The Oregon National Caves Monument is one of the only marble caves in the world. The caves are estimated to be 1-2 million years old. They were discovered in the late 1800's and have seen their share of visitors since. The closest town is Cave Junction. Even though it's a mere 19 miles, it takes over 40 minutes to drive there on the windy road. In order to view the caves, you need to purchase a ticket for a guided tour. I predict that our ranger tour guide was a newbie.... or a robot. He was very rehearsed and his jokes seemed automatic without any character or inflection behind them. He was nice. So we walked through the caves in a group of 20 or so. There are lighting fixtures in place so that you can see the different formations. The tour guide will explain to you how to identify different cave structures. The tour is about 45 minutes long and filled with fun facts.
After the hike, walk around the surrounding trails a bit. There a great view over the Siskiyou Mountains. Also, check out the Chateau. It was built in 1934 and is still a beautiful building, and still a lodging option to this day!
I recommend hitting this spot up if you're on your way to the Redwoods. That was how we did it. Otherwise, it's not really close to anything.
Three unique waterfalls make up this easy hike along the Lewis River. From the Lower River Falls trailhead, take advantage of a few spots for different views of the falls (I think the best of the 3). You are able to walk around on top of the falls with minimal danger. After exploring this falls, continue on the trail through the campground. There will be branching trails, just keep right along the river. The next falls will be Middle Lewis River Falls.
When we came upon the middle falls, there was a trio of hippies swimming here. They told us that you could also snorkel there. It was a chillier summer day and we weren't prepared for a swim but I would like to try snorkeling here. As you continue to meander on the path, you will reach Upper Lewis River Falls. Return the way you came.
I had driven past this spot dozens of time before entering this gorge. It was brought to my attention by my mom who had seen a picture on Pinterest. I was very pleased to learn that the beautiful photo was taken less than an hour from Portland and that it was easy to do (if you don't mind getting a little wet!). You need to don water sandals or shoes for this hike because the only way into the gorge is to walk up the river. The reason I don't consider this hike "easy," is because you need to wade in waist deep water and you need to climb over a large log dam in the beginning. We did this hike in August and the water was still very cold. After you traverse the dam and wade through the water, you will find yourself at the spot pictured above. There are some places to sit but though whole area is pretty wet. You can also swim at the base of the waterfall. On hot summer weekends you can bet on crowds.
After this mini hike, we hiked one of my favorite trails to date: Horsetail falls to Triple Falls to Franklin Ridge to Multnomah Falls.
To date, this is my favorite hike in the Gorge. The hike starts at Horsetail Falls. You hike up and behind Ponytail Falls. Then, you enter the forest and begin some switchbacks. There is a suspension bridge that passes over the Oneonta Gorge. We did this hike the same day we had visited Oneonta, so it was neat to then be on top of where the waterfall we were just playing under begins. The hike continues for about another 30 to 40 minutes.
The next waterfall you come to is Triple Falls. There is a shorter option to hike to Triple Falls from a direct trailhead. Triple Falls is great because you can sit on top of it to eat lunch (I did this with Sarah Smart when she visited me in 2011). There are pools of water so you can have your feet wet without the rest of you. After crossing Triple Falls, continue hiking for a few more miles following the river. You'll pass the river again and continue to hike up minimally graded switchbacks. Continue onto Franklin Ridge.
This trail joins to Multnomah Falls. It passes by a few more waterfalls (Ecola and Weisendanger) before you come to the top of Multnomah. When Aaron and I hiked the trail, we didn't see anyone from the time we hiked past Triple Falls until the top of Multnomah. This distance was about 5 or 6 miles. Once you reach the bottom of Multnomah Falls, you'll have to walk 2 miles on the road to get back to your car. A more convenient option would be to have two cars and to leave one at Multnomah before you start (or just have your really nice boyfriend run back to the car while you wait at Multnomah Falls people watching. I prefer this option). I really enjoyed every part of this trail. It is diverse and keeps changing so you never get sick of the scenery. I can't wait to do this one again!
We stumbled upon this hike after a failed attempt to hike Cooper Spur on the NE side of Mt Hood. The access road to Cooper Spur was closed late summer in 2013 because hundreds of trees had fallen down from a fire that had happened. The trees had stood dead for years after the fire and finally fell all at once. We stopped at the Cloud Cap Inn (where we learned about the fallen trees) and asked the bartender where to hike. She told us about Tamanawas Falls and provided us with a map to take with us. We stopped and bought blackberries from a local farm and drove to our new destination. The hike is very easy. It starts by crossing over a large log bridge.
After crossing the bridge, keep right. Continue to follow signs for Tamanawas Trail. You will cross a creek again. You will come to a spot where there are massive, exposed rocks. In not too much time, you will see the falls. You can walk behind it: there is plenty of room under there. I read that right of the falls, you can climb up over to reach the amphitheater behind the falls.
I moved to the Pacific Northwest in August of 2012. I quickly identified myself as a hiker. I want to document my experiences so that I can refer to them for myself and others to provide the best hiking experience. I also hope to learn more about hiking from others comments and recommendations.