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Labyrinth Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Labyrinth Falls (Steve Hart)
Coyote Wall (Steve Hart)
The Columbia River (Steve Hart)
  • Start point: Coyote Wall TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Labyrinth
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 5.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1200 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Year round
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: Yes
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Hike Description

The Labyrinth is unknown to most northwestern hikers and this approach isn't the route typically taken. It offers a loop opportunity and a chance to earn some mileage. Anyone wanting to experience the Labyrinth with less effort should try the Labyrinth Hike.

From the Coyote Wall Trailhead, head east on the abandoned Highway 8. You'll pass a cattle chute and the Coyote Canyon Trail on the left and the you'll skirt small Locke Lake. Locke Lake is a backwater created by the railroad right of way and bisected by Highway 14. You reason for the highway reroute is obvious as you weave past large pieces of rock that have fallen from Coyote Wall above.

The road rounds the edge of the cliff and comes to the Coyote Wall Trail. This is your return route. You'll stay straight ahead here on the old road about another quarter mile to another trail junction just before a rock cut. This is the Labyrinth Trail.

Turn left and head uphill on the dirt trail. The trail starts above small glen filled with oaks, then crosses a small divide. You'll pass an interesting little cave on the left and then climb a bit to Labyrinth Falls. The creek tumbles in a couple of decent sized upper tiers, then turns and drops into a narrow canyon, only to hook back and drop some more. There are a couple of use paths to different viewpoints.

There's a short steep section of trail climbing above the falls, but then the trail levels out to a bridge over the creek. The trail then slabs up the right side of the canyon a bit. Look for birds of prey near here soaring on the thermals. Soon the trail cuts to the right and enters a narrow defile. The trail weaves through a very thick stand of small oaks hemmed in by talus slopes on both sides. The trail emerges from the valley into a wide grassy area, perfect for relaxing. We've labeled this spot the Labyrinth, but the name really applies to the whole area. Drop your pack here and take time to explore several side paths to the top of rock outcrops and beautiful views of the river.

The trail from here switchbacks up a dome-like ridge up to views to the west and a junction with the Rowland Creek Trail. This trail heads east and skirts the area above Rowland Lake and the rockfalls there. For our hike take the left fork and head up the creek valley. Another mile or so of hiking will bring you to Road 20, an old closed road.

Turn left on Road 20 and head down to another footbridge. This one looks a bit iffy, but its stronger than it looks. Continue on Road 20 as it climbs a bit, then drops steeply. There's a house visible here and much of the open field is private property. Stay on the well-worn old road and respect the private holdings. The trail crosses a couple of tiny streams that dry up in the summer. Soon you'll come to a fence and an unsigned junction with the Coyote Wall Trail. Turn left and head down the trail. Take the right fork whenever you can and you'll stay closest to the top the wall, getting the best views. Just before the trail veers to the east, there's a particularly good viewpoint looking back up the wall. Follow the trail back down the hill to Highway 8. Turn right here and retrace your steps back to your car.

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Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.