On the first 90-degree day of 2017, I took the old Columbia River Highway to the Wahkeena Falls Trailhead, several miles west of Multnomah Falls. It felt like a great day to spend in the land of the Faerie.
There was the promise of lots of sunshine, a visit to Fairy Falls, a break at eerie Devils Rest and a pleasant loop to Franklin Ridge. And, if the leprechauns were willing, I might see some colorful wildflowers.
The Trail began by climbing to a foot bridge below Wahkeena Falls, then switchbacking up the cliffs to a nice viewpoint over the Gorge. For the next one-half mile the Trail steeply ascended the bottom of the slot canyon of Wahkeena Creek until reaching the much-photographed Fairy Falls.
This was an idyllic spot with an old bench and several mature cedar trees standing near the intersection of two streams. Above the Falls I soon hit the Devils Rest Trail and began a series of steep switchbacks leading to the top of the cliffs overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.
From there to Devils Rest, the highest point in the far Western Gorge, it was an easy stroll of less than one mile on a very enjoyable stretch of Gorge hiking. The understory of the mature forest of hemlocks and Douglas firs was open, unlike many locations on the Oregon side of the Gorge.
After an enjoyable snack at the viewless summit, I returned to a short path leading to an old road which led me to Multnomah Basin. The views from the overlook on Franklin Ridge were about as good as they get in the Columbia River Gorge. From there the sun began getting much hotter as I hiked the last four miles of the twelve-mile loop.
As I sometimes say – – – a day spent hiking in the wilderness is not subtracted from one’s allotted days on this old ball of mud.