Columbia Gorge – Oneonta Gorge



OCTOBER 7, 2012

Info:  From the Oregon Hike Book by Sean Patrick Hill. The Columbia Gorge, as impressive as it is, isn’t the only gorge around here. Take the Oneonta Gorge, for instance, a narrow slot sliced into sheer volcanic rock extending back more than a mile into the cliffs. On a summer day, with the right clothes and footwear, it’s possible to wade back into the gorge to a secret waterfall. The more common way to see this gorge is to climb up and around it, passing numberous falls and crossing a crazily high bridge on your way to a triple waterfall falling on Oneonta Creek.

Directions: From Portland, drive I-84 east to Exit 35 for Ainsworth Park and follow the Columbia Highway to the right 1.5 miles to the Horsetail Falls Trailhead parking area.

Jenn’s View: This is an interesting hike. More of climbing logs and wading to shoulder height water and a little bit of rock climbing. THIS WAS FUN AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! As long as you are not afraid of getting wet and cold and climbing.

OKAY OKAY, I know it has been FOREVER since I have written on this blog. I’m catching up. I still have a couple hikes that were done early 2013. It’s June 2, 2013 and I’m working on a 2012 entry?!?!?! What’s up with that?!?! Sheez, for geez-sakes Jenn – get to the point! Well, one reason I had a delay in hikes or entry is this:

Foot Surgery

I had foot surgery on January 23, 2013 and recovery is gonna be at least 6 months. I can do some things (most things) now but every now and then my foot reminds me of my surgery. I will be getting the other foot done the end of this year —  I know I know – just get on with the hike, we are tired reading about your foot.

Okay, I drove from Scott’s house in Terrebonne to the Columbia Gorge to meet Jodi for this special hike. I kept promising her that I would go hiking with her in the Gorge so be it… we did it. I forgot I had both my dogs, Shadowlynn and Muffy so hoping for something easy because of Muffy. Hmmm, I was in for a surprise.

Now this place gets photographed quite often. It’s absolutely beautiful with the right camera and lighting condition. Too bad, I didn’t have a camera but just my camera phone. I really need to invest in a camera :(.

Here is a one of the photographs of the place when the water level is insane. This photo credit belongs to Peter Lik.  I saw his gallery in Miami and fell in love with his work.

Photo by Peter Lik

Photo by Peter Lik

The first obstacle is to face the very steep stairs. With a dog that pulls, I had to be extra careful not to fall.

Steep stairs!

Steep stairs!

Just a few steps you will see interesting little coves and then low and behold you come to your next obstacle. Getting older, I tend to be a bit more cautious on what I climb and what I do. I seem to lose my balance easier than when I was younger.
So, I had to lift Shadowlynn up on these logs along with Jodi’s dog Maxie. Of course, my dog is hesitant and resists the assistance on these logs but I can’t leave her behind, so up so she goes. Maxie seems to do better and notice she absolutely LOVES water. Shadowlynn’s Lab part of her never kicks in but her Bordie Collie side does and HATES the water. She’s shaking and shivering like I’m going to sentence her to death but she did well and made it over ALL while I am holding Muffy in one arm!
Oneonta Gorge  Oneonta Gorge  Oneonta Gorge
Okay, We made it over all that mumbo jumbo logs, dogs and all! Now is the wet spots… We had to cross the creek, wade in the creek, and try to avoid the creek from getting into should height waters by climbing the rocks. Mind you, it’s October! The water is sooooooo cold. My feet are already numb from going through the water. I should have worn sandals. I had to figure out what to do with Muffy most of the time because she has never swam in the water and man, she has no undercoat so nothing is going to keep her warm. But we did it and we made it!
160  141  Oneonta Gorge
Oneonta Gorge
Oneonta Gorge
Holding Muffy while crossing the creek!
Oneonta Gorge
If I’m not holding her, she’s in my backpack!
In order to get to the waterfall, you have to decide whether or not to go THRU the water or try to go around. The bravest goes through but the ones who are smart, climbs the wall with a dog in their backpack! LOL
Oneonta Gorge
Once you cross the water, you have reached the end and to the small waterfall. I bet it’s bigger during the Fall/Spring time but I bet you would have to take a canoe in or something.
Oneonta Gorge Oneonta Gorge Oneonta Gorge
Now it wouldn’t be my blog without a picture of me. Muffy became camera shy….
Jennifer Piol

Jennifer Piol

My bestie and me finally hitting the Gorge!

