View of Latourell Falls from the trail leading to Upper Latourell Falls (April 2008)
The Columbia River Gorge is widely known for its spectacular set of waterfalls. Multnomah Falls is the most visited of the falls, and Latourell Falls is probably up there also. Latourell Falls is at the western edge of the set of widely known waterfalls.
I have to admit I like Latourell Falls more than the taller Multnomah Falls. Multnomah Falls is powerful, and you are very close to the falls, but with Latourell Falls, you can get very close. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’d want to stand under a 250′ waterfall, but you’re only a hundred or so feet from the falls. You can also climb up to the crest of the falls, though the hike is pretty steep (logically). The photo in this picture is taken from the trail leading to the top of the falls. That trail continues onto Upper Latourell Falls.
- Take the exit off of I-84 toward the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Trail, and head west along the highway. Latourell Falls is west of Bridal Veil Falls. If you’re heading west, the parking area will be on your left.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: Roadside, though you can hike to the base
View of falls from the base
Where in the World is Latourell Falls?
Upper Latourell Falls in April 2008
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 terribly long either.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Length of Hike: 2.25 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Upper Latourell Falls?