Most trails in the Gorge are closed due to the Eagle Creek Fire damage in 2017. It was because of the careless act that destroyed so much of interesting parts in George. For the outdoor enthusiast, this bad news is the saddest.
If you go to Latourell Falls, it is the first waterfall you will see as you reach the Columbia Gorge in Portland. It is about 30 miles or less from the city and you can go there within 90 minutes. The trail offers 2.4 miles of the loop with 520 feet in elevation gain and it is not a difficult hike to offer. You can even go there and enjoy how easy it is to hike. The best season to visit Latourell Falls is in any time of the year except the winter storms.
There, you will find two waterfalls, known as Latourell and Upper Latourell with the loop hike. In a total of 250 or more waterfalls in Oregon, these waterfalls should be the part of your choices to visit.
How To Get There
Park your car and you will find two options. The path leads you up toward the left and another path leads you to the right. If you take the right, it will bring you to the base of the falls. In addition, if you have no much time available, it is better to take a short hike down to the right to see the falls. On the other hand, we would recommend you to do the whole loop and it will never make you regret.
The interesting part about this hike is the full hike. It is so easy to follow with different vantage points of Latourell Falls. In addition, the hike will bring you right to the Upper Latourell Falls. To start your adventure, hike the trail on the left first. After taking a short wall, you can find an overlook of the falls. This is the best spot to enjoy the first look. Continue your hike and you will come around the top of the falls with a bench to take a break. If you visit this place in the fall or winter, you will find some amazing views.
After that, there are a few small wooden bridges you will cross with the streams under them. You should follow along with the Latourell Creek so you can reach the Upper Latourell Falls. The fall has two tiers and the upper tier is hidden from view. Then, cross another bridge and start heading back to the other side of the creek. There, you will find another bench with a rock point.
Go and follow the trail so you can reach the highway. Take a break if you are tired. Hike across the bridge back to the parking lot is also possible to do. On the other hands, the actual trail will go across the road. The stairs will bring you down to the Guy Talbot Park. There, you can find picnic tables, parking area, and a paved trail that heads back under the highway bridge. This point you are going to the base of Latourell. Once you have done staring up, cross the bridge and head back up to the parking lot.
Summer Vs. Winter
In the summer, the water flow is low and the place is still beautiful to explore. Nevertheless, you cannot expect the falls become gushing. On the flip side, the winter offers tons of water. Even the mist sprays you as soon as you get anywhere close to the base of the falls. The temperature will drop as well so that everything around the base is frozen. Back in 2017 with the huge snowstorm, there were about 30 feet of snow piled up and transformed like the shape of a volcano.
What To Pack
If you want to get close to the falls, it is better to have some additional things to bring like a rain jacket with a hood and the comfortable hiking shoes. These items are important because, in this area, it may rain a lot. The waterfall is quite misty as well. On the cold days, you should bring some stuff like extra layers, gloves, scarf, and a hat. Your hands may be freezing when you are trying to shoot. Therefore, if you want to get close to the falls during the winter, you may need crampons. The area is very slippery and icy especially close to the base of the falls. There are many people sliding around there.
If you want to go there because you are photographers and you are hunting the best shots around this spot, it is better to take slower shutter shots when you are at waterfalls. To do so, you will need a tripod or something that helps you to keep it stable since there are no rocks or places to set it down. Besides, it is better to bring a large or multiple lens cloth as well as the rain cover. It does not a matter if you don’t want to bring lens cloth or rain cover if your gear is weatherproof and durable enough. We mean, bringing these things can keep your gear durable. We continue wiping down our lens between the shots. It is also great to bring a backpack that allows you to access your gear easily. There are some backpacks available in which you can access your gear without putting it down. Snow and rain make the trail is wet and you don’t want to put your backpack down to deal with the muddy and wet terrains.
Visit Latourell falls, the first waterfall to visit as you enter the Columbia Gorge in Portland. The waterfall is easy to hike and it will never waste your time. Spend 90 minutes away from the city and you will be arriving in this spot.
What You Should Wear:
- Nano Storm Jacket
- Waterproof alpine pants/legging pants
- Waterproof hiking shoes or hiking boots
- Whistler bag
So, those are all things you should know about Latourell Falls and why you should hike there if you are in Portland. Capture as many pictures as you want and make sure to always plan your hike carefully.