Waterfalls on Old Highway in Columbia Gorge

Let's take a tour of waterfalls on the old road in the Columbia Gorge before you get to the Multnomah Falls. We will go to about three or four waterfalls that are easily accessible without too much walking or climbing.

At Latourell Falls you can see entablature jointing. This is a distinctive jointing pattern found in the Columbia River basalt flows. Stress, produced when lava cools and contracts, causes joints to form. Columnar joints (colonnades) are found below the entablature. The were formed perpendicular to the lower cooling surface and are beautiful prisms and columns. You can also see such jointing at Shepperds Dell, Crown Point and Multnomah Falls.

Latourell Falls
Type: plunge
Height: 249 feet
Access: car or hike
In Guy W. Talbot State Park, this fall of Latourell Creek is named after Joseph Latourell, a prominent Columbia River Gorge settler. It is on the Historic Highway, 3.4 miles west of Exit 28 off I-84. It's a short walk to the viewpoint from the park's picnic area to the viewpoint.

This 242 falls was once known as Gordon Falls in honor of pioneer land-owner F.E. Gordon. In 1915, a committee of the Mazamas changed the name of the creek and falls to Wahkeena - the Yakama Indian word for "most beautiful."

Wahkeena Trail climbs to 900 feet for a spectacular view of the Columbia River, described by Rudyard Kippling as "penned between gigantic stone walls crowed with the ruined bastions of Oriental palaces." Traveling among rocks festooned with deer fern, the trail follows the creek close to its source and enters a steep forest of moss-hung vine maple, sword fern, and 200-ft Douglas firs to end at Larch Mountain Trail in 2.8 miles. Wahkeena Trail connects with several other trails enroute and allows many loop possibilities. Wahkeena Falls Picnic Area provides a picnic shelter and a stone fireplace.

Wahkeena Creek is isolated and unique. Without a network of tributary streams flowing from higher elevations, Wahkeena Creek is isolated from adjacent watersheds. This isolation has created a unique habitat for 8 species of aquatic insects that are only found in the Columbia River Gorge. No other watershed in the Pacific Northwest can yet claim this many endemic species. Two of these insects, the Wahkeena flightless stonefly (Nemoura wahkeena) and Anderson's caddisfly (Neothremma andersoni) are only found in the Wahkeena watershed.

Wahkeena Falls
Type: tiered
Height: 242 feet
Access: car or hiking
This fall along Wahkeena Creek can be seen from the Wahkeena picnic area across the Historic Highway. There are parking spaces at the picnic area. It is 0.5 miles west of Multnomah Falls. The Yakama Tribe word "wahkeena" means "most beautiful

 

The view from the top of the trail descending into Sheppers Dell is positively dizzying. This trail, nestled into the crevices and crags of the Columbia Gorge, is a narrow pathway.

Sheppards Dell Rock FormationsSheppards Dell Falls
Type: tiered
Height: upper falls 35-50 feet; lower falls 40-60 feet
Access: car or hiking
The two tiers of this falls can be seen from the bridge crossing at Sheppards Dell State Park, two miles west on the Historic Highway from Exit 28 off I-84. The lower falls is a horsetail formation and the upper falls is a plunge formation

 

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  • A former member
    A former member

    First timer, had a good time, what a great group.

    June 25, 2013

  • Patty M.

    What a really good time this was. Met and made new friends, got tips on techniques (thank you), the weather was perfect and lunch was fun with lively conversation. :) sigh...

    1 · June 23, 2013

    • melody m.

      yes it was wonderful spending time with everyone a lot of good information

      June 24, 2013

  • Nina W.

    I had a really great time taking photos and getting to meet everyone.

    June 24, 2013

  • Susan B.

    It was really great, enjoyed seeing everyone, picking up a few tips from others, the weather wasn't too bad either and all around it was a fabulous day.

    June 23, 2013

  • Dena C.

    It was great! I learned a lot, fun being with the others and out being in nature.

    June 23, 2013

  • Sharyn W.

    It was great. Actually the lighting was perfect, and the rain stayed minimal (I can say it now, yes?) Right now, 8 PM Sunday evening, it is pouring. That's OK! Sharyn PS Did I say pouring? YEAH getting heavier as I write.

    June 23, 2013

  • Corrin S.

    It was a great shoot, I met some new members. I gave a 4 because I have shot the falls so many times, and will shot them many more.

    June 23, 2013

  • Terri A.

    The Weather Gods cooperated! Had a wonderful time with a great group of talented ladies :)

    June 23, 2013

  • Jody E.

    I think I may keep going up the Gorge and pop over the mountain on the way home.

    June 23, 2013

  • Sharyn W.

    Hi Rae Lynn,
    I am up for it if you are up for it. Sharyn. PS: shall we be car-pooling?

    June 21, 2013

  • Heather S.

    Family came into town unexpectedly :(

    June 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'll be there.

    June 22, 2013

  • Corrin S.

    I'll be there rain or shine, I've finally found the time to attend a shoot again. If nothing else, maybe breakfast.

    June 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry ladies, still sick.

    June 22, 2013

  • Terri A.

    I'm in!

    June 21, 2013

  • melody m.

    Im in

    June 21, 2013

  • Andrea D.

    I'm sorry to cancel on this one, I just have so much to catch up on, including the Candela course. By the way, if you aren't doing the current class, I highly recommend that you take her next one. It's excellent.

    June 21, 2013

  • Dena C.

    I'm game in the rain!

    June 21, 2013

  • Rae Lynn N.

    Are you all up for this even if it rains Sunday? Please let me know.

    June 20, 2013

  • Sandra B.

    I will need to drive myself as I may not be able to manage doing the entire route.

    June 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am not much of a morning person so if I'm running late please don't wait for me. I am very familiar with the Gorge Scenic Highway and I will try to catch up.

    June 17, 2013

  • Namascar S.

    Will be attending the Lake Oswego event instead

    June 16, 2013

  • Meghavi S.

    if this was a saturday, you bet! I have a class till noon subdays. I tried to get into the tuesday evening series, but it was full so I had to sign up for sundays again
    :-(

    June 12, 2013

  • T

    If it was a Saturday rather than a Sunday.... I would be right there. Sorry.

    June 6, 2013

  • shawn h.

    I will just be returning from a camping trip...Have a great time...I will look forward to seeing the wonderful fall photographs...

    June 2, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry unable to make it this time...

    May 26, 2013

  • Sharyn W.

    I look forward to this outing. I love waterfalls. Thanks for the historical information!

    May 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Can't wait!!!

    May 22, 2013

  • Dena C.

    I'll be bringing a friend with me, who may want to join our group.

    2 · May 20, 2013

  • Patricia M.

    Sorry I will be out of town that weekend.

    May 18, 2013

  • Brenda H

    Oops. That was supposed to be a happy face :)

    May 17, 2013

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