Cape Horn - Columbia Gorge, Washington State

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Hiker Reviews For The Cape Horn Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: NativeGorgeGirl Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
I was not impressed with the Cape Horn trail made by the Friends of the Gorge association. The trail was over grown and poorly maintained. The trail was very rocky and hard to pass. Along with being very hazardous in some places. I wasn't interested in walking through a farmer's hay field, a power line access road, or a mile of pavement. What more can you expect from a hastily made illegal trail...

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 20, 2013
If you go to NW Hikers they tell you to start off west of the Cape for the opening to the trail...don't start there. The best place to start if you have not done this before would be at the park and ride east of the cape. There were 5 of us and at about the 2 1/2 mile downward we figured...oops, we have messed up. Like the women below said, there is a lot of shale and that part really sucked. Tennis/walking/running shoes are not for this hike. Hiking shoes are an absolute must. We did have a good time over all, we finally made it to the road at the very bottom of the cape (views from the cape lookout) we then had to walk up the road back to hwy 14 oh and did I mention that my car was parked on the WEST side of Cape Horn...haha. There was swearing and unflattering not so lady like etiquette. But we were determined and very thirsty at this point, having left our water in our car...remember this was only supposed to be an easy 3 mile hike...wrong! We made it and shall live to tell this story, this next Sat we will try again however we will park in the right location and stay away from crossing hwy 14 for everyones safety not just ours. There is hope that no swear words with breach our lips and water will be attached at the hips...our pictures were wonderful and you can really sing as loud as you want to when your lost in the woods. Just saying. Have fun be safe and park at the park and ride EAST of the cape to start.

By: Tumpi Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 29, 2012
The trail was moderate climb, very well marked, the views were fantastic. It took us 3 hours to do the entire loop. The lower part ( south of Hwy. 14 ) was a little difficult thru the rocks, but the waterfall was worth it. The paved road didn't feel too good on the feet, after all that walk thru the woods. Bottom line, this hike is gorgeous if you start in the upper trail. I will do it again in spring when is more water on the waterfall and I can admire the flowers. A little piece of Heaven.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, July 29, 2012
A really great hike with spectacular views. All the information we could find was out of date. The trail is very well marked and in good condition. There are tunnels that go under the highway. A new circular stone viewpoint made a great place for lunch. Lower loop is quite rugged and talus slopes are difficult. Good boots are really important. The last mile is on a paved road. I loved that the drive from Portland was only 40 minutes and good parking. For so close, there were not a lot of people. I would highly recommend this hike.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 22, 2010
It is important to note that the lower trail is CLOSED from January 1st to July 1st to protect falcon nesting areas.  We were unaware of this when we set out and did not see a warning until after crossing highway 14.  Less than a mile on the trial is physically blocked just after the upper waterfall.  Unfortunately this left us with the decision to either backtrack all the way up the summit or walk Highway 14 back to the trailhead, something many signs and good sense was warning us not to do.  This was dispiriting and we decided to try hitching for 15 minutes.  We got lucky and were picked up by a hiker driving by and got a ride back to the car park. We started out around 1pm in the rain and the trail was very muddy but still walkable even in the steepest parts.  The trail is very narrow and wet foliage encroaches on both sides but the forest provided good cover from most of the rain.  It cleared up in the afternoon and the views were worth getting wet.  Despite being very steep in places, both up and down, it was a moderate hike.  We only did half the loop and it felt far longer than the 4 miles its supposed to be.

The trail is marked with few signs, mostly orange tags.  Clear guides at some important decision points are missing.  This was most conspicuous at the point where the trail briefly exits the woods onto a dead end road.  You have to proceed down a gravel road (ignoring the smaller gravel trail next to it) and across an open field where the trail all but disappears.  Have faith, it will clearly resume once it reenters the woods at the far side of the field.

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