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Angels Rest Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

(Redirected from Angel's Rest Hike)
Looking north from the Angels Rest summit (Jeff Statt)
Gorge sunset from the Angels Rest Trail (Greg Lief)
Talus slope at the lower end of the Angels Rest Trail (bobcat)
View to Cape Horn from the Angels Rest Trail (bobcat)
View to Silver Star Mountain from the Angels Rest Trail (bobcat)
View from a talus slope on the Angels Rest Trail (Steve Hart)
Andesite pillars at Angels Rest (bobcat)
Upper Coopey Falls on the Angels Rest Trail (bobcat)
Map of the route
  • Start point: Angels Rest TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Angels Rest
  • Trail log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 4.8 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 1475 feet
  • High point: 1640 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All Season
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes
Falling
Poison-Oak

Contents

Hike Description

Angels Rest is an exposed bluff on the western end of the Columbia River Gorge. The platy andesite that composes this promontory is part of a million-year-old lava flow from Larch Mountain, a member of the Boring Lava Field. The summit is characterized by a long, rocky spine surrounded on three sides by cliffs, boasting a striking 270 degree view! While you can't see any of the Cascade volcanoes from the top, you do get great vantages of Beacon Rock, Silver Star Mountain and many other landmarks. The real draw, however, is the perspective of the Columbia River below - like you're on a balcony over a great auditorium. Its 1500 foot prominence and its proximity to the Columbia River give you the false sensation that you could dive from Angels Rest to the water below!

Getting to this precipice takes a relatively short hike (2.4 miles one-way) with an easy to moderately-steep ascent. Its bang-for-the-buck makes this a long-time favorite of families and hiking clubs. When you consider that the drive time from downtown Portland to the trailhead is under 45 minutes, it is understandable how popular this destination can be on weekends throughout the year. The trail passes two waterfalls along the way, an overhead view of Coopey Falls and a quick detour to smaller Upper Coopey Falls. The forest expanses surrounding the summit burned in the Multnomah Falls Fire back in 1991, while the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire burned over most of the trail's route. Much of the latter was a ground fire that cleared out the understory, which is fast regenerating. Where the two fires overlapped, vistas have opened up and blackened snags sprout from the steep slopes. However, during the wet season, parts of the trail can get muddy and slick. It is a unique landscape - one quite varied from other locales in the Gorge. For a longer loop that gives you more elevation, see the Angels Rest-Devils Rest Loop Hike.

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 burn. 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 view of 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. Three short switchbacks take 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.

Note for families: While there is plenty of space to avoid danger at the top, keep little ones close and away from the cliffside drop-offs. As one somewhat nervous woman pointed out "There are no handrails".


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Hiking Loops Near Multnomah Falls (USFS)
  • 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

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hikes in the Columbia Gorge by Don J. Scarmuzzi
  • Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon by Adam Sawyer
  • PDX Hiking 365 by Matt Reeder
  • Day Hiking: Columbia River Gorge by Craig Romano
  • 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland by Paul Gerald
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • Day Hike! Columbia Gorge by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Oregon: The Creaky Knees Guide by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Hiking the Columbia River Gorge by Russ Schneider; revised by Jim Yuskavitch
  • Curious Gorge by Scott Cook
  • Portland Hikes by Art Bernstein & Andrew Jackman
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • 100 Classic Hikes in Oregon by Douglas Lorain
  • Hiking Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Hike America: Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • 50 Hikes in Oregon by David L. Anderson
  • Best Hikes Near Portland, Oregon by Fred Barstad
  • Best Short Hikes in Northwest Oregon by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • Oregon's Columbia River Gorge: Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • 70 Virtual Hikes of the Columbia River Gorge by Northwest Hiker
  • Columbia River Gorge: 42 Scenic Hikes by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • 35 Hiking Trails: Columbia River Gorge by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • 100 Oregon Hiking Trails by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Short Trips and Trails: The Columbia Gorge by Oral Bullard & Don Lowe
  • Hiking Oregon's Geology by Ellen Morris Bishop
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Trail Running: Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Oregon State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide by Jan Bannan
  • Best Hikes With Dogs: Oregon by Ellen Morris Bishop
  • Canine Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Waterfalls of the Columbia Gorge, Volume One: Oregon by Zach Forsyth

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 this trail under icy, windy, or very wet conditions

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.