Washington Hikes: Columbia River Trail

During our recent overnight on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains, we spent an afternoon exploring the history of the area’s petrified forest and a morning hiking from the Columbia Gorge cliffs down to the Columbia River.

We awoke to gorgeous views of the sunrise lighting up the cliffs of the Columbia Gorge. It was chilly outside so we took advantage of our ability to alternate between taking photos on our private balcony and popping back inside to warm up. The cliffs were absolutely stunning in bright reds and oranges before turning golden in the light.

After a sufficient amount of coffee and hot tea, we set out for the Columbia River via the Columbia River Trail. This steep, out-and-back hike through the sage brush and down to the water afforded panoramic views of the cliffsides and gorge, and we ended up having the hour-and-a-half hike all to ourselves.

Aside from a couple pullovers on outcroppings to take pictures, it was an easy and uneventful hike toward the water. Several signs offered warnings about rattlesnakes that thankfully were nowhere to be seen given the brisk morning temperatures.

Near the water we found the remnants of the homestead that was back flooded when the dams were built. The old appliances were neat, but we were especially intrigued by the car. Still mostly intact, you could just make out its original appearance under the layers of graffiti.

It was quiet and peaceful along the riverbank – the water was crystal clear and the sun was continuing its journey overhead, warming everything up. We enjoyed it as long as we could before mentally preparing for the uphill climb to the top of the cliffs to load our car and journey home.

Overall a peaceful, fun, and low-key weekend away!

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