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Angels Rest-Devils Rest Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mt. Adams, Table Mountain, Hamilton Mountain, and Beacon Rock from the Devils Rest Overlook (bobcat)
View to Silver Star Mountain from the Angels Rest Trail (bobcat)
View from a rockfall on the Angels Rest Trail (Steve Hart)
Looking north from the Angels Rest summit (Jeff Statt)
Scorched woods on the Angels Rest Trail above Dalton Creek (bobcat)
Wahkeena Creek below Wahkeena Spring (bobcat)
The mossy rockpile at Devils Rest (Jeff Statt)
On Upper Foxglove Way (bobcat)
Vine maple bower on Foxglove Way (bobcat)
The loop hike from Angels Rest to Devils Rest (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo/USFS
  • Start point: Angels Rest TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Devils Rest
  • Trail log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 10.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 3040 feet
  • High point: 2435 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All Season
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes
Falling
Poison Oak

Contents

Description

NOTICE: This trail was impacted by the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017. Oregon State Parks and the Forest Service have reopened the trail, but warns hikers to enter at their own risk because of hazardous conditions, including loose rocks, falling trees and limbs, and damaged or blocked trails. There may be vegetation carpeting the trail tread in places. Less experienced hikers should consider an alternative to this hike while these conditions exist, and all hikers with dogs or small children should consider safer alternatives.

The lollipop loop from Angels Rest to Devils Rest encapsulates a variety of experiences at this western end of the Columbia River Gorge. Angels Rest indeed offers heavenly vistas from its exposed promontory 1,500 feet above the Columbia River. Devils Rest, ironically 900 feet above Angels Rest, offers no views whatsoever at its mossy rock summit although there are commanding views east from clifftop perches nearby. The two destinations do have something in common, however, as both are manifestations of the Boring Lava Field, only a million or so years old compared to the 15 million-year-old Columbia River Basalt flows. Angels Rest is an andesite lava flow from Larch Mountain, while Devils Rest is one of the 99 Boring volcanoes. Most of the area you will be traveling through was affected by two recent fires. The 1991 Multnomah Falls Fire scorched the slopes between Angels Rest and Multnomah Falls; the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire was more extensive, but your descent from Devils Rest will be on user-maintained unofficial trails that were undamaged or little damaged by that blaze. Throw in a couple of waterfalls and gushing Wahkeena Spring, and this loop offers an eminently satisfying outing.

There are two parking areas, one above the other at the Bridal Veil intersection on the Historic Columbia River Highway. The trails from each converge just above the lower parking area. Hike up a forested slope where the bases of large Douglas-firs bear scorch marks from the 2017 fire. Vine maple, thimbleberry, and sword fern form the understory, and occasionally there are patches of poison oak. Cross an open talus slope to get views to down to sheep paddocks below, the Columbia River, Phoca Rock, Cape Horn, the Prindle Cliffs, and Silver Star Mountain. A clifftop viewpoint gives you a look down to 150-foot Coopey Falls, which spills down to property owned by the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. Hiking up, you'll see a short spur leading left to get a view up the creek of Upper Coopey Falls. The trail leads up through a hazel thicket, and another spur takes you to the base of the upper tier of Upper Coopey Falls. Continue up under alders and maples to cross Coopey Creek on a footbridge.

The trail turns at a reinforced switchback, and then traverses up a slope of maples to switchback again and head out to the Gorge face, where you'll encounter brushier terrain recovering from the 1991 and 2017 fires. Views are more open now, and you can see up to the cliffs of Angels Rest as well as the entire profile of Washington's Larch Mountain and Silver Star Mountain to the north. Switchback twice, and get another view of Silver Star Mountain from a viewpoint at a section of split-rail fencing. Switchback twice more to get a look up to the keyhole or "eye" at the point of Angels Rest. Four more switchbacks take you higher in a scrubby landscape of snowberry, ocean spray, and 1991 fire snags seared black by the 2017 fire. An additional three short switchbacks convey you to a talus slope traverse, after which the trail enters a dense thicket and then switchbacks up to a junction at the crest of the Angels Rest promontory.

Go left here to head out to the point. You will scramble among layered pillars of platy andesite getting views down to the Columbia River as well as west to Sand Island and the tall buildings of downtown Portland. To the north, Larch Mountain and Silver Star Mountain in Washington are on the skyline, while an expanse of the Washington Gorge, from Cape Horn to Hamilton Mountain and Beacon Rock, is on display. Scrubby alders and few stunted oaks survive up here, and the east wind can be extremely fierce on certain fall and winter days.

