Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •    Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!
| Page | Discussion | View source | History | Print Friendly and PDF

Devils Rest via Wahkeena Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mt Adams, Hamilton Mountain, Beacon Rock and the Columbia River from a viewpoint near Devils Rest (Steve Hart)
Wahkeena Creek (Jeff Statt)
Devils Rest Trail (Jeff Statt)
County survey marker on the trail to Devils Rest (Jen Thomas)
The loop hike to Devils Rest from Wahkeena Falls (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo/USFS
  • Start point: Wahkeena TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Devils Rest
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: In and out or lollipop loop
  • Distance: 8.4 miles in and out; 7.1 miles as a loop taking unmaintained trails
  • Elevation gain: 2350 feet
  • High point: 2,435 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Year round (periods of snow during winter)
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Initially yes, but quieter as you go higher

Contents

Hike Description

NOTICE: This trail was impacted by the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017. The Forest Service has reopened the trail, but warns hikers to enter at their own risk because of hazardous conditions, including loose rocks, falling trees and limbs, debris flows, 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. Note that the loop option described below is not permitted at this time as it uses unofficial trails that have not been assessed.

The Wahkeena Trail can be explored at some length depending on your fitness level. A couple of shorter hikes that are possible are the Wahkeena Falls Hike and the Fairy Falls Hike. This hike goes all of the way to Devils Rest, a forested Boring volcano 850 feet above Angels Rest. You'll see a couple of pretty waterfalls, get some Columbia River Gorge views, and appreciate a few large old growth trees in the Wahkeena Bowl. You can return the way you came or, if you're up for a loop using the user network below Devils Rest, you can come back via the Angels Rest Trail. Bear in mind that the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire affected almost the entire area of this hike and parts of the optional user loop have not been maintained.

Walk up to the viewing plaza just above the parking area on the highway. You can appreciate the tiers of Wahkeena Falls from here, but in spring and summer, the view is partially obscured by leafy maple trees. Head to your right, and cross a footbridge over Wahkeena Creek. Then make a traverse on a paved trail into Douglas-fir/hemlock woods before making a switchback up. The trail traverses to cross the stone bridge in front of Wahkeena Falls, which may douse you with heavy spray. After admiring the falls, continue west to pass the former junction with the closed Perdition Trail at a large Douglas-fir. From here, the pathway, which is still paved, rises in 11 stone-walled switchbacks to a junction. Take the short spur to the right to reach Lemmons Viewpoint, named after a fire fighter who lost his life in the line of duty. Vistas extend across the Columbia River to Cape Horn, the Prindle Cliffs, Archer Mountain, Hamilton Mountain, and Beacon Rock (For a description of a short but sketchy off trail excursion near the viewpoint, see The Necktie).

This is the end of the pavement. Enter a defile with a massive dome of basalt to your right. Sometimes a seasonal waterfall splashes down this face. Cross a footbridge, and hike up the west side of Wahkeena Creek. Recross the creek on a new footbridge at an open mossy face. Six more steep switchbacks take you up rushing Wahkeena Creek and cedar-shaded Wahkeena Canyon. You'll arrive at Fairy Falls, a beautiful fan waterfall right next to the trail. Day hikers often tarry here to take photos and imbibe the negative ions. Now make five switchbacks up a burned slope with the conifer canopy still intact to reach the junction with the Vista Point Trail #419.

Turn left here and take the 419 trail. You'll be ascending about a mile to the next junction. Pass a couple of large but scorched Douglas-firs, and make a traverse in shady Douglas-fir/hemlock woods. The spur to Vista Point leads left, but there are limited views. Round the nose of a ridge, and keep rising. On a clear day, you can see the top of Silver Star Mountain and also Sturgeon Rock peeking above Archer Mountain. Reach the upper junction with the Wahkeena Trail at about 1600' elevation.

Go right here and, in 25 yards, come to the junction with 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. If you're not doing the loop, you can head back down the Devils Rest Trail and then the Wahkeena Trail.

For the lollipop loop, 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. Go right here for the "Wahkeena Trail" (actually the Angels Rest Trail). Follow an old road bed, the Devils Fork Trail, under hemlocks and Douglas-firs and choked with salmonberry. Then you’re under alders again before you descend off the road bed in a burned vine maple/alder thicket. Reach the Foxglove Way-Devils Fork Trail Junction, and go right on a level track through salmonberries and alders. It may be difficult finding your way on this trail tread. The route drops to the unsigned Angels Rest-Foxglove Way Trail East Junction.

Make a right here, and descend to the slightly blackened Mist Creek Footbridge. Switchback down getting views 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 River 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.

Go left, and make three switchbacks down to the lower junction with the Vista Point Trail #419. Keep left here to continue down the Wahkeena Trail to your vehicle.


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

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • User trails below Devils Rest (Devils Fork and Foxglove Way) may be thick with brush and difficult to find.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hikes in the Columbia Gorge by Don J. Scarmuzzi
  • Day Hiking: Columbia River Gorge by Craig Romano
  • Hiking the Columbia River Gorge by Russ Schneider; revised by Jim Yuskavitch
  • Curious Gorge by Scott Cook
  • Take a Hike: Portland by Barbara I. Bond
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • 70 Virtual Hikes of the Columbia River Gorge by Northwest Hiker
  • Columbia Gorge Hikes: 42 Scenic Hikes by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • 35 Hiking Trails: Columbia River Gorge by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest by David L. Anderson
  • 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.