- Level: easy (Beginner level: challenging)
- Length: 2.3 miles
- Elevation: 600 ft. gain
- Type: loop
- Open: all year
- Permit: n/a
- Drive time from Portland: 35m
- Google map: “latourell falls”
- Features: Columbia River Gorge, waterfalls, views
The only good thing about my stupid meniscus tear is getting reacquainted with the shorter, less difficult trails I haven’t done in years. Although, this one was plenty difficult for where I’m at right now. I didn’t quite have to take any breaks, but I was moving up those inclines at a snail’s pace. I mean absolutely nothing disparaging by this, it was perfect.
Bragging: I had the best luck this day. My car was the only one in the parking lot when I rolled up on what was one of the far too few days of sunshine we’ve had. I saw only four people on the trail until the very end when no less than thirty people were at Lower Latourell Falls taking pictures. When I got back up to my car, every parking spot was taken. This was a Tuesday! I adore the Gorge, but this is another reason I don’t do these trails very often.
From the trailhead:
There are two entry points from the parking lot. The lower one is all instant gratification as it goes directly to Lower Latourell Falls in not even a tenth of a mile. If you want to do the loop, skip this part, as it will actually be the end of your return trip. Take the paved path uphill to the left. You’ll start to climb immediately. Seriously, most of the 600 foot gain is all in the first 3/4-mile. There are no spur trails to be confused with. When you reach the upper falls, cross the bridge and continue on the last, short uphill. At about the 2.1 mile mark, you’ll loop back to Columbia River Hwy, super close to the parking area. However, you want to (carefully) cross the street to continue the loop. You’ll walk through a picnic area, turn right toward the water and follow the trail under the bridge to the grand lower falls. Fight for a photo then proceed up a tiny incline back to your car.