ELOWAH / UPPER MCCORD FALLS
Elowah Falls, the second-tallest waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge, cascades 289 feet through a gorgeous amphitheater of lichen-covered basalt. Though it gets less attention than its more-photographed sister, Multnomah, Elowah’s hidden charms are worth the gentle forested hike off the well-trod path.
The easiest hike on this list of moderate hikes, this trail has just about everything a person exploring the Gorge could ask for — waterfalls, forest, canyons and views.
From the trailhead at John B. Yeon State Park, a short and very easy path runs 0.8 miles to an enormous amphitheater of stone where Elowah resides.
For a bit more excitement and views, return down the trail and turn left at a junction that switchbacks uphill. You’ll pass a beautiful view and eventually reach Upper McCord Creek Falls. The hike’s total distance is 3 miles.
Driving directions: From Portland, follow I-84 eastward to Exit 35, marked Dodson. Turn left at the stop sign, then immediately turn right onto the frontage Road. Drive east on the frontage road 2.1 miles and turn right into the trailhead parking lot. The lot will be just before the road re-enters the highway.
SRC: Find more Gorge hikes here: www.statesmanjournal.com/story/travel/outdoors/hikes/2013/12/31/top-five-gorgeous-columbia-river-gorge-hikes/4264985/
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