Wahkeena Falls

Tuesday July 9th 2019

The fact that I’m in the wet part of Oregon was apparent today. I woke to a cloudy day with the temperature in the sixties. It climbed to seventy, but the clouds thickened during the day with an occasional light rain. As darkness moved in so did the real rain. Up to a half inch of rain is in the forecast for the overnight.

Horsetail Falls drops its water into a nice quiet pool.

I set out this morning to see some of the Columbia River Gorges famous waterfalls before the parking lots filled up. I started with Horsetail Falls which is right beside the road. It isn’t a very big or high falls by comparison, but is still very pretty. The next waterfall on my drive was Multnomah Falls. The parking lot was full. This is perhaps the best known of all the falls. I’ll try to get back to see it before I leave the area.

I spent most of my time at the Wahkeena Falls just west on the Old Columbia Gorge road from the Multnomah falls. I took a lot of pictures, so I’ll try to tell the story of my visit in the captions for the photos.

The Wahkeena falls from the road doesn’t look as impressive. It has several drops over the course of its flow from high up on the mountain ledge.
A paved and packed gravel path climbs the mountain with many switchbacks. A large portion of the Columbia River Gorge burnt in a fire in the fall of 2017. In this area the lower altitudes have a few burnt trees and charred tree trunks. Higher up there are more heavily burnt areas.
After a couple of switchbacks the path crosses the water fall on a stone bridge. The biggest drop of the falls is clearly visible here.
Continuing the climb after crossing the falls the views of the Columbia River and Interstate 84 below become the focal point.
The higher up you get the more trees with heavy charring come into view. This tree looks health twenty feet or so above the ground.
Moss covered walls line the switchbacks in portions of the climb.
Looking back at all the switchbacks I climbed from the Lemmons Viewpoint.
Looking at the Columbia River to the west from the Lemmons Viewpoint.
Looking a the Columbia River to the east from the Lemmons Viewpoint.
The path continues to climb from the Lemmons viewpoint. The trail is narrower and made up of gravel and loose rock in this area. I didn’t have good footwear for this section of the trail. It was also starting to rain, so I turned around after only a couple more crossings of the falls and a couple more switchbacks. There was still a lot of trail to climb.
Another view of the Wahkeena Falls on the way back down.

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