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A moderate trail jam-packed with views of the Columbia River Gorge.


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Map Key

5.3

Miles

8.6

KM

Point to Point

1,297' 395 m

High

163' 50 m

Low

1,030' 314 m

Up

1,360' 415 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

32%

Max Grade (18°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

The portion of this trail from below the Cape Horn Falls Overlook to where the trails connect with Cape Horn Road is closed each year from February 1 through July 15 for nesting falcons.

Description

From the trailhead, the trail climbs steadily, switchbacking its way beneath a canopy of bigleaf maples to Pioneer Point. From this sheer edge, the area's verdant foothills and meadows beautifully frame the river below.

From here, the trail makes a brief descent before transitioning into a mellow climb. Keep left at the various junctions with an old wagon road along this section. The trail continues to casually follow the arch of the ridgeline as it heads to the first road section.

Upon reaching Strunk Road, cross over and join the left-veering singletrack on the other side. This is immediately followed by a gravel road with fields continuing on either side. Ahead, a cluster of trees growing along the road signals the start of more singletrack to the left. A little winding back-and-forth through the woods brings hikers to the Nancy Russell Overlook. This stone overlook is well placed for enjoying broad panoramic views of the Columbia River Valley over a snack or lunch break.

When you're ready, continue following the trail as it switchbacks down to a crossing beneath the highway. This thickly forested area is quite pleasant year-round, but in the spring and early summer it fills with a riot of colorful wildflowers that are a delight to behold.

Ahead, the trail comes to an intersection with the Cape Horn Falls Overlook Trail, which is a short and worthwhile detour to see the falls from above. Continuing on, the trail steeply switchbacks to a long shelf perched above the river.

Not to be outdone, the shelf offers its own perspective of the river, as well as Cape Horn Falls, before connecting onto the public Cape Horn Road.

This content was contributed by Debbie Asakawa and the Friends of the Columbia Gorge. To find more hikes they recommend and to learn about their efforts to support the Columbia Gorge click here.

Contacts

Shared By:

Eric Ashley

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 6 votes

#11397

Overall
  4.0 from 6 votes
5 Star
17%
4 Star
67%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#531

in Washington

#11,397

Overall
8 Views Last Month
1,022 Since Oct 14, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

0%
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50%
33%
17%
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Photos

Review of the hike to Pioneer Point on the Cape Horn Trail with footage of its features and terrain.
May 12, 2024 near Washougal, WA
The Columbia River Gorge in the spring.
Oct 14, 2016 near Bridal…, OR
Cape Horn Loop Rocky Trail on Lower Section
Jan 1, 2019 near Washougal, WA
Cape Horn Loop Lower Section Lookout
Jan 1, 2019 near Bridal…, OR
Cape Horn Loop Lookout
Jan 1, 2019 near Washougal, WA
Cape Horn Loop Lookout
Jan 1, 2019 near Washougal, WA

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 89 days ago
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Check-Ins

Aug 26, 2023
Dianne Dacumos
Sep 20, 2020
Grant Headley
Jul 10, 2020
Jay Lewis
Salmon Falls Park & Ride to Nancy Russell Overlook 2.5mi — 2h 00m
Jun 24, 2018
Zachary Roberts
Lovely hike with an awesome view point perfect for a midday lunch. Can’t wait for the loop to be open after Peregrine Falcon mating season! 5.6mi
Dec 3, 2016
Valerie Cooper
I like it - it's weird that it's so close to the highway. The views were incredible across the gorge. Didn't like 1 mile walk on road. 7.4mi
Jan 19, 2015
Cameron Booth
A relatively easy hike with some great Columbia River Gorge views.
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