TrailDudes Hike to Latourell Falls
Full Frontal Waterfall
Standing near the trail head sign, we are already presented with a fall in the distance. For a short few strides, our path is paved with a rail to the left. The climb is moderately steep at first. Soon we meet an overlook, a perfect snapshot of Latourell falls from a distance. In a few hundred yards, the pavement stops.
As we continue to climb, the path becomes ever more natural with each step. The rails go away with the pavement. A dirt trail turns upward with a constant view of the fall from an elevating perspective. It's muddy and slick, and we continue to climb. The views are breathtaking. The leaves, the trees, the foliage and the flowers all serve as a brilliant atmosphere wherein the nearing cascade is nestled.
Above the Drop
A small, little used path creeps under a rope-fence barrier. Climbing past it, we are able to walk above the fall. Looking down, we can see the the top of the fall and the 249 foot drop below. I sneak close to the edge to film the phenomenon. We hover for some time, taking in the view.
Soon the ropes and benches disappear. We are in the forest. We are in the wild following a narrow trail along a creek in the thick green. The birds chirp, and the squirrels are caught in their neurotic motions. We joke about Bigfoot and vampires and how we feel so much more in tune with nature on this hike than on any other. We cross the river via a fallen log, and continue to an upper fall.
Behind the Upper Falls / A Quiet Hike
The mist races toward us, and we climb behind the upper fall, watching the back of the water and the scene before us. It's only the second time either of us had been behind a waterfall. The white drops off a the stone above our head.
The loop continues downward, and is replete with budding blossoms and a variety of green low vegetation. We see our first traveler there after a oddly shaped tree helps us turn the corner. He comments on the "great waterfalls" and how "there's not a lot of people up here," obviously appreciative of the quiet serenity provided by the hike.
Height: ~249 feet
Hike Distance: 2.1 miles (loop)
1. The bridge crossing the river blow Latourell Falls, the Latourell Creek Bridge, was built with lightweight contruction due to loose soil which made it difficult to frame a firm foundation. The bridge is also unique in that it is the only one of its kind (a braced-spandrel concrete arch) on a state highway.
2. The rock around Latourell Falls is made up primarily of basalt.
3. Latourell Fall is named for Joseph Latourell, who raised his family and established a small settlement near the falls.
Behind the Lower Fall / Time to Head Home
A road surprises us as a car drives through our trail. We cross it and walk through a park where a paved path offers us an impressive view of an Old Highway bridge used to cross the river below the falls. We peel back the rock walls as we move forward and Latourell is once again revealed.
I run behind the fall, far greater than the one above. Mysterious yellow flowers grow near the fall, and I pass by them, hurdling over the rocks in my way. Upon reaching my goal of peering through the back of the falling water, I scurry back to TJ who holds the camera.
"That was awesome! But I definitely have wet socks!" I exclaim. The smile on my face cracks from ear to ear. I'm soaking wet, cold and muddy, but at this point nothing can bother me except the fact that the hike is over, and it is time to head home.
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Tell Us About Your Hike
Us TrailDudes are not only looking to share our experiences in the great outdoors, but want to hear about your's. If you've been privileged enough to hike to Latourell Falls, we'd love to hear about it. Leave a comment below and tell us about your hike.
Latourell Falls Part 1
At 249 feet, this Latourell Falls is one of the many gems of the Columbia River Gorge.
More of our Pics From Latourell Falls
See our full Latourell Falls photo album.