On a cool and drizzly day we decided to hike to Elowah Falls and Upper McCord Creek Falls in the Columbia River Gorge only a couple of miles from the Bonneville Dam. It’s a three-mile hike with 800 feet of elevation gain to two little-visited waterfalls.
From the Trailhead it was a little over one mile to 100-foot Upper McCord Creek Falls.
After a series of switchbacks the trail followed a railed ledge blasted out of the face of the cliff. It’s not a trail for the weak of heart, especially in the winter when it can be covered in ice. After the ledge rounded the side of the cliff, the top of Elowah Falls came into view. Soon after the double waterfalls of McCord Creek Falls were reached. It’s a very pleasant setting with views across the Columbia River to Hamilton and Table Mountains. Already some of the early wildflowers were forming hanging gardens along the cliffs.
Returning three-quarter mile down the cliffs, it was less than one-half mile to 289-foot Elowah Falls along a fairly level, well-maintained trail. Located in a beautiful area, the torrent of water poured off the lip of a high cliff into a natural bowl. It’s one of the prettier waterfalls in the Gorge. And, for a special treat, a few delicate calypso orchids (fairy slippers) were in bloom along the trail.