Cape Falcon

Finally, I went on a hike without a waterfall!  I actually found Cape Falcon by googling “hikes near Cannon Beach” and choosing a moderately difficult one.  It was my dog Kiki’s first time at the ocean and her first real hike with me so I didn’t want to start her out on something too difficult.

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Absolutely beautiful trail reminded me of the Olympic National Rainforest with all the ferns.

About a mile in to the trail is a fork in which the left path goes down to the campground and a beach.  The right path continues for another mile and a half to Cape Falcon.  On the way up I decided to head to the Cape first and catch the beach on the way back.  I saw a group of about 20 people on a mushroom picking guided hike, which was pretty cool.  I don’t think I would trust myself to identify which mushrooms are safe to eat, but I think it would be fun to pick mushrooms on a hike!

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First view of Neahkahnie Mountain from the trail.

It is about 2.5 miles to Cape Falcon and maybe 500 feet elevation gain, but starts to get EXTREMELY muddy halfway through.  Most of the trail is exposed tree roots with mud puddles in between, which would be fine if I had worn waterproof shoes (I just wore my Nikes), but for a 7 pound Maltese, each tree root was an obstacle for her to jump over.  She also hates getting her paws wet or muddy (I know she’s a spoiled princess) so we went pretty slow for most of the trail.

Cape Falcon has great views of Neahkahnie Mountain and the Pacific Ocean waves crashing against the cliffs.  You can sit and have a snack and walk around to get different ocean views in all directions.

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This is facing the direction opposite of Neahkahnie Mountain.  Views all around!!

On the way back down, I decided to take the route to beach access because Kiki had never seen the beach before.  It is a little over a quarter mile to the beach from the sign on the trail.  It was not a crowded beach because I don’t think many people know about it.  There is also a campground right by the beach that I’d love to stay at one day.  I have never been beach camping but it sounds lovely to sleep listening to the ocean.  I did not spend much time at the beach because it turns out my silly dog hates water and would not even walk in the wet sand…

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Some surfers at the beach, but otherwise quite private and not crowded.

Quick Facts

  • ~5 miles round trip, ~1000 feet elevation gain total
  • Beach access
  • Good parking, no pass needed

Pros

  • Not too crowded
  • Quiet, lesser known beach
  • Beautiful rainforest-like scenery with views of the ocean

Cons

  • Extremely muddy, uneven trail
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Umbrella & Sahale Falls

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Umbrella Falls

After the Columbia Gorge fires last year, I have felt some serious waterfall withdrawals.  Luckily, there are plenty in Oregon and Washington if you’re willing to drive a little further.  This past weekend I looked through a book on Waterfalls in Oregon and chose Umbrella Falls because (a) I have never been and (b) it is less than 2 hours away.

The Umbrella Falls Trail (#667) starts in the Mt. Hood Meadows parking lot.  I was disappointed when I saw the waterfall was only 1/4 miles into the trail because I like ending my hikes with waterfalls as a reward. I lucked out because surprise: walking just over a mile past Umbrella Falls is Sahale Falls! Two waterfalls in one hike sounds pretty good to me!

Umbrella Falls reminded me of Ramona Falls in that it cascades and maintains contact with a rocky surface rather than plunges over a cliff.  There is a cute little footbridge over the stream too.  It is so picturesque that I stumped across a photo shoot for a wedding. IMG_0614.JPGThere is a fork in the trail a little bit past Umbrella Falls.  If you want to see Sahale Falls, follow the direction on the sign and go right.  The sign says the Falls are in a mile, but according to my Apple Watch, it is a little further.

It is very easy to miss the turn off to Sahale Falls (in fact, I missed it the first time and added about a mile to my hike before a kind stranger redirected me).  The turn off will be on your right and you will have to scramble down a very steep and dusty path to get a good view of the falls.  I had to slide on my bottom and grab onto tree trunks.  This is why I do not recommend taking small children or a dog on this hike, although I saw two German Shepherds make it down okay (my tiny Maltese would not be so agile). 

The base of the falls is very Gorge-esque.  There is a pool at the bottom of the falls which cascades into smaller waterfalls as the stream continues.  There are rocks you can sit on to eat a snack or take photos of the Falls.  You can even wade or swim in the pool if you do not mind the ice cold water.

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Sahale Falls

I turned around after taking several photos of Sahale Falls and unfortunately most of the elevation gain on this hike is on the way back, once you’re nice and tired.  I gained about 700 feet in 2 miles, so it really wasn’t that bad.  Overall I walked 4.5 miles and gained a total of 1000 feet, but I did add almost one extra mile by passing Sahale Falls and turning around.  The trail does continue past Sahale Falls and who knows what comes next?  It might be worth exploring if you would like a longer hike.

A quick recap of the Umbrella Falls hike:

Quick Facts:

  • ~4 miles out and back, can be made longer
  • ~1,000 feet elevation gain (300 one way, 700 the other)

Pros:

  • Not crowded on a Saturday
  • Two waterfalls
  • Pretty easy Good parking lot

Cons:

  • Very dusty trail (black shoes were grey by the end)
  • Treacherous and easy to miss path to Sahale Falls

The Journey Begins

Welcome!

Thank you for stumbling across my brand spankin’ new blog.  A year ago, I started an Instagram account to keep track of my many hikes in the PNW.  I had so many photos and stories, and keeping them all in my head and iPhoto library was not gonna cut it anymore.  I figured, if I’m going to catalogue my adventures, I might as well share it with the world.  Well it turns out, people like learning about all the fun they can have here in Oregon and Washington.  Instagram captions are pretty small, and I have a lot to say, so here I am world.  Follow me for photos and information about hiking, kayaking, and general exploration (as well as other random thoughts) and please reach out to say hi if you’re so inclined.

Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure ~ Albus Dumbledore

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Trillium Lake ~ my favorite place to kayak and eat entire bags of bbq chips on the shore