Trek #4: Wahclella Falls


After an uncomfortably long hiatus with no car to satisfy my hiking whims, I have finally acquired a vehicle! This was where I immediately went to with my new freedom:

Wahclella Falls, my 4th trek in a series of 52. I have *a lot* of catching up to do. The year is already four months in, and I have only been able to tackle four hikes.  Fortunately, the weather is getting much, much nicer, so I should be able to cover a lot of ground (literally) this spring/summer/autumn.

I have also been taking strides to get myself into better shape. Unfortunately, due to perpetual scheduling conflicts, I have quit my WW meetings. However, I have revved up my healthy eating habits and have been making regular exercise a routine. Just this morning I went to a Zumba class. The goal is to keep making healthier choices and ultimately, a healthier self will follow. I’d also like to get into good enough shape to tackle longer, more challenging hikes solo. That would be incredible, and also, completely attainable. This is going to be an amazing year for achieving all sorts of wonderful goals.

My first hike in nearly two months was at Wahclella Falls near the Columbia Gorge. I decided to re-kick my treks off with a hike I’ve done a couple of times before that I immensely enjoy.  I love this hike for many reasons, but a couple are that a) it is absolutely beautiful terrain and b) I’m able to complete it within a short enough time that I still have plenty of energy to withstand going to work at night.  I went with my friend Sarah (who’d never hiked this trail before) and her wonderfully energetic and curious dog, Penny.

We could not have gone on a more beautiful early spring day. Full sunshine and warm enough to not need a jacket.  The trail itself is a roughly 2.5 mile loop, and exactly halfway through is Wahclella Falls itself — a beautiful, thriving, two-tier waterfall that is absolutely beautiful to behold.

It starts off on a nice, flat walk at the trailhead as you walk along the river. Within about a quarter to half a mile, you’re taken up an incline with some rather steep drop offs to a tall wooden staircase (this is where we saw people abandoned their baby strollers). Then the terrain is a combination of flat and incline all the way to the falls. The thing that I love about this trail is the element of surprise. You don’t see the falls at all until you literally round a corner and then *BOOM* it’s right there!  While looping back, it’s mainly a flat walk back until you meet back up with the trail you took to get out to the falls. It’s a pretty rapid ascent up, but fortunately, does not last for more than 1/5 mile. The last 3/4 to half mile is an easy, flat walk back to the trailhead.

This was a wonderful, not challenging hour long hike. There were certainly a lot of people on the trail since we went on a Saturday and the weather was perfect, but it wasn’t so crowded we felt cramped and couldn’t fully enjoy ourselves.  It was also interesting for me to come back to this trail post-winter, because I could see that the rainy season had made the waterfalls (there are several smaller ones along the trail), the river, and the pools of water much fuller.  Everything along the trail was immensely green and lush and bursting with life.

I’d love to come back to this hike again in middle of summer (though on mid-week morning, as I imagine this trail is packed in summer). There are so many inviting little swimming holes near the falls, I bet it’s incredibly refreshing to go for a dip there.

Now that I have a vehicle again, hikes are going to happen much more frequently. Possibly two a week in consistently nice weather. I still have 48 more to conquer this year, an exciting goal to meet 🙂

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Treks Down: 4, Treks to Go: 48

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1 Response to Trek #4: Wahclella Falls

  1. Awesome! Truly one of the best bag for the buck hikes in all of Oregon. Great pics too, Jen.

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