We were on the Northern California and Oregon Coast for the past 2 weeks. It had been either rainy or windy, or both most of the time and didn’t appear to want to let up. Although we enjoyed being there and love feasting on seafoods, it’s time to move on. After all our home has wheels.
We have about 2 more weeks to spend before checking into our campground in Cochrane, Alberta (Read about our plan in the Canadian Rockies here). David found us a last minute deal on Alaska cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line from the Port of Seattle. So we traveled from the coast to the eastern side of the Cascade Range in Washington, to escape the rain and to be within striking distance of Seattle.
On our way up to Washington, we stayed for two nights in Memaloose State Park on the Oregon side of Columbia River Gorge. We had one day to visit the gorge area, but didn’t have an early start. So all we did was visiting Bonneville Dam and doing one short hike.
The original plan was to hike to Elowah Falls. However, when we arrived at the trailhead, we saw a sign indicating that trail to Elowah Falls is closed due to a landslide. We did hike to the spot where the trail was washed down the side of the mountain to a creek below. It looked like the park crew was in the process of cutting a new trail to rejoin the old trail further down switchbacks. We hiked back to the trail junction and headed toward Upper McCord Creek Falls.
Trail to Upper McCord Creek Falls was a relatively easy trail to hike. Despite being wet in part, it had decent traction and wasn’t very muddy. Most of the trail was under tree canopy until we got to the section where the trail was on an open ledge of a cliff face as it entered McCord Creek. This section was a highlight of this hike.
The guard rail along the trail made this section neither scary nor dangerous, as long as you stay on the trail and be mindful of where you are. From here we could see Elowah Falls in the center of a verdant U-shape cliff. The rock face next to the trail was full of mosses, ferns, and plants. I think we must have spent more time looking at the rock wall than the gorge view.
A few minutes later, Upper McCord Creek Falls came into view. The trail continued on to the creek above the falls, our turnaround point. It took us a total of about one hour and forty minutes of a leisurely walk to return to the parking lot.
Note for Elowah Falls Trail: It’s a good idea to bring hiking poles and boots with ankle support on the trail to Elowah Falls, especially when it has recently been wet. Some sections of the trail was a bit steep and full of ankle-flipping rocks.