Since we hiked in the coast range last week and majestic Mt. Hood is covered in snow, my sister suggested a Columbia Gorge hike this week. After some searching we decided on the Two Chiefs Trail hike. It is on the Washington side of the Gorge, just the slightest bit west of the Bridge of the Gods. We found it with no problems, but the road to it was too much for our trusty steed (Sid Hoffman). Mazdas are pretty low to the ground and there were car-swallowing potholes. After we bottomed-out once, we decided to just park it and walk the extra amount. The official hike is 7.8 miles with 1250 feet in elevation gain, but we did a little bit more than that because of our parking spot.
The trail used to be a road, but it has been washed out over and over and over again and now is hard to negotiate even on foot. It immediately climbs 500 feet. It was too much for my sister. We stopped numerous times to shed layers of clothing and drink water. For the first time ever I was the person not holding up our hike.
There was a lot of water on this hike, a lot. The trail was washed out in numerous places and culverts that should have diverted the water under the trail were in disrepair or malfunctioning. We did not have waterproof shoes on but we both remained dry due to some crafty navigating. At one point we used a fungus covered stick we found to balance as we crossed a log that was trying to roll out from beneath us. It all worked out. My sister at first decided that the trail was called “Swampy Gillespie” instead of Two Chiefs Trail. Then after some unpleasant discussion we decided that having a swampy gillespie sounded like a euphemism for a horrible STD. She then started calling it “Crazy Creek Trail.” Seriously, in several sections the trail is a creek bed with running water. Our dry feet are a miracle.
After winding around and climbing through tons of different beautiful scenery, we finally reached a summit. The gorge view, the field of moss covered scree, a gorgeous waterfall at Greenleaf Creek, and Table Mountain just above you make for a pretty epic end to your uphill journey. It was 2:30 when we hit the summit and it took us over two hours to get there. After the daylight savings change we were a little worried about getting caught in the dark. We have headlamps, so we’re not totally unprepared, but it was still a concern. On the way down, the parts of the trail with thick forest were very dark. Now that it’s November we will have to make sure to be careful about time. It took us just under four hours to complete the entire hike. The trail intersects with quiet a few others, so I’m sure we’ll be back in the area again. It was beautiful.
For information about Two Chiefs Trail click here.