Many of the waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge are visible from the road or require extremely short hikes to get to them. Others require much longer hikes. Upper Latourell Falls is right square in the middle. It cannot be directly viewed from the road, but the hike is not too long, only about 3/4 of a mile one way.
Even so, parts of the hike to the falls are steep. Just think…as you’re on the trail to Upper Latourell Falls, you’ve got to hike right up near the top of Latourell Falls, which is 200+ feet. After you’ve climbed this rather steep section, it does get easier. The hike on the way up is the hard part. Coming back down, not as much. Along the way, you may enjoy many different wildflowers if they’re in season. Corydalis and Bleeding Hearts were blooming profusely when in visited in late April 2008.
1) The trail to Latourell Falls and Upper Latourell Falls is found on the western-most portion of the Columbia Gorge Scenic Road (off of I-84 east of Portland). The parking lot for Latourell Falls is very easy to find.
2) From here, if you want to access the Upper Falls, take the left trail, which starts heading up instead of down. From this trail, you will get some great views of Latourell Falls.
3) Once you reach Upper Latourell Falls, it appears that you can continue looping on this trail. I tried, but gave up after a while and connecting back onto the original trail by crossing the river on a tree (which was easier than it sounds).
Where in the World is Upper Latourell Falls?: map