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Fall 2018: Top Three Gorge Hikes and Tips Before You Go
View from the Klickitat Trail. (photographer: Don Jacobson)
Gorge days are getting shorter, colder and eventually wetter. Before you head out on the trails this fall, check out these tips and hike recommendations from Kate Lindberg, outdoor programs coordinator.
Tips before you go
- Check trail conditions. Our trails database includes updated alerts about closures and hazards. And here's an easy-to-reference list of trails not closed by the Eagle Creek fire.
- Always be prepared for the unexpected. Carry the 10+ Essentials with you.
- Stop invasive plant species before you go. Help prevent the spread of invasive plant species; use a boot brush before you step on the trail and before you head home.
- Be findable if something goes wrong. Let a friend, family member or coworker know where you’re going. Contact that person when you’re back at the trailhead or have arrived at home.
Top three Gorge hikes
- Cape Horn, WA | This eight-mile loop winds through a pleasant forest of coniferous and deciduous trees – a natural buffer from the rainfall! The trail emerges to numerous viewpoints, including one of the best views in all the Gorge from the Nancy Russell Overlook. Looking east with the fog below you is a mysterious yet ethereal experience. Try it for yourself on this strenuous hike. You’ll cross a wooden bridge in front of tumbling Cape Horn Falls and walk on the bluffs high above the Columbia River. From July 16 to Jan. 31 you can hike the full loop trail. The lower section of the trail is closed the rest of the year (Feb 1 – July 15) for peregrine falcon nesting.
- Klickitat Trail, WA (check out different sections at our trails database) | Here’s a different spin on a rainy day hike: Go to the eastern Gorge where it rarely rains! This flat, former railroad bed follows the Wild & Scenic Klickitat River and provides a slice of solitude. Enjoy watching the river flow through narrow canyons and rough rapids in a shrub-steppe landscape. Choose the length you’re comfortable with for a pleasant out-and-back adventure. It’s a quiet, remote setting for leaving your worries behind. Grab a warm drink and hearty meal afterwards at The Lyle Hotel & Restaurant (note: open Wed.–Sun., 4-9 p.m.).
- Mosier Twin Tunnels, OR | Keep your feet dry while walking this portion of the paved Historic Columbia River Highway State trail which links the towns of Hood River and Mosier. If you choose to start in Mosier you’ll begin the walk by traveling through the Mosier Twin Tunnels. Appreciate the foresight of the conservationists who removed the 45-year-old rock pile to open up the tunnels for all of us to enjoy. As you continue on the path, soak up the expansive views of the Columbia River. Note: When not raining this makes for a great bike ride.