{Wahclella Falls} The Scouting Mission

Vancouver wa photographer

When I started in photography, waterfalls were my main subject. I loved just to sit by them and watch everything around them. Completely took me to a different world, which at the time, was exactly what I needed. My dad just passed and I knew I had to do something to help myself. I grew up camping and hiking with him, so I decided what better way to clear my head than to hit the trails.

I usually tend to stay away from the gorge falls on nice days due to the crowding, but I have a wedding at the falls this June and I HAD to go. Going during the week was probably the best decision. I still had to park up the hill a bit instead of the main lot, but it wasn’t too big of an issue.

The trail starts as a gravel road up to the small dam that they have on the river. After that, the path narrows a bit but it still gravel/dirt. It leads up along the creek with a few small rapids and lots of greenery. About half way there is bridge that takes you right by a waterfall coming down the rock. Not very picturesque right there, but still really cool.

After the bridge the trail starts to uphill. Now I can shoot a wedding for 8 hours on my feet and stay moving, but the hill caught me a little. It might of been the heavy lunch I had before hand, it may just be that I am out of shape. There is a staircase up a steeper part of the trail and just a little bit past that it crests. You can see the creek way below and lots of the trees.

On the descent you go down a quick switchback and go over another bridge. There is a path after the bridge to the left that brings you down to the creek with a few more small falls and large rocks. Really pretty!

Back on the trail its just a short way to a rocky beach with some boulders and a view of the last bridge with Wahclella falling in behind.

When you get to Wahclella, there are some HUGE boulders that make for some great shots.  There is a collection of logs against one and some farther out. There is also a lower ledge of rocks that would be a great place to have a wedding ceremony, HOWEVER it is still in the winter/spring flow and it constantly wet. I tried to get a few shots down there but my lens was constantly soaked, I couldn’t keep it dry enough.

A small trail leads up to an upper rock platform that would be perfect for a much dryer ceremony and a view of the waterfall behind. There are plenty of options for gorgeous photos, but it all depends on how adventurous your subject is.

Another plus is the complete change in climate when you get to the main fall. On a hot day, this would be the perfect place to hang out all day!

I got a few shots and headed back to the trail head.

I drove about 15 minutes eastward towards Cascade Locks and found my way over to Government Cove.

I’ve never noticed this area even after driving by it so many times. The road tucks under the highway and brings you out to basically a small island with a large rock plateau.

At first look, I thought there was no way on top of the rocks unless I brought some rope. The rocks themselves have fallen to create these cool little shelves that you can easily climb up on. I followed the maintenance road the other direction and found that it brought you up to the plateau and was amazing! I was completely flat up there with a field of grass that overlooked the gorge. If angled right, you can actually get an image of the happy couple on top of the rocks and shooting them below.

Lots of ideas on this scouting mission! Now I am just hoping for some fluffy clouds like the ones I had on this day!



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