Exploregon: It’s Simply GORGE-ous!
Thankfully, being active in the outdoors is something that can be done year-round, so to our cold weather, weekend warriors, this one is for you. Throughout the past couple weeks we have been able to conquer Mt. Hood and the Oregon Coast, but our adventures don’t stop there. Some may tell you “winter is coming, stay inside”, but we challenge you to join us on our next excursion through the Columbia Gorge.
Bridal Veil Loop Hike
Distance: 0.5 miles
Elevation: 0 ft.
Bridal Veil Loop Hike is an all access, paved, trail perfect for someone just beginning to get back into walking and hiking. This trail leads to stunning views of the Columbia River and is accompanied by historic markers explaining the surrounding area. During the wet months, hikers have an added bonus of seeing several seasonal waterfalls cascading down the Cape Horns bluffs across the river in Washington. For those feeling extra adventurous, we recommend checking out the Bridal Veil Falls Hike, which shares the same trailhead as the Bridal Veil loop. The Bridal Veil Falls Hike has a combination of both paved and gravel terrain and, following a 70 foot incline, leads to the gushing Bridal Veil Falls.
Sams Walker Loop Hike
Distance: 1.1 miles
Elevation: 15 ft.
Open: All year
Sams Walker Loop is an interpretive trail that leads you through the old Sams family farm, on the Washington side of the Gorge. Thanks to the Friends of the Columbia Gorge, this beautiful plot of land was transferred to the Forest Service in 1988, saving it from becoming prime riverfront real estate. Begin by passing through Grace’s Meadow where you are welcomed by shades of green and wide open spaces. As you continue along the trail, you are soon engulfed by the dense woodland of cottonwoods, apple trees, alders, and more! Make sure to take advantage of the viewpoints that are along the way, offering breathtaking views of the Oregon side of the Gorge, Horsetail falls, Hamilton Mountain and Hardy Ridge. Sams Walker Loop is a well maintained trail making it perfect for someone is wary of uneven ground, and has sporadically placed picnic tables offering a great resting spot or the perfect lunch destination.
Elowah Falls Hike
Type: Out and Back
Distance: 1.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 280 ft.
Open: Year-round, but not recommended during inclement weather.
Elowah Falls Hike is a bit steeper when it comes to elevation, but still appropriate for most beginners. Cascading an impressive 289 ft, making it the second largest waterfall is Oregon, Elowah Falls is a popular stopping point along the McCord Creek as it continues its passage to the Columbia River. Descending into a vast amphitheater created by lava flows, the Elowah Falls hike offers an intimate opportunity to replace the noise of the city with the inviting sounds of the raging water. It is important to note that because there is more elevation climbing involved in this hike, we recommend this hike as something to work up to in muscular strength, endurance and confidence on uneven terrain.
**This is the fourth installment of our Exploregon blog mini-series about conquering your chronic pain, to read the introduction, click here**
**Before beginning a new exercise regimen, please consider first consulting your doctor**