Bridal Veil Falls Hike, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

     We took our time getting out of bed this morning, no alarm clocks, it was nice. Eventually we made it out of the hotel room then next door for an awesome breakfast at the Bridgeside Cafe which was paid for by the Best Western Plus in Cascade Locks, good deal. We had an awesome view of the Columbia River including the Bridge of the Gods and the Washington side of the river, we even caught a glimpse of a bald eagle soaring through the trees below us.  It was cold outside, apparently we brought the winter with us from Spokane, usually the gorge is 10 to 15 degrees warmer than home, but not this trip, it was actually snowing outside. After breakfast we made our way to car where we cranked the heat and picked up I-84 west toward the trailhead for Bridal Veil Falls, our first stop of the day.

     We pulled into the parking lot and were a little surprised considering there were only a half dozen cars in the parking lot. A huge fire ripped through the area last summer devastating the forest and with it, many of the trails in the area, so i expected a bit more of a bottleneck with so few areas accessible. We loaded up the packs and layered up for the chilly walk, lucky for us the weather had turned and the wintry mix held off long enough for us to get in our hike. From the parking lot we picked up the paved trail heading past the bathrooms to the right. The pavement didn’t last long as the path soon turned to gravel before dropping over a ledge continuing downhill into the Bridal Veil Creek drainage. The forest is lush here, typical of the other waterfall hikes in the area with moss and lichen clinging to just about everything. We caught one quick view of the river through the trees before switchbacking into the canyon, passing a few benches along the way. The trail was getting busy as many people began to pass us in both directions. I always welcome the sound of a mountain stream and before long we could make out the ribbon of whitewater rushing through the trees. At the bottom of the revine we reached a sturdy bridge where we paused briefly to take in the views up and down stream. Once across the bridge we went right as the sound of the falls beckoned. We climbed a little ways and caught our first glimpse through the trees of the lower tier of the falls. A short way further we entered a wooden overlook where we had a magnificent view of the entirety of Bridal Veil Falls, a welcome site. Exploring waterfalls with the kids is one of my favorite things to do, what a reward for your effort. We lingered for a bit, but the masses soon descended upon us, this place is too close to Portland. We even got to witness two idiots climb out onto a big slippery monolith risking their lives for a stupid picture, one lady almost lost her footing, ol Darwinism at its finest. It was a great learning moment for my kids as they could see what not to do in life.  We said goodbye to the falls and the hoards before making our way back to the car. As soon as we hit the trail head the weather took a turn for the worse, we loaded up our gear and made our way to Backwood Brewing for post hike beer and grub. We covered about 1.5 miles with perhaps 200 feet of elevation gain.  For more pictures click here.

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