Go beyond a typical drive-up tourist stop along the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway on a short and spectacular loop. After viewing the majestic bottom tier of Latourell Falls, you will ascend a forested hillside to Upper Falls, a stunning double-decker cascade. Head downhill on the paved trail nearest the Scenic Highway bridge. You will parallel a lushly forested gully and pass under towering basalt cliffs as you descend 0.1 miles to the base of Latourell Falls. This soaring, 249-foot cascade is set in magnificent columnar basalt and merits plenty of time to gape and snap photos before you continue. Next you will cross a small footbridge over Latourell Creek (which offers great views of the falls) and begin to trace the other side of the ravine. In a moment you will pass under the Scenic Highway bridge and emerge into a small, grassy picnic area. Turn left on the paved path and ascend a short hill. Cross the road to rejoin the trail as it ascends a moderately steep, forested hillside. In about 0.2 miles take the spur to your left. This leads onto a dizzying promontory just above the brink of Latourell Falls, which offers views of the Columbia River and the Washington side of the Gorge. Exercise care on this span, as it is narrow, rocky and often slippery from spray.

©Jenni Denekas

Return to the main trail and continue your climb. In 0.9 miles you will reach Upper Latourell Falls. After soaking in the views of this gushing, two-tiered cascade, continue on the main trail as it bends left up a brief hill. You will soon begin to descend a series of forested switchbacks. After about 0.5 miles, you will glimpse the Lower Falls again through the trees, then arrive at a viewpoint. Just down the paved hill from here is the parking lot.

©Jenni Denekas

Trailhead coordinates: 45.538534,-122.218759

Difficulty: 3
Elevation gain: 425 feet
Distance one way: 2.3-mile loop
Best season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Features: Forest, Views, Waterfall, Creeks, Fall Color, Wildflowers
Trail head amenities: Privy
Passes/Permits: None
Usage: Hikers, Dogs
Maps: USGS: Bridal Veil, OR; Green Trails #428: Bridal Veil, OR and #428S: Columbia Gorge West
Agency: Oregon State Parks and Recreation
Directions: I-84 East from Portland: 1. Travel east on I-84. 2. Take Exit 28 for Bridal Veil. 3.
Turn right onto the Columbia River Historic Highway at the stop sign in 0.4 miles. 4. Travel 2.7 miles to the marked Latourell Falls parking lot, which will be on your right immediately after you cross a bridge. Overnight parking is not allowed.

©Jenni Denekas
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