1) Cape Horn Loop, Wash.: This moderately difficult 7.7-mile trail winds through a pleasant forest of coniferous and deciduous trees, emerging to numerous views of the Gorge including the best view from the Nancy Russell Overlook. Here, looking east is a mix of green pastures and amber leaves dotting the landscape. Continue along the trail taking you across a wooden bridge to tumbling Cape Horn Falls.
2) Eagle Creek Trail or Wahclella Falls, Ore.: These two trails are a single entry because both follow creeks that provide excellent viewing of spawning salmon. From the parking lot you can view this seasonal spectacle The fun continues when hiking the trails. Both are of easy grade, but Wahclella Falls is more family-friendly (be careful of steep cliffs on the Eagle Creek trail). Also, Tanner Creek follows the trail closer on the Wahclella Falls hike.
3) Klickitat Trail, Wash.: Autumn colors of shrub-steppe habitat and oak trees surround you on the golden eastern gorge hillsides, contrasting dramatically with the deep blue of the wild and scenic Klickitat River. Once a railroad bed, the Klickitat Trail is fairly flat as it follows the Klickitat River upstream for 13 miles from Lyle to Klickitat. Choose the length you’re comfortable with for a pleasant out-and-back adventure. Feast your eyes on the salmon jumping up the rapids and maybe you’ll be lucky to see the dip net fisherman!
4) Latourell Falls Loop, Ore.: This 2.4-mile loop hike has it all! Two waterfalls, several wooden bridge crossings, views of the gorge, and lush green and golden foliage lining the trail. It has little elevation gain and makes for a great family outing.
5) Hamilton Mountain, Wash.: This is a classic gorge hike rich in waterfalls, cliffs, deep forests and stunning views. The vine maples illuminate the forest this time of year on this 9.4-mile loop hike located within Beacon Rock State Park.
SRC: Read the complete article, and look for more gorge trails here: www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2014/09/columbia_river_gorge_five_best.html
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