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A gorge-ous gateway to waterfall hiking
A single-plunge waterfall cascades over a gray rock cliff partly covered with bright yellow-green moss and framed by tree foliage.
Latourell Falls is unique among the Gorge’s waterfalls because it takes a straight, uninterrupted plunge to the bottom. | Photo by Cambrie Juarez, PDXtoday
What is your idea of a perfect waterfall hike in the Columbia River Gorge? If you said under a few miles with gentle ups and downs, scenic overlooks, aromatic forests, and, of course, majestic waterfalls (the more the merrier) — then the Latourell Falls Loop is a trail you’re destined to fall in love with. Here are some details to help you plan your visit.

Quick facts

  • Starting point: Latourell Falls Trailhead
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 2.4 miles
  • Route type: Loop
  • Elevation gain: 620 ft
  • Trail surface: Dirt and ~0.3 mile of uneven pavement
  • Wheelchair accessible: Only at the trailhead and nearby viewpoint
  • Open: Year-round
  • Dog friendly: Yes, on leash

Brief overview

Parking is free in the small, paved lot at the trailhead. There are also restrooms and a few picnic tables. Whether you take the trail clockwise or counterclockwise, you’ll get immediate views of Latourell Waterfall as it plunges 224 ft over a dramatic wall of columnar basalt. The trail follows Latourell Creek into a small canyon where you’ll find Upper Latourell Falls.

A slideshow of images from a forested hike showing the underside of a vaulted bridge, wild blueberries, Columbia lily, an arched maple tree, and waterfalls.

Keep your eyes peeled for Columbia lily, wild blueberries and salmonberries, and a living archway.


Photos by Cambrie Juarez, PDXtoday

Why you should try it

With under 1,000 ft in elevation gain and often uncrowded conditions, this is an ideal introductory trail to the Gorge’s waterfall corridor. Two picturesque falls, one panoramic viewpoint, multiple footbridge crossings, lush vegetation (including seasonal wildflowers and berries), geological wonders, and trailhead amenities make for an unforgettable if not lengthy hike.

Pro tips

You can hike the loop either direction, but going clockwise (starting up the steps near the picnic tables) means you’ll get most of the elevation gain knocked out right away. Watch for stinging nettles leaning into the trail. Park at Lower Guy Talbot State Park if the trailhead lot is full.