Oneonta Gorge

Jodi Williams (Gibbons) and Jennifer Piol

I highly recommend this hike but prepared to be cold and wet…. Have fun and don’t forget to check out our Facebook page…

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Columbia Gorge – Shepperd’s Dell


MAY 25, 2011

Info: Taken from Friends of the Columbia Gorge website (

The short paved trail to the falls can be found on the east side of the bridge. The lower falls is a horsetail formation  and the upper falls is a plunge formation.The falls total height is 220 ft. The name of the creek is Youngs Creek.
Here the Sheppards Dell Bridge on the Historic Columbia River Highway crosses over a dell, a small wooden valley. This is significant since this was the answer to one of the engineering challenges of the highway’s construction. The dell was carved by a creek that includes two fairly substantial tumbling waterfalls. Due to the topography of the area, it is difficult to photograph the falls. As such, the bridge is what is normally pictured, and thus is arguably better known than the dell itself or the waterfall.

Directions: Sheppards Dell Falls is located immediately off of the Historic Columbia River Highway, 4 miles east of Crown Point or about 1.75 miles west of Bridal Veil State Park. Parking can be found on the east side of the bridge, with a short trail leading to a viewpoint adjacent to the lower portion of the falls.

Jenn’s View: Not even a hike but a nice waterfall nonetheless. The picture is hard to get when you get real close. The railing prevents you from getting any good shots but without the railing the path is pretty narrow and the drop off is pretty dangerous. 🙂  Great stop before you do any hiking around the area.

Columbia Gorge – Latourell Falls


MAY 24, 2012

Info: Taken from the Friends of the Columbia Gorge website ( Beginning from the Latourell Falls Trailhead, follow the paved viewpoint trail up to the viewpoint. From here, a dirt path leads away to the left, steeply around the basin. Look for side views of the falls, particularly in the winter, when the trees have lost their leaves. The trail climbs for about 1/3 of a mile to a bench at the top of the falls.

The main trail continues southward beside the creek. The trail here is rocky in places and the undergrowth next to the trail is very thick, blocking most views in the summer. The trail crosses four pleasant, small wooden bridges and then comes to Upper Latourell Falls. This waterfall is a two tiered drop: first a block fall that’s almost hidden and then a plunge into a pool. The trail crosses Latourell Creek at the base of the falls and heads back down the west side of Henderson creek. Follow the trail to the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Hikers can return to the trailhead by hiking across the bridge, but there’s more trail fun to be had. Across the road, there’s an old set of stairs that start a trail dropping down into Guy Talbot Park. The trail drops down to a parking area with picnic tables. From here another paved trail heads back under the highway bridge to the base of Latourell Falls. The bridge, dating from 1914, is interesting in its own right, with special lightweight construction due to the unstable soils in the area. At the falls, the lichen-covered columnar basalt formations around the falls steal the show. From here, it’s a short, paved, uphill hike to the parking lot.

Directions: From Portland, drive east on I-84 to Exit 28 (Bridal Veil). Turn Right on the Historic Highway and drive 2.8 miles to the Latourell Falls Parking lot on the left. From the east, take exit 35 (Ainsworth Park). Drive 10.8 miles west on the Historic Highway to the same lot.

Jenn’s View: Since this was the only “TRUE” hike I did, I really enjoyed this one. It was about 2+ miles round trip and I think I took a wrong turn somewhere because I didn’t end up at the parking lot that I originally started in. I wasn’t too far off though :). Great hike for the family. I saw little tiny kids on the trail. They have this rated as moderate and I would have to agree at the beginning of the trail. It does “SLOWLY” climb up so not too hard or strenuous.  Meaning, slow elevation gain. Take the kids and the dogs! Dogs must be on a leash. I didn’t get great pictures. The lighting was off – too much sun. The best place that I had a blast taking pictures was Bridal Veil. I am soooo not a professional or even an amateur, I just take pics to add to the blogs.

From the parking lot, you climb up the paved path to a viewing area of Latourell Falls. Talked to a family who had a young German Shepherd and three kids.  One of the kids bent down in front of Shadowlynn’s face and my dog jumped up to either lick her or just “bonk” her on her nose. I was busy talking with the mom and not paying attention to her little girl. Gave her a bloody nose and felt soooo bad!

