Friday, December 28, 2012

Columbia River Gorge Hike

Summit of Angel's Rest
Kelly at summit of Angel's Rest Hike
Adventure:  Angel's Rest Hike

Location:  Columbia River Gorge, Bridal Veil, Oregon

Difficulty:  Moderate difficulty.  Large elevation gain but graded trail with switchbacks makes it manageable for the average hiker.

Distance: 2.3 miles one way

The Experience:

For the winter holiday, I flew to the West Coast to spend time with my family.  One day, my sister, Kelly, and I decided to go on a little adventure.  We thought about skiing or snowshoeing but both involve so much gear and up to a 2 hour drive.  Instead, I suggested my favorite pastime ... hiking.

Angel's Rest Trailhead
We headed for the famous Columbia River Gorge area.  This is well known to hikers and nature lovers.  The wide Columbia River separates Oregon from Washington and simply driving along I-84 out of Portland for 40 minutes you get glimpses of steep cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and dense forest.
View on Angels Rest Trail
Great Views along the way

On this cold northwestern day, Kelly and I decided to try a trail about 30 minutes from Portland called "Angel's Rest".  The trail can be accessed easily from the parking lot just off I-84's exit 28.  We did a 4.6 mile there and back to the top of a bluff that overlooks the Columbia River and Washington State beyond.  The hike also has the pleasure of crossing near streams, through deep forest, and has switch backs that give many peaks at the river below.

icy trail
Icy last third of the way


I highly recommend this hike to a visitor or local Oregonian.   My only recommendation is to prepare for ice as you climb to higher elevations in the winter months.  Kelly and I were able to manage without  any form of traction, but it was tricky.  MicroSpikes or Yak Traks would have been enough to keep our shoes on the icy trail.  Also, prepare for heavy winds on the summit (a common feature of the gorge).

Mountain Views
Mountain Views across the river