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Hike Options

Cape Lookout

(5.2 miles round trip)

An easy path through old-growth spruce and hemlock leads along a magnificent rock finger jutting into the Pacific Ocean, while migrating gray whales, sea lions and sea birds frolic on the shore. Your trail starts on the south side of the ridge, dropping into the forest before meandering to northern views of Cape Meares at a point just a mile down the path. The trail then skirts the edge of the 400-foot cliffs on the southern cape and ends at a surprisingly small viewpoint. Views are limited to the south, toward impressive Cape Kiwanda, rich with sea birds. Total elevation gain is about 400 feet.

Eagle Creek

(6.5 miles round trip)

If you could pick only one Columbia Gorge Trail to hike, this would likely be it. Eagle Creek samples the best scenery the gorge has to offer while managing a fairly friendly pace. On the long, winding path to Wahtum Lake in the Columbia Wilderness, you pass half a dozen waterfalls, any one of which would be worth a substantial hike on its own. Two miles into the trek you will pass the aptly named Punchbowl Falls. Continue on to the spectacular High Bridge, which spans a deep gorge on the creek. Total elevation gain is about 800 feet. This trail is rated moderate to difficult.

Cascade Head

(5.5 miles round trip)

The trail begins and continues through a 9,600-acre wildlife laboratory. Along the trail, you will pass spectacular rocks jutting as high as 1,800 feet above the Pacific Ocean and several streams cascading (hence the name) into the ocean from spectacular, smooth gorges. The path, which runs through the Nature Conservancy Preserve, makes an excellent day hike through magnificent stands of spruce and views across the Salmon River estuary. The trail offers numerous spectacular views of Cape Kiwanda and Cape Lookout to the north and breathtaking oceanic views to the south.

Triangulation Peak

(4.4 miles round trip)

This path starts high (4,700 feet) and stays high, winding through wildflower meadows past Spire Rock, an impressive hunk of basalt. A side trail leads you to Boca Cave, a large cavern, if you would like an incredible rest stop. The final stretch is a leg-sapper. Keep at it. At its summit Triangulation Peak boosts you just high enough (5,400 feet) for outstanding views of the Cascade Range (including Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood, the Sisters, and Three Finger Jack) and the Jefferson Wilderness area. This trail is rated moderate.

Opal Creek

(7.1 miles round trip)

Opal Creek's ancient forest, on the edge of the Bull of the Woods Wilderness, remains one of North Santiam River's "must do" hikes. The trail starts out at Jawbone Flats, a well-preserved 1929 mining camp. The trail crosses Gold Creek on a 60-foot-high bridge. It then skirts dramatic cliffs above the Little Santiam River, and winds through old growth grove as impressive as any found farther up stream. After the two-mile mark, the trail leads to a 30-foot cascade pouring into a deep green pool. Continue on the trail to experience spectacular views of Opal Pool's scenic gorge. This trail is rated moderate.

Jefferson Park Ridge

(9.8 miles round trip)

This is one of the premier day hikes in Oregon. Pyramid Butte offers some of the most stunning alpine scenery in the Northwest. The first mile of the trail begins with a 400-foot vertical climb to the summit of Pyramid Butte (elevation 6,095 feet). Expect good views from Pyramid Butte, but the trail does not end there. It moves on, leaving the forest, and climbs into open alpine country, breaking into amazing views of the entire Jefferson Park area on Park Ridge (elevation 7,018 feet). The trail then drops two miles into Jefferson Park, with beautiful, wildflower-rich meadows and stunning views surrounding Russell, Park, Rock, Scout, and Bay Lakes. This trail is rated difficult.

Angel's Rest

(4.8 miles round trip)

Angel's Rest is an exposed bluff on the Western end of the Columbia River Gorge. This summit is characterized by a long, rocky spine surrounded on three sides by cliffs, boasting a striking 270 degree view! At the summit, you get great vantages of Beacon Rock, Silver Star Mountain and many other landmarks. The real draw, however, is the perspective of the river below - like you're on a balcony over a great auditorium. Its near-2000 foot prominence, and its proximity to the Columbia River give you the false sensation that you could dive from the summit to the water below! The trail passes two waterfalls along the way, an overhead view of Coopey Falls and a quick detour to smaller Upper Coopey Falls. This trail is moderate.