Please please please, educate your children on the importance of NOT going up to a dog without owner’s consent or without owner’s supervision. OR bending down and being eye level to a stranger’s dog.

(BTW, the”professional picture above to the right here was not taken by me. It is from the Friends of the Columbia Gorge website)

From the viewpoint, there is a trail that starts the slow climb up. I think that was probably the hardest part of the trail besides all the deep mud puddles you encounter on the trail.

I came to the falls and loved how “neon green” the moss was next to the water. Had to take a picture, of course.

Climbing up the hill, I saw a couple of people on this log taking pictures of the river/creek/stream so I patiently waited my turn and got on that log. It freaked me out because it was quite slippery and my stupid dog kept running back and forth on the log with me on it! She has absolutely no manners and will knock you off first chance she gets because you are in HER way.

I didn’t get any good shots from this bridge, probably because I wouldn’t walk all the way across fearing my dog would knock me off. Here is what I managed to get. Nothing spectacular.

Hiked up a bit more and decided to stop and eat my Subway Sammich. MMMM yummy… 9 grain Honey Oat with Turkey and cheddar cheese. Add spinach, tomatoes, jalapenos, a little bit of mayo and mustard and got myself a awesome lunch. Shared the meat with Shadowlynn, of course. While sitting there, I heard a crack and large branches from the tree next to me fell. Didn’t hurt me or the dog but that was our cue to go. Came to the first bridge of the hike. You encounter a few.

It was so muddy on the trail. My poor shoes. Someone asked me (Scott’s Aunt Cathy) what shoes I normally wear and for the love of God, I couldn’t remember. Probably because I was nervous meeting the family for the first time. They are KEENS! That’s right! Need to do a product review on those babies here soon. I didn’t get a shot of the little cascading stream at the bridge. I figure I get enough of those. LOL

We finally get to the upper part and we have Upper Latourell Falls. Real pretty but the spray from the water and the amount of people on the trail made it quite difficult to get a shot.


I moved further down and across the bridge but someone with a camera/tripod was out taking pictures. He was patiently awaiting for people to pass. Nice equipment but I think he gave up to trying to take a picture of this fall. He kept wiping his camera lens.

While I was waiting for the people to pass, I found a little stream and started taking pictures.

Heading down, I found these flowers I would love to add to my potted plants. Not really sure what they are but they awfully pretty. While going down, I came to a fork in the road. I did take the path to the right thinking I would end at the bottom path and back to the highway, but I swore that path ended so I climbed back up and took the other path. Hmmm…It was a bigger path! Every now and then you would get a break in the tree line so you can see the Gorge but the trees are pretty big that it was hard to see. Like I said at the beginning, I didn’t end up at the parking lot. I did however end up NEAR the parking lot, close to the bridge.

Overall, I think this hike was pretty nice. We got a great break from the winter weather we have been having to enjoy and soak up the sun. Even though my allergies were killing me, I still had a marvelous time!

It wouldn’t be my blog without a picture of me! he he or Shadowlynn

Columbia Gorge – Tom McCall Preserve (#22)

January 8, 2011
Info: (from my Oregon Hike Book) More than 300 varieties of plants grow on the dramatic oak grasslands above the Columbia River and Rowena Dell. Thanks to the Nature Conservancy, this fabulous preserve – named for former Oregon Governor McCall, a conservationist-is open to everyone. Spring and early summer mark some of the showiest wildflower shows anywhere, though poison oak has a grip here, too. Lava flows and ash deposits coupled with massive floods have produced this strange mound-and-swale topography that baffles even the experts on that sort of thing. Here you’ll find meadowlarks, the Oregon state bird, as well as canyon wrens, Pacific chorus frogs and mule deer. Flowers include grass widows, prairie stars, lupine, Indian paintbrush, balsamroot, milk vetch, shooting stars, and waterleaf, several of which are found only in the Gorge. 
Directions: Drive east of Hood River five miles on I-84 to the Mosier exit (Exit 69) and follow “Scenic Loop” signs 6.6 miles to the Rowena Crest Viewpoint.
 Jenn’s View: Great hike. All relatively flat and total miles roundtrip, I would say, was about 2.5 miles. I could be wrong. Too many conflicting signs and had a not so great headache happening. Saw some wildlife and glad that I didn’t see any snakes. Sorry, snakes are NOT my friend. 🙂 We did this hike with the McCall Point trail and looked at the Rowena Crest Viewpoint. I was a little disappointed to find out that no dogs are allowed on the trail. I understand that they want to keep the “preservation” but it was obvious people didn’t mind the sign cuz there were evidence that there were dogs.

