Columbia Gorge

Cape Horn Loop

Length: 8 round trip miles
High Point: 1200'
Season: All
Scenery: 4.4/5

Difficulty: 3.6/5

Submitted by: William


From Vancouver, Washington take Highway 14 east to milepost 26.4. At the intersection of Highway 14 and Salmon Falls Rd. is a small parking area.

Trail Description

Several sections of this trail go along exposed cliff edges and therefore is not recommended for young children.

Find the trail across Salmon Falls Rd. and walk through a forest of mostly alder as you climb towards Pioneer Point (1200 ft. elev.). Just below the summit there is a good view point overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. Follow the trail over the tree covered summit of Pioneer Point and down the other side to an old road bed, staying to the left till you come to a paved road. Turn left and go a short distance, then turn right on the first of two gravel roads. After you pass the entrance to a private home the trail may become over grown with grass and hard to follow, just follow the fence line to its end and turn left to pick up the trail again. After descending a couple of switchbacks you come to another view point, continue on till you reach the highway. Directly across the highway the trail continues and soon crosses a creek and shortly after that comes to a four way intersection. To the left goes to a stunning view point at the top of Salmon Falls, to the right goes back up to the highway. Go straight ahead and you will soon descend down several switchbacks till the trail levels out and starts to head east. Follow the trail through a forest of oak trees till you come to Salmon Falls. The trail goes behind the falls and continues on till it comes to Cape Horn Road, follow it for about a mile back up to the parking area.


A good portion of the trail is closed Jan. through June,
2010-04-08 21:00:29
This has got to be one of the best hikes near Portland. We did it on a sunny day in early December. It was a little windy at places and there were no signs but I was with someone who knew the way. If you have ever admired the view from the Cape Horn Viewpoint on SR 14 then you will love this hike cause it takes you like 500 feet above that place. It also takes you down by the river and behind a waterfall, which was a little scary but a lot of fun.
2007-12-12 14:54:07
Dog-Day Delight: Hot weather, hot apartment, car with no AC, this close-in hike is the bomb. Nothing beats the feel of a natural shower. The views were terrific but with no camera what really counted was feeling the first spray from the falls. We stayed there most of the afternoon trying to summon the courage to return to the heat. When we finally continued on, the walk back up a country road was a shady piece of paradise.
2006-06-29 12:44:40
For great hikes near Portland this is about the best. Waterfalls, meadows, big trees, and rocky cliffs all in a loop. Confusing to follow where the roads on top are. Slippery under the falls and muddy in a couple spots. For scenery it should be rated a perfect 5. Just wish there were some signs.
2006-04-05 20:46:20
Very nice Forest hike upper and great views of the river on top and down by the river cliffs. Some trillium, snow queen and indian plum in bloom. The rocky trail cut backs down toward the river definitely give your feet and legs a workout.
2006-03-08 16:07:29
Very nice Forest hike upper and great views of the river on top and down by the river cliffs. Some trillium, snow queen and indian plum in bloom. The rocky trail cut backs down toward the river definitely give your feet and legs a workout.
2006-03-08 16:07:04
Why didn't anyone tell me about this trail earlier? Although part if it goes by some houses the trail has many stunning viewpoints. It probably would be a great place for spring wildflowers. After the hike, which took about 3-1/2 hours, we were back in SW Portland in less than 40 minutes - closer than any Gorge hike except Angel's Rest perhaps. I wonder what other trails on the Washington side of the Columbia there are.
2005-10-31 15:03:11
Oh, and I only saw 2 other people on the hike which is great on a beautiful day when most hikes are very crowded!
2005-07-25 10:27:16
I would rate this hike a little higher in difficulty than a 2.3. My dogs in particular found the rocky switchbacks very difficult. It is one of the best for variety: beautiful forest, farmland, a nice waterfall, exposed rocks, great views of the gorge! Before you go with your animals, just know that the terrain is very tough on their paws.
2005-07-25 10:26:21
4 of us hiked this trail yesterday. It was one of the most scenic Portland area hikes I have seen. It was a terribly hot day so we hung out under the waterfall and never wanted to leave. Some great forests too.
2005-07-19 09:20:51
Dan Huntington sent me this graphic of the trail some time ago. Its a nice brochure of this hike.
2005-07-09 10:36:22
A great hike for a quick Gorge fix with lots of views and lots of variety. Definitely worth checking out if you like the Gorge. Washington's equivalent of Angel's Rest but the fact that it is a loop makes it even nicer.
2005-07-06 22:56:37