Return along the ridge crest, and proceed beyond the junction with the spur trail to continue on the Angels Rest Trail #415. After a couple of switchbacks and more good views, you'll come to the unmarked junction with Foxglove Way, your return point. From this area of crown fire, there's a good view down the spine of the Angels Rest promontory to the Columbia River. Continue east on the Angels Rest Trail, which drops above the Dalton Creek bowl through a fast recovering carpet of Oregon grape, phacelia, snowberry, and bracken. Pass below an andesite talus slope, and then rise to a lovely intact grove of old-growth Douglas-fir, hemlock, and western red-cedar at a creek crossing. The trail gradually ascends through more scorched conifers and then passes through a thicket of young maples and bracken to enter a soggy Sitka alder bowl with numerous seeps. Hike through a grove of large red alders, and soon pass the almost unnoticeable Angels Rest-Foxglove Way Trail East Junction. Descending from here, you'll cross the Mist Creek Footbridge on a slightly blackened log and switchback down getting views down to the Wahkeena Bowl with most of its green canopy intact. Pass through a thimbleberry thicket, and make five more descending switchbacks to traverse out of the crown fire zone. At a break in the trees, you can get a view across the river to Archer Mountain, the only place on the Washington side of the Columbia that was affected by the Eagle Creek Fire. As you cross a rocky outcrop, you'll hear a large spring gushing forth below the trail. Round a corner, and catch a glimpse down to Fairy Falls across tumbling Wahkeena Creek. The trail rises to give you more views of cascading Wahkeena Creek. Reach a lovely cedar bench, and pass above gushing Wahkeena Spring to reach the Wahkeena-Angels Rest Trail Junction.

Keep right, and hike up a slope of good-sized Douglas-firs and hemlocks with a delicate carpet of oxalis and inside-out flower. Pass a Wahkeena Trail sign being eaten by a tree. You'll arrive at the first of two junctions 25 yards apart. Stay right at both junctions, and find yourself ascending the Devils Rest Trail #420C.

Make six switchbacks up along Shady Creek to reach a shallow bowl of large Douglas-firs and hemlocks. At a break in the trees, you'll get a view over to the prominence of Devils Rest. Hike along the rim of the Wahkeena Bowl, getting views of the cliff faces and scree slopes below Devils Rest. Pass the junction with a short spur that leads out to gated Multnomah Basin Road. Western hemlocks dominate the forest on this rim, and you'll pass through a grove that didn't even experience a ground burn. The forest opens up for a view north to Silver Star Mountain. Drop to cross two footbridges below a set of springs, and hike up through a thicket of devil's club. A spur trail leads right for a clifftop view west towards Yeon Mountain on the Oregon side of the Gorge and Hamilton Mountain and Table Mountain on the Washington side. Back on the main trail, drop and rise to look for a faint user trail just after an obvious survey marker. The side trail leads to a pinnacled clifftop promontory with extensive views including Mount Saint Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Skamania Island and the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. The main Devils Rest Trail veers left, and then rises steeply from an old logging road to a trail junction. Go right here to the largely unburned summit of Devils Rest with its mossy arrangement of boulders. Just east of the boulders, the old course of the Primrose Path descends steeply to the Angels Rest Trail just east of the Mist Creek Footbridge.

To complete the loop, however, you'll be continuing on the trail that leads down from the junction below Devils Rest. Drop through an unburned stand of Douglas-fir to reach a logging track shaded by alders. Then return to a coniferous wood with a sword fern understory and keep dropping steeply, with same-aged hemlocks to the left and a dense corridor of alder and young hemlock to your right. Reach a junction of makeshift signs in a salmonberry thicket on an old logging road. Keep left here for Angels Rest. The route rises steadily on an abandoned logging track. At a road junction, make a sharp right following Angels Rest and Foxglove Trail signs, and begin descending under alders and Douglas-firs along an edge of the Eagle Creek Burn. Vine maple and sword fern dominate in the understory. Salmonberry encroaches on the trail, but the path is regularly maintained by volunteers. Come to a junction with several signs for Foxglove Way, and go left. Make a level traverse through mature Douglas-fir forest with mossy vine maples, some lightly burned, overhanging the trail. Drop down the nose of a ridge through a dense thicket and arrive at the Angels Rest-Foxglove Way Trail West Junction. Make a left to return down the Angels Rest Trail to your vehicle.


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Bridal Veil, OR #428
  • Green Trails Maps: Columbia River Gorge - West #428S
  • Geo-Graphics: Trails of the Columbia Gorge
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service/Bureau of Land Management: Columbia River Gorge
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
  • Multnomah County SAR map

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Parking can be a problem. Try to get there early (before 8:30 a.m. on weekends), or hike during the week. Park only in designated spots at one of the two parking areas.
  • Day use only: open 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
  • Closest restrooms at the Bridal Veil Trailhead, less than one mile west
  • Keep dogs on leash
  • Best not to hike the Angels Rest Trail under icy, windy, or very wet conditions
  • Foxglove Way and Upper Foxglove Way Trails are user-maintained and do not appear on most maps

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland by Paul Gerald
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • 100 Classic Hikes in Oregon by Douglas Lorain
  • Hiking the Columbia River Gorge by Russ Schneider; revised by Jim Yuskavitch
  • Day Hiking: Columbia River Gorge by Craig Romano
  • Day Hikes in the Columbia Gorge by Don J. Scarmuzzi
  • 70 Virtual Hikes of the Columbia River Gorge by Northwest Hiker
  • 35 Hiking Trails: Columbia River Gorge by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Waterfalls of the Columbia Gorge, Volume One: Oregon by Zach Forsyth

More Links


Contributors

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.