Elowah Falls Adventure

Have you been searching for a romantic place to take your partner? Or maybe you just need to get away for the afternoon? I have outlined how to get to some of the most breathtaking locations in the Northwest where you can go, meditate, think, have a nice picnic lunch, and be one with whatever you need to be one with.

Elowah Falls – 25 minute drive from Portland Oregon – 0.8 mile hike from the parking lot

  • Latitude: 45.6124
  • Longitude: -122.00428
  • No fees to park
  • Driving Directions

    From Portland, drive I-84 eastward to Exit 35, marked Dodson. Turn left at the stop sign, then immediately turn right onto the frontage Road. Drive east on the frontage road 2.1 miles and turn right into the trailhead parking lot. The lot will be just before the road re-enters the highway.

    From the east, take Exit 37, signed Warrendale. Head west on Warrendale Road for about 1/4 mile to a stop sign. Turn left, go under the freeway and turn left again on to Frontage Road. Drive 1/4 mile east to the trailhead parking lot just before the road re-enters the highway.

This is a beautiful waterfall, especially in the spring. Take a water bottle with a built in filter with you on this hike. You will thank yourself for it later. Today the falls were not too big  but the weather in July in this area is excellent. It is a 0.8 mile hike on a well established trail to get to these falls and you are rewarded with some beautiful views to prep you for your meditation. Many families with small children were able to get there without problem so even if you have some concerns about hiking the more treacherous trails of the gorge, this is not one of them. Once you get to the falls, take a moment to fill your filtered water bottle with fresh water from the pool below the falls. As you pass over the bridge in front of the falls you will see a large rock off to the left. A trail goes around the right and left of it. Take the one on the left because it is a little easier to get up to the top of the rock. Atop the rock you are about 60 to 80 feet above the people below and you may have the top of the rock to yourself. Be careful not to get too close to the edge. It is a long way down. Take your time to sit and reflect in preparation for meditation. Take a drink of the water you collected below and bask in the natural beauty. Enjoy your meditation session.

Upper McChord Creek Falls 

25 minute drive from Portland Oregon – 1.2 mile hike from the parking lot.

  • Latitude: 45.6124
  • Longitude: -122.00428
  • No fees to park
  • Driving Directions

    From Portland, drive I-84 eastward to Exit 35, marked Dodson. Turn left at the stop sign, then immediately turn right onto the frontage Road. Drive east on the frontage road 2.1 miles and turn right into the trailhead parking lot. The lot will be just before the road re-enters the highway.

    From the east, take Exit 37, signed Warrendale. Head west on Warrendale Road for about 1/4 mile to a stop sign. Turn left, go under the freeway and turn left again on to Frontage Road. Drive 1/4 mile east to the trailhead parking lot just before the road re-enters the highway.

This set of waterfalls is above the Elowah Falls and you will park in the same place. If you set aside enough time you will be able to enjoy both of these falls on the same day. Just follow the trail signs. Spectacular views are had on this hike, from the towering trees in the forest to the sweeping view of the gorge, your hike will be a great preparation for meditation. Once you reach the stream, if the water is low like it is in the mid to late summer, you can hop on rocks all the way out to the ledge of the waterfall where you can sit and meditate. I sat there long enough to irritate some of the photographers along the trail who waited for me to get up and leave, but if you arrive early enough in the day you will probably be alone. I don’t think I would attempt to get out to the ledge when it is slippery during or after rain or in the spring. Too dangerous. Enjoy your meditation session.

Hamilton Mountain Trail Lookout

25 minute drive from Portland – 5.5 mile hike round trip (up and back)

  • Latitude: 45.63238
  • Longitude: -122.02042
  • The trailhead is within Beacon Rock State Park which, as of 2012 requires $10 day Discover pass or $30 annual.
  • http://www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Hamilton_Mountain_Trailhead       for more information on the trail
  • Driving Directions

    From Portland, take I-84 East and exit at Cascade Locks. Cross the Columbia River to Washington State over the Bridge of the Gods (toll required). Take a left on Rt 14 and go seven miles. Watch for Beacon Rock – it will tower in front of you as you approach the state park, which is near mile marker 35. Turn right into the campground and follow it uphill a short ways and take your first right into the small trailhead parking lot.

    From Vancouver, take Rt 14 35 miles east. As you near the state park you will begin to see Beacon Rock. Turn left into the campground and follow it uphill a short ways and take your first right into the small trailhead parking lot.

  

This hike is a little more difficult and can seem like a longer hike than it actually is because you are pretty much just ascending once you pass the pool of winds (which is cool – so you should stop there and enjoy it as well). It is very much worth your effort though. Not many are willing to take the time and effort to get to this point. Hamilton Mountain trail continues on past this lookout, but the lookout where this picture of e was taken is the one I am focusing on. Talk about a view!  You will likely be in solitude here. It is a very large overlook and you will not be bothered by other hikers depending on where you sit. Be sure to take a towel or lightweight cushion to sit on here because ground is rocky. You will have no problem seeing the smallness of yourself in the intricate quilt of life here on this overlook. The Columbia River Gorge is one of my favorite places on earth, and this is one of the best views of the gorge you can possibly get. Happy meditating!