nice, post-hike respite! Image Courtesy: OregonLive.com

Eating outside at McMenamin’s Edgefield…such a nice, post-hike respite! Image Courtesy: OregonLive.com

The soaking pool at McMenamins Edgefield. Oh sooo nice. Image Courtesy: McMenamins.com

The soaking pool at McMenamins Edgefield. Oh sooo nice. Image Courtesy: McMenamins.com

Dan Meyers