So, Makaila decided to stay back while Scott and I did this quick hike. 

She did say that she had her iPod to keep her company 🙂

So we hit the first plateau. I was amazed to see that there were quite a few people hiking out today. Probably because it was a clear day and sunny! Still cold but SUNNY! I even saw a lady with a nice long skirt, nylons, flat shoes, nice jacket – looks like her Sunday best doing this hike. 

This lady was taking pictures at the edge of the plateau. I think her boyfriend/husband/significant other/friend was afraid of the edge cuz he was no where near her. Hmmm, sounds familiar, right Scott?

There was a small trail off to the right before the plateau where I got these great shots!

I’m obsessed with that double bridge
OH NO! The sun is going down quick! Like I mentioned above, he won’t go near the edge 🙂

Went around on to the plateau to take more shots of that bridge. I knew if I took enough pictures, I would get one good one. 🙂

The double bridge…Thought it was pretty cool but just couldn’t get the right “shot” Click on it to get the “bigger” picture
Beautiful Columbia River!

On our hike to the plateau, we tried to take a self picture. Hmmm, didn’t work. I think it still turned out cute, even with 1/2 the face. 

You definitely don’t want to click on this one to make it big. I might scare you!

Started heading further down the trail. You end up hitting 2 small ponds but we really didn’t stop to take a look. No biggy. Was getting a little tired any ways but you get great pictures of the gorge!

I tried to yell to the boatsmen where they can find this picture! Yelled “!” I don’t think they heard me though. Bummer. One of my favorite shots! Click on it..

So, we thought the trail looped all around but we came pretty much to the end of the road. We turned around and headed back to the car.

On my way out of the gorge, we took a few more shots of the Gorge and said our goodbyes!

Jenn’s Recommendation: Wait until spring but great hike for family and kids of all ages. Remember, no dogs!

Columbia Gorge – Rowena Overlook/McCall Point (#21)


 June 8, 2011

Info: (from my Oregon Hike Book) More than 300 varieties of plants grow on the dramatic oak grasslands above the Columbia River and Rowena Dell. Thanks to the Nature Conservancy, this fabulous preserve – named for former Oregon Governor McCall, a conservationist-is open to everyone. Spring and early summer mark some of the showiest wildflower shows anywhere, though poison oak has a grip here, too. Lava flows and ash deposits coupled with massive floods have produced this strange mound-and-swale topography that baffles even the experts on that sort of thing. Here you’ll find meadowlarks, the Oregon state bird, as well as canyon wrens, Pacific chorus frogs and mule deer. Flowers include grass widows, prairie stars, lupine, Indian paintbrush, balsamroot, milk vetch, shooting stars, and waterleaf, several of which are found only in the Gorge. 
Directions: Drive east of Hood River five miles on I-84 to the Mosier exit (Exit 69) and follow “Scenic Loop” signs 6.6 miles to the Rowena Crest Viewpoint.
Thanks Kevin for the wonderful calendar!

Jenn’s View: OKAY so my challenge is to do every hike (or visit the places and then find a nearby hike) in my new Oregon Calendar that I received for Christmas. The first hike for the year was taken at the Rowena Overlook. No where in my book shows a Rowena Overlook so had to look it online. Well, it kept pointing me to the Tom McCall Preserve so I went with it. Now, the picture on my calendar shows it with snow but as you can obviously tell in my picture – no snow. It was a little “blah” and not very picturesque but I bet its pretty phenomenal in the Spring when the fields are blooming with sooooo many colors. I wouldn’t mind going back to see the show in the Spring. 🙂

We first visited the Viewpoint. We had to stop for “directions” on how to get to the trailhead and to ask for advise on which trail to do first. Very nice cyclists and the lady would have talked your ear off!
All the signs were pretty confusing and not trust worthy on the length of each hike. The first hike we did was to McCall Point or the Rowena Overlook (?). It was pretty cold but the sun was shining. Thank goodness cuz when we left Salem, the fog was so thick, I didn’t think I was gonna get a good picture!
 The trail was pretty muddy and wet but steady climb up to the peak. Not good when you drank a little too much of very delicious Jalapeno, sweet thang Margaritas – courtesy of Mr. Scott Wenger.  The higher that we went up, the peak of a mountain was starting show. That was a great highlight.