Let us know

Did you try this hike? Do you know of one we should check out? Send us your thoughts and recommendations — or check out our other monthly hiking guides.
Monday, June 10
  • “Monet to Matisse: French Moderns” | Monday, June 10-Sunday, Sept. 15 | Times vary | Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave., Portland | $0-$25 | See 60 modernist masterpieces by Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and others on loan from the Brooklyn Museum.
  • Paranormal Cirque II | Monday, June 10 | 7:30 p.m. | Vancouver Mall, 8700 NE Vancouver Mall Dr., Vancouver | $20-$65 | A night of aerial acrobatics, illusions, and mysterious creatures awaits you at this “fusion between circus, theatre, and cabaret” under the orange striped big-top tent.
  • 2024 Bloom Tour | Monday, June 10-Tuesday, June 11 | Times vary | Locations vary, Portland | Free | It’s the grand finale for these incredible works of floral art — make time to stop and smell them before they fade away.
Tuesday, June 11
  • Hillsboro Tuesday Night Market | Tuesday, June 11 | 5-8:30 p.m. | Main Street between First and Third Avenues, Hillsboro | Free | Listen to live music, browse local art, eat food, and peruse the classic car show — or cruise on down to show off your vintage ride.
  • Reading: “Distilled in Washington” by Becky Garrison | Tuesday, June 11 | 6-7 p.m. | Rose City Book Pub, 1329 NE Fremont St., Portland | Free | Hear from the author on how “the business of liquor has inspired both trouble and innovation,” paired with a whiskey tasting.
Wednesday, June 12
  • SUMMER/SETS: Rooftop Sunset Party | Wednesday, June 12 | 7-10 p.m. | The Society Hotel, 203 NW Third Ave., Portland | Free | Raise a glass to being halfway through the week at this social mixer with drink specials, music, pop-up vendors, fresh air, and city views.
Click here to have your event featured.
Plan Ahead
Mark your calendars for Portland Arts & Lectures’ 40th season
Literary Arts' Senior Artistic Director Amanda Bullock announces the 2024–25 season of Portland Arts & Lectures at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
These events connect readers and writers of all ages in a spirit of intellectual curiosity and engagement. | Photo by Andie Petkus
Since 1984, Portland Arts & Lectures has brought celebrated writers, artists, and thinkers to our community to discuss their work and the trajectory of contemporary culture. This upcoming milestone season features an impressive lineup, including:
  • Amy Tan
  • Abraham Verghese
  • Timothy Egan
  • Masha Gessen
  • Emily Wilson
Join one of the largest and longest-running live audiences for literature in the country by subscribing to the series (hint: it’s the only way to guarantee a seat).
News Notes
  • The early-warning system that sends alerts ahead of impending earthquakes now has eyes in the sky. ShakeAlert’s network of ground-based seismic sensors are great at detecting small- to medium-strength quakes, while the new inclusion of GPS and satellite data will make it better at monitoring quakes above magnitude 7.0. (KGW)
  • Wake up and indulge in a little “bougie brunch” and alcoholic punch at Harvest Moon Sangria Bar. Billed as Oregon’s first sangria bar, the new business in Tigard serves breakfast sandwiches, shareable appetizers, and flights of sangria so you can sample a range of flavors, from seasonal to traditional. (The Oregonian/Oregon Live)
Real Estate
  • A home designed by famed Oregon architect Pietro Belluschi is on the market. The 1941 modern home in the Forest Park neighborhood features an L-shape, vaulted wood ceilings, original oak flooring and clear cedar walls, and an updated kitchen and bathrooms. It’s listed for $1.8 million. (The Oregonian/Oregon Live)
  • The end of an era is drawing near for Jaciva’s Bakery and Chocolatier. The Southeast Portland shop will close on Saturday, June 29 after experiencing declines related to the pandemic and local crime, ending nearly 40 years of business. The building on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard is for sale. (KOIN)
  • OHSU plans to lay off more than 500 workers as the institution’s “expenses, including supplies and labor costs, continue to outpace increases in revenue,” president Danny Jacobs said. This comes on the heels of an announcement signaling OHSU’s and Legacy Health’s plans to merge under the name OHSU Health. (Willamette Week + KGW)
  • Dalton Knecht, one of the best shooters available in the draft, recently had a solo workout for the Trail Blazers. Will the team use their No. 7 pick on him? Locked On host Mike Richman and Keandre Ashley of Hoop Intellect talk about what makes Knecht a lottery prospect.
  • Woman-owned business Royal Highnies uses airy, 400-thread count Pima cotton to create luxury loungewear for the whole family. It all began with boxer shorts, and now, trademarked Highnies are sold in over 500 retailers — but you can snag free hats for Father’s Day exclusively online with code ROYALDADDY24.*
  • What happens when you combine German engineering with the world’s most trusted name in hearing care? The biggest breakthrough in hearing technology in more than a decade: the Horizon hearing aid. (This is not your grandpa’s hearing device.) See if you qualify for a free trial.*
Grow your tree knowledge + appreciation
The central chamber in the World Forestry Center is a vaulted, multiple-story space designed to resemble an old growth forest. A stuffed black bear, trees, and fallen logs are in the space, as well as educational signs and displays.
The World Forestry Center has roots dating back to the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition when the world’s largest log cabin was built to showcase the timber industry. | Photo by Cambrie Juarez, PDXtoday
Washington Park, the “crown jewel of Portland,” has many facets. Within the bounds of this 410-acre space, visitors can meet exotic animals, tour the country’s longest-running rose test garden, and learn about the silent sentinels bearing witness to it all — trees.

At the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, two floors of interactive exhibits demonstrate the science behind trees and forests, the importance of protecting them, and the connections between trees and people.

On the ground level, a segment of trunk from a tree estimated to have sprouted in 1323 is on display, lending fresh perspective to the meaning of longevity, while an enormous tractor demonstrates advances in the modern logging industry.

Upstairs, exhibits explain ties between trees and world cultures. The museum’s new exhibit — “Tree People” — recently opened, portraying the forest-based customs and sacred beliefs practiced by people in rural Finland, Estonia, and East Karelia through photographs and stories.
The Buy
Cool off on National Iced Tea Day with refreshing peach iced tea from Oliver Pluff & Co. Plus, you can purchase by the pound.
And your preferred way to walk is...
A neighborhood sidewalk surrounded by trees, shrubs, and flowers and walk-up entryways. Cars are parked on the street.

No need for hiking boots with sidewalks this pristine.


Photo by Cambrie Juarez, PDXtoday

Last week, we asked readers if they would rather take an urban walk or wander a rural trail. Over 39% responded in favor of the former — so you may see more city walks featured in our content in the future.
The Wrap
Cambrie Juarez headshot Today’s edition by:
From the editor
Summer weather is here and I’m trading indoor dining for patio eating as often as possible. Last week, I visited Dirty Pretty’s redesigned, Palm Springs-vibes patio to try its new menu of bites and beverages. My top pick? The Fresca Granita (think: an elevated slushy that tastes like the sun-sweetened heart of a ripe watermelon).
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