Latourell Falls Hike, Talbot State Park, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

     After our breakfast of delicious fresh baked scones delivered daily from a bakery in White Salmon, we departed the Hood River Hotel and picked up I-84 east toward Portland. As we made our way down the mighty Columbia River gorge, the canyon became increasingly and much more dramatic as it took on a more mountainous characteristic. Eventually we passed iconic Multnomah Falls before finding our exit and eventually the trailhead for lower Latourell Falls within Talbot State Park.

     After a quick peek at lower Latourell Falls from an overlook at the trailhead we picked up the paved trail on the left which took us a short distance to another dramatic view of the massive cataract. After taking a couple of semi obstructed photographs we left the pavement behind on a true dirt path continuing upstream. The trail eventually made its way up and around the falls, with the lower falls behind us we could thoroughly enjoy the trail and It’s unique character. I love these Columbia gorge trails with all the moss, ferns, and greenery along the way.

     We worked our way up the creek enjoying views down to the cool waters below and back across the narrow canyon. The kids really enjoyed the trail, Jameson is getting strong, always out front whereas Kylie is at the age when the little things just beyond her reach are the most interesting.  She always wants to hike with Jameson, loves her big brother, but just can’t keep up. It wasn’t too long before I could make out the two tiered upper falls through the trees. The upper falls is magnificent, plunging 120 feet to Latourell Creek below, well worth the extra effort.

     Just below the base of the falls we crossed a footbridge over the creek to a great place to set up the tripod. The kids were definitely impressed with the falls, and after getting the required photos we were on our way out. Now on the west side of the creek we continued with the loop hike heading clockwise working our way back toward the trailhead. At about 1.4 miles we reached a junction for a shortcut trail heading right, we went left hiking past scenic views across the columbia river gorge high above the lower falls basin.

     We found a bench and decided to take a break next to a really nice older couple from Portland. I was glad they were there because the dad who remembers everything forgot the snacks, and they were more than willing to share their trail mix with the kids. After liquidating the poor couple of their gorp we made our way back down the trail. We stopped again for a photo opportunity with a cool tree that extended out then up over the trail, beyond the tree we made quick work of what was left of the hike before eventually reaching the road and a bridge back to the trailhead.  Back at the lower falls we jumped on the paved path with the hoards from Portland where we headed down a short trail to an impressive view from the base of the lower falls. Latourell Falls is a great hike with the loop to the upper falls being mandatory. We covered about 2.3 miles total and roughly 540 feet of elevation gain. On the way back to Hood River we made a quick stop at the pullout for Shepperd’s Dell Falls. A stunning two tiered waterfall dropping about 90 feet to Youngs Creek below. Almost as impressive as the falls is the paved path with antique guardrail and bridge along the way. Fore more pictures click the link.

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