My Daughter…Not happy…Teenagers!
We hit the first mark and decided to take some pictures!
Posing the same way. I wonder if she got that from me or me from her?
AWWWW, my man!
Here is the peek-a-boo of a mountain top.  We couldn’t figure out which mountain that was. It was definitely on the Washington side so I was thinking it was Mt. Adams?

Had to get a picture of the “rolling hills”.

Steady climb up and found some normal trees!
My Sherpa. 🙂 I started with the backpack and he ended up carrying the rest of the time. Thank goodness!
The higher we climbed, the more I saw this mountain. 
More steady climb up but we are sooooo very close!
Posing for the camera. Easy picture taker!
We finally reached the top and was clear enough to see Mt. Adams (?) and Mt. Hood (?). Maybe that was Mt. Hood with all the snow.

We reached the top and stopped to enjoy the view and Kaila to finally eat her victory Banana! Should have stopped at Subway to eat our Victory Sandmich!

Kaila hidden somewhere in there eating her nana

Well, I didn’t want to take a picture of up, down and all around for the 360 photo software. It’s kinda a pain in the butt so I’d rather do a pana shot. I know, I know…lazy me. Oh well. 🙂

Click on it! I swear it does get bigger!!!! :))

Columbia Gorge – Wahkeena Falls Loop Trail #420 (#5)

May 31, 2010
Info: ( Wahkeena Trail #420 climbs steadily from the start. The path is wide and has several switchbacks. Wahkeena Falls has a height of 242 Feet. After the falls is the Perdition Trail #421 and has been closed since the 1991 fire and 1996 slides. Stay right, and you will come to a junction with two lookout trails. The trail to the right leads to Lemmon’s Viewpoint. The trail to the left leads to Monument Viewpoint. On the main trail, hike up to Fairy Falls. Restrooms are available at the trailhead during the summer season.
Difficulty: Moderate                                                                            Distance: 5.7 miles
Jenn’s View:
Joyce and I loved this hike. There are quite a few different trails but we took the one that lead us to Multnomah Falls.  It was a great work out AND so much to see and enjoy. Waterfalls are my most favorite things to look for. You actually get to see 5 different waterfalls on this trail. OHHH, this was the time I got a call from Washington County Police Department stating that Makaila was pulled over on TV Highway. She didn’t have her license at that time.  I told the cop that she must have stolen my suburban and was joyriding. I had to call Angela, my niece, to grab the burb and take her to Grandma’s house. She had the ticket drop and had to attend a safe driving course. hahahahaha!
So the first fall you come to is Wahkeena Falls which is the main picture (above) for this page.
Part of the river bed of Wahkeena Falls
So from the beginning of the trail, you can see the first bridge to the falls.

We got to the bridge and past the bridge is a rock crop.  Joyce thought she was funny and wanted to “pretend” she was rock climbing. he he.

Rock Climbin’ Joyce

After the steady climb, you reach Lemmons Viewpoint. Here Joyce decided she was “Ariel” from the little Mermaid. God, she’s weird!

We continue on and you are hiking right next to the river bed that feeds Wahkeena Falls.

The 2nd Fall you come to is Fairy Falls. This one was small but I thought was the prettiest of them all.

Next fall is Ecola Falls. Couldn’t really get up to close but you can see it from the trail. This was on our down, closer to Multnomah Falls.

The trail heading towards Multnomah was icky but cool.  At one point, you are walking under a cliff. The trail was wet and muddy but beautiful because you are walking next to the river.

Too bad it’s not deep enough to river raft.

The 4th fall is called Weisendanger Falls (don’t ask – I don’t know how to pronounce it either!).

Of course more pictures of the river / creek.  I’m so happy my little ELPH camera can take such great pictures. Too bad I killed the camera on a hike in the future (2011 hikes)

And of course the last and final falls was Multnomah Falls.  We running down Multnomah Falls trails, we ate our McDonald’s cheeseburgers that we got before getting to the falls.  While eating our burger, a little kid spotted our burgers and told his mommy we were eating McDonald’s. Joyce, being Joyce, told the little kid that McDonalds is at the top of the falls! LOL

Highly Recommend this trail! Make sure to do it in the late spring. It’s not too hot and the lighting is perfect to get pictures of the falls.