Shhh...don't tell anyone but my secret trail in Washington has old growth, a beautiful river, no hills and very few people. Living in Portland, Oregon USA I am surrounded by lush green forests with spectacular hiking opportunities. Waterfalls are a common sight. Rivers are in abundance.
But if I want to escape it all and really feel nature, I have a secret place in Southern Washington that I go to recharge in the summer and fall. It is the Lewis River Trail and is about 1.5 hours drive outside of the Portland metro area.
Now most people would suggest hiking up some mountain for some spectacular view. I've done those hikes and yes, the views can be spectacular, but most days I don't feel like killing myself slogging up some mountain and then blowing my knees out on the way down just so I can have some brief vewpoint. So I look for river hikes because they tend to be flatter. I like the water flowing by. The closer the trail is, the better! I recently hiked a "river trail" and all the trail did was parallel the river at a far enough distance you really couldn't see it for 95% of the time. Ridiculous! Why call it a river trail at all? The point of a river trail is to actually hike by the river itself...duh!
Anyway, most people from Portland would send you into the Columbia Gorge area. That is an area of scenic beauty and outdoor recreation that is just east of Portland. It is along both sides of the Columbia River. The Columbia River is one of the longest rivers in the USA and divides Oregon and Washington. These "people" would probably send a would-be hiker enthusiast to Eagle Creek and that would be a great choice as it has 7.5 miles of spectacular river hiking among amazing waterfalls, one that the trail even goes behind it through a small cave where the trail got carved out of the cliff-side.
|The trail goes through the tunnel behind the waterfall!|
|The fallen tree was so large its end seems to hang in space over the trail|
|Some of the fallen trees are large enough to use as your own trail...|
|Sitting next to an ancient Cedar tree|
|Start of the trail, nothing grand about the trailhead at all.|
|Vibrant Orange fungi...apparently they are edible too...no...didn't try them|
|Not deep...but plenty cool on a hot day|
|Through the ferns, moss and giant trees along the riverside...|
|The trail follows this close to the river for miles...|
|Make-shift bridge across a feeder stream|
|Camp spot rope swing into a calm portion of the river|
|More vibrant orange fungi...|
|Some of the fall down require a little maintenance to get through|
|A convenient slot so mountain bikers don't hit their head|