When we first moved to Portland we were a little dismayed that all of the campgrounds near Portland were always crowded. We wanted to head up into the mountains to get away from people, but we wanted some place that we could get to in a reasonable time leaving after work on a Friday afternoon. One day, I stumbled upon the Salmon River Trail outside of Welches up towards Mt. Hood. While not exactly deserted, it wasn't very crowded and being in the big trees, it was easy to hide from people. Plus with the river and the ferns, it was really a quite idyllic spot.
This could easily have been title Waterfall Porn since this hike takes you past several incredible falls. It is a short hike, 5 miles or so, about an hour out the Gorge from Portland. You can park at Horsetail Falls and start the hike, but we chose to park a little closer to where we would be ending the hike and walk the short distance down the road to the start.
This hike is out the Gorge, outside of the bustling metropolis of Mosier, Oregon, pop. 430. It starts at the Rowena scenic overlook off of historic Highway 30. After a short climb it reaches the meadowed slopes overlooking the Rowena Plateau. Here, you'll have your first view to the west, including the arched highway bridge,and Mount Defiance. Looking north, Mount Adams appears beyond the town of Lyle. From here, the trail gets steeper as it switchbacks, alternating through forests of scrub oak and open grassy areas. This part of the trail is populated with poison oak and ticks.
Mother Nature, or climate change, or a freak occurrence in our natural weather patterns, has been wreaking havoc with our winter. Our long, dark months of drizzly rain have been replaced with sunny warm days in the 50s. Now, I’m not one to complain, but we will rue these days come summer. However, when life gives you lemons, you make lemon meringue pie, so with the the sunny days, Adriane and I decided to head out the Gorge and go for a hike. An, as happens in Portland, so had everyone else. We got to the Eagle Creek parking lot and could not find a space.