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Wahkeena Trail #420

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.6 (8)

An unbelievably scenic climb along numerous waterfalls leading to the Columbia River.


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Map Key

2.2

Miles

3.6

KM

Point to Point

1,517' 463 m

High

132' 40 m

Low

1,386' 422 m

Up

377' 115 m

Down

15%

Avg Grade (8°)

34%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Leashed

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall

The trails around the Columbia River Gorge are open year round and are free to use. The visitors center at the base of Multnomah Falls is open seven days a week, 9 to 5. Occasionally weddings and special events use a portion of the Multnomah viewpoint; this has little impact to other visitors.

Parking at the trails around Multnomah Falls can fill quickly, especially during the warmer months. Arrive early to maximize the chances of finding a close spot.

Description

With nearly 1,500 feet of climbing, most packed into a mile, Wahkeena Trail is not an easy route. But hikers who push through its challenging grade will be rewarded with one of the Columbia River Gorge's most scenic and satisfying trails, following a creek creating several gorgeous waterfalls.

The trail begins off Highway 30 near a parking area. The initial portion is a moderate climb on paved doubletrack, often crowded. It's only a single switchback to reach the first waterfall, Lower Wahkeena, which is crossed by a scenic stone bridge. Take time to appreciate the view, because the hike gets tough fast, beginning a steep grade climb that will last for about a mile. A few benches along the way provide rest opportunities.

Wahkeena soon begins a series of tight switchbacks, climbing along a creek of the same name to the right. The trail and creek take up almost the entirety of the space in this tight canyon. As the hairpins smooth out, look for a short spur to Lemmon's Viewpoint on the right; the view from here is outstanding.

After Lemmon's, the pavement gives way to wide dirt singletrack, interrupted in some areas by jagged rocks and roots. Step carefully through these sections, especially where it’s made wet by spray from the falls. Upper Wahkeena is a short distance ahead, as the path starts to made wider curves as it ascends. The climb is relentless and tiring.

Shortly before the three-quarter mile point, a number of tight switchbacks climb next to the gorgeous fan-shaped Fairy Falls. Watch your step here, as the ground is perpetually wet, and icy in winter. Vista Point Trail breaks off to the left, a nice shortcut for hikers heading west. Pressing on, the switchbacks widen a bit and the grade eases - marginally. Angel's Rest Trail #415 awaits at the mile point, while Wahkeena's route turns left. Take time to check Wahkeena Springs to the right, the source of the creek, before continuing on.

Enjoy the view of the towering pines as the path finishes out its climb, eventually meeting Vista Point again near the mile and a half point. This flat section is also the trail's quietest, curving around the mountain. The trail is also drier and softer here, but watch for jagged rock segments.

As the trail turns toward the canyon of Multnomah Creek to end, it begins a descent as steep as the climb. Silence gives way to the roar of waterfalls below over the last quarter mile. Look for a signpost marking the end at an intersection with the Larch Mountain Trail; turn left to loop back home.

Contacts

Shared By:

Brendan Ross

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 8 votes

#5282

Overall
  4.6 from 8 votes
5 Star
63%
4 Star
38%
3 Star
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#141

in Oregon

#5,282

Overall
11 Views Last Month
1,228 Since May 7, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Wahkeena Falls
Jul 2, 2015 near Bridal…, OR
Wahkeena Falls
Jul 2, 2015 near Bridal…, OR
Lower Wahkeena Fall
Jul 2, 2015 near Bridal…, OR
Columbia River Gorge
Jul 2, 2015 near Bridal…, OR
Near the highest section of trail.
Jun 20, 2019 near Bridal…, OR
Beautiful waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge
May 30, 2018 near Bridal…, OR

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Jan 26, 2020
Cheryl Olson
Nov 23, 2019
Andrew Bergman
Jul 24, 2019
Lou Guajardo
Jun 30, 2019
Charlie Blake
May 18, 2019
Jessica Crowe
Jan 21, 2019
Stephen Williams
Aug 24, 2017
Chris Lauretano
Jul 16, 2017
Micki Selvitella