Let’s Be Adventurers: Dry Creek Falls

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Finally, A gorgeous weekend and I wanted to get out of the house again. Looking up my trails, I realized that my usual stomping grounds, the Gifford Pinchot, was still pretty much snowed in. Looking to the lower elevations, I saw that one of the trails, Dry Creek Falls, that the fire burned in Cascade Locks, was back open. So I asked my friend Rachel, of Rachel Konsella Photography, if she wanted to go on an adventure.

Up the Columbia Gorge we went with our furry companions in the back of my car.

Cascade Locks only has a few roads in the main town, and I knew we needed to get back behind the access to the toll bridge. So we just went up a street or two, under the overpass, and found the trailhead. It can be a little confusing as Dry Creek Falls is not listed on the sign. But we found some friendly hikers near the beginning that confirmed we were on the right path.

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A tree damaged from the wildfire that ripped through the Columbia Gorge in 2017.
I made the brilliant decision to leave my hiking poles in the back of my car, and boy did I regret that. While there were a few spots of clear, muddy ground, the trail was more ice covered snow than anything else. If it wasn’t just a few inches deep, we wouldn’t have continued up the trail.

The trail was easily navigable, but I also had the added challenge of my 70-pound rescue, Han Solo, attached to me via hiking leash. So I was between keeping my balance on the ice and seeing where I could get enough balance where he would pull me along the trail. Good news is that I only fell once, and that was on the way back down the trail. Rachel and Maui seemed to do much better, especially since Maui behaved off leash, where Solo wanted to chase ALL the squirrels.

Winding along the hillside with gentle slopes, you come across a bridge about two miles in. Here you can cross Dry Creek and continue on the Pacific Crest Trail, or, you take a right and head up the steepest part of the entire tail. About .2 miles up you come to Dry Creek Falls.

There is a great spot to sit and enjoy your lunch while watching the water fall from the top of the cliff. A small bridge spans the creek and you can access the other side. However, with the snow, I was careful along the banks as you could not really see what was solid ground, and what would leave me with wet clothes. I’m not a fan of chances to have a miserable hike back.

We took a few images and started packing back up. The whole scene is in an alcove along the cliffs shielded by the sun. So with the snow and the light wind, or pups were getting a little cold.

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He’s either cold OR sad that he already finished all of the beef jerky that I brought him.

Heading back to the car was a little bit slower, as we were hitting more downhill portions than anything. I did my best balancing on the slick ground and keeping Solo happy by continuously moving. Maui had no issue as she was happily trodding along in the snow, only looking back now and then to make sure we were still coming.

Once back at the car, we loaded up the car and made the short trip to the Cascade Locks waterfront. Here lays a sweet little spot for a reward. Thunder Island has both great food and beer PLUS they have a heated patio that your furry friends are entirely welcome on. Solo decided to sit in the middle of the walkway so that everyone would have to pay attention to him. He is so neglected.

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I already warned my husband and daughter that we’ll be making this a family hike when the snow decides to melt. Perfect trail for those who want a short and easy hike for their family.

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