Apr 15, 2013

Waterfalls- Columbia River Gorge, A National Scenic Area!


Columbia River Gorge Oregon Ponytail Falls
Ponytail Falls

American north-western states are very popular for the gorgeous waterfalls. I haven't visited all these states but have seen few waterfalls in Oregon. One of the most beautiful area in Oregon is Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area. The gorge runs on the border of two states- Oregon and Washington. There are 77 waterfalls on Oregon side alone!! They are of different heights, volume, widths and shapes. No waterfall will disappoint you. Most of them are easily accessible and several other may need a short or a lengthy hike to reach.

Columbia River Gorge Oregon Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls
I drove all the way from Santa Clara, CA to the Memaloose Campground near Hood River, OR- around 1100KM in 12 hours including rest and food breaks. It was a crazy idea, I was dead tired by the end. I reached the campground late in the night which is the scariest part for me. Unfortunately, it wasn't a weekend and was almost deserted. Didn't bother to pitch the tent in the dark and that night I slept in the car itself. Next early morning, I started at 4:00AM so that I could get an even light for waterfalls photography. Whole day I hiked several miles and covered all the waterfalls in Gorge Waterfall Area as well as some road-side ones. Started with Multnomah Falls (620ft) which is the most visited and the highest in the area on the historic highway. I went up that steep paved trail which most of the visitors try. I went up a mile further upstream to Weisendanger Falls (50ft), reaching its base was a bit tricky. After coming down the steep trail, started hiking at Horsetail Falls (176ft), walked up to Ponytail Falls, passed through Oneonta gorge  and photographed Oneonta Falls, and at last the Tripple Falls (135ft) before returning to the parking lot. Next, Wahkeena Falls (242ft), which means "most beautiful"! And it is beautiful! From here another mile-long steep climb in the thick forest leads to Fairy Falls (30ft). It definitely is a fairy. Thin flow of Wahkeena Creek over the volcanic rocks looks fantastic. There is a bench right here for people to rest. A great spot for a break or a short picnic. After enjoying the beauty of the fairy I went to see the tall-and-slender Latourell Falls (249ft) plunging down. It was very hard to photograph this tall waterfalls when the sun was up in the sky. Hiked up another mile-long steep trail to se the Upper Latourell Falls (30ft) to end my day.

Columbia River Gorge Oregon Waterfalls

Next morning I started with Wahchella Falls (both tiers around 100ft) at 5:00AM in the Tanner Creek area. The hike was 1 mile long in a lush forest. One should not miss this place, it is very fascinating. Away from the the noise, early morning, I could hear only the thundering water. All around were moss covered rocks and cliffs amidst the lush forest. It was a slice of heaven on Earth. The waterfalls was in full force like an angry angel. I tried to get a descent picture, but all in vain ... every time the angry angel sprayed mist all over the lens. I packed up the gear, placed it in a dry place and enjoyed getting myself soaked in that mist. When I started feeling cold I just enjoyed watching the falls from a drier place.

Columbia River Gorge Oregon Oneonta falls
Oneonta Falls
Next, I drove up to Starvation Creek State Park for Starvation Creek Falls. Then hiked a short distance on the trail to Mt Defiance in a very dry-dusty-and-thick forest for thin yet interesting Cabin Creek Falls and Hole-in-the-wall Falls. Very secluded and wild place to be in. I was startled few times by the curious chipmunks when I was trying to shoot Hole-in-the-wall Falls. 

Coming back, I thought of hiking up to the Lower Oneonta Falls. Its a bit tricky hike, one has to wade through the knee high and then neck high (a short stretch) waters of Oneonta stream. Unfortunately, there were casualties and the ambulances were present blaring their sirens consecutively for three days when I tried to go. Disappointed, I had to give up. 

Next morning, I started for the most beautiful Eagle Creek area at 4:00AM. I was told that this parking lot gets full early morning itself. The park is popular for the long hike up to the Tunnel Falls. But, my interest was the aloof Goddess Metlako Falls (100ft) and the magnificent Punchbowl Falls (15ft). The 2-mile trail goes gradually uphill with narrow stretches on the slopes. Once at the waterfalls I never wanted to leave. People who hike up to the Tunnel Falls often miss the front view of the Punchbowl, the side trail is often missed. Then, drove around all along the historic-scenic highway and wondered how overflowing the parking lots were by afternoon. The narrow highway gets narrower when a long line of cars are parked all along ... I went to the Bridal Veil Falls which is on the far other side just to escape the crowd. I wasn't disappointed. It is another gorgeous waterfalls in the dark chasm!

Columbia River Gorge Oregon Waterfalls

Well, the list of waterfalls will go never-ending ... each waterfalls deserves a separate post! These beautiful waterfalls could make anybody a poet. I could have written something poetic in this post ... but, in whatever case, any poem wouldn't do any justice to the beauty of these waterfalls. Instead, I just listed their names in the order I visited them with pictures of some. The feeling of emotions I have when I am in front a waterfalls is very divine!! They make me eternally happy :)

Look for more posts on other waterfalls in Columbia River Gorge. They are so many and definitely cannot be crammed in one post. 
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Related articles-
More Waterfalls
Waterfalls of Oregon

This post is linked to Our World Tuesday and Nature Notes.

If you want pictures please ask me :)
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

38 comments:

  1. Wow! Awesome list of waterfalls.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in/2013/04/talakona-waterfalls-hidden-secret.html

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    1. Thanks! Not only the list, the waterfalls are awesome in my opinion :)

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  2. incredible sights isn't it? i've only been to multnomah, but upon seeing this i think i will have to plan for a longer road trip to cover much of the pacific northwest next time.

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    1. Yes, incredible! There are numerous wonderful waterfalls around! Plan on long trip :)

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  3. These are stunning photos! Amazing waterfalls!

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  4. These waterfalls are one of the things I forward to seeing when I move back to Oregon next month, Kusum! They are beautiful and your captures and fantastic!! Hope you have a lovely week!

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    1. Next month it must be heaven there! Swelling streams and still some snow left! Enjoy the scene Sylvia. And you have a lovely week!

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  5. tunning series of waterfall photos. Your perseverance was rewarded.

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    1. Stunning?! Yes they are! I can hike 20 miles a day to see a waterfalls!

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  6. Gorgeous, Kusum!
    Beautiful captures of waterfalls...
    Warm greetings from Holland,
    Anna

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  7. The waterfalls are all beautiful. Lovely photos, thanks for sharing your visit.

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  8. such gorgeous waterfalls and it's hard to pick a favourite.

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    1. Yes, they are all beautiful like angels!

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  9. so beautiful... something so awe inspiring standing near waterfalls... the sound, the breeze, the majesty of the flow.

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    1. Thank you Laura! Yes, waterfalls have very soothing sound, they spread freshness!

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  10. The sight of the falls so soothing in this summer here. :)

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    1. Yes! I know now what is summer here!

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  11. I wish I could have gone with you on this trip, the waterfalls are so lovely!

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    1. Yes, they are beautiful! Yeah, some day ...

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  12. Such beautiful shots of different falls!

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  13. Fantastic shots of the beautiful waterfalls and an interesting post.

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  14. I love waterfalls!!So many of them... WOW!!Thanks for sharing Kusum.Have a great day!

    Shantana

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  15. Ah, eventful day, eh?

    Excellent waterfall photographs!!!

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    1. Yes! The trip was great! Thanks Divya!

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  16. All wonderful waterfalls and so well photographed. I do hope they never dry up.

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    1. I hope too, these beautiful angels will never leave!

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