Latourell Falls and Sherrard Point 7/14/2017 (#37)
Health issues and visitors slowed down my hiking this past couple of weeks, but we ventured out again to the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, with our visiting son, to an easy waterfall hike and an iconic viewpoint.
Latourell Falls is one of the westernmost waterfalls in waterfall alley of the Columbia River Gorge. The lower falls is easily seen from the old highway; the short trail down to its base was crowded on this beautiful Friday afternoon in July. We chose to hike the easy 2.4 mile loop (500′) which took us to views of both upper and lower falls, and an overlook of the Washington side of the gorge. Most of the usual forest flowers were past, or dusty remnants, with the exception of hedge nettle along the lower part of the trail in pleasing tall swaths, and bright yellow arnica at the upper falls.
We then backtracked along the old highway to Larch Mountain Road, and drove the 13 winding miles through forest lined intermittently with orange tiger lilies, purple foxglove, white cow parsnip and yellow wooly weed. Sherrard Point, the view point at the top of Larch Mountain is a short (0.3 miles) walk up a wooded path that was lined with many forest flowers. At the top, the cream puff cascade peaks were all floating in the distance, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams to the North, Mt. Hood directly to the south, and Mt. Jefferson a bit farther south in the haze.