Cape Horn Trail
Cape Horn Trail
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  • SnowyShasta
    Portland, Oregon1,732 contributions
    A fine fall hike
    This hike can be done as a 7-mile loop during some parts of the year (from February to July the lower part is closed to avoid disturbing nesting peregrine falcons). We were blessed with a beautiful sunny afternoon in late November and were able to enjoy some beautiful views along the trail. There was mud in a few parts, with one short section quite muddy and slippery, but mostly the trail was in good shape. We walked the loop counterclockwise (starting with the high/right fork right as the trail starts) and there were also some fairly rocky sections towards the end. The last mile or so of the loop is on a road - with minimal traffic, only one car passed us. Parking on this nice day was a little difficult - the main trailhead lot was full and cars were parked for half a mile or more up the road. We arrived around noon, and waited for about 15 minutes and someone returned to their car and left an available spot. Parking is also possible (and looked more open when we walked through) at the Upper Trailhead (on Strunk Road) or along the Cape Horn Road that you walk at the end. We hiked at a moderate but fairly brisk pace and finished in just over 3 hours, with a few stops along the way to admire and photograph the scenery. Overall this was a beautiful Columbia Gorge hike.
    Written November 27, 2020
  • sarah c
    Portland, Oregon204 contributions
    Great views but watch out for rocks!
    This is a 7.4 mile loop that took (me) approximately 3 hrs. 45 mins. including a short snack break at a view point. I started by taking a right at the entrance to the upper trail. You'll climb a well maintained trail to some great viewpoints of the gorge. There is a decent elevation gain over a short distance but if you are in moderate shape it should be fine. There is a nice section through a meadow that lets you catch your breath once you reach the top. The second part (lower trail) takes you down towards the river. This section has different terrain. If you have bad ankles, knees or difficulty with steep inclines, this is probably not for you or for young kids. There are some switchbacks where the trail is just rocks that can be tricky and several downhill sections with loose rock as well. If you do the full loop - there is an approx. 1 mile section walking along a road at the end. Its a pretty area through farmland and the road is in good condition with light traffic. Wear good hiking shoes and bring enough water - there are no facilities along the way.
    Written September 11, 2019
  • YankeeKC
    Washougal, Washington86 contributions
    Great views
    If you take the path counter clockwise as most do, the 1st mike of the path will first take you up a climb to the highest point with a view to Cape Horn and to beacon rock. You will then hike with a view to blue star mountain before heading south , crossing under 14 and down to the river. The amazing views in my view start once you have gotten closer to the river. You will remain 100 to 200 feet above the river with some impressive views down. The path is well traveled but if you stick to the counter clock pattern you might feel that you have it to yourself.
    Traveled solo
    Written December 21, 2018
These reviews are the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor checks reviews for fraud.
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Waving Tree Farm
Washougal, WA27 contributions
Oct 2018 • Family
I live not very far from here so my son and I decided to hike this trail. After hiking for some time we were scratching our heads wondering... why? Perhaps we expected too much but there is nothing exceptional about this trail. Perhaps we didn't go far enough? That could be but it was downright boring.

There are tons of trails in the area and I, personally, would recommend trying one of those instead.
Written September 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Doug D
6 contributions
Apr 2019 • Couples
This hike is very nice. Some good views on the top. Fairly moderate although some definite elevation changes and can be tough on the knees coming down if that is an issue for anyone.
Written April 3, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

oklahomahalfsquatch
83 contributions
Jun 2018 • Family
We hiked the upper trail of Cape Horn on a warm Friday. The trail is shady and lots of wildflowers all along the path. It can be steep narrow and rough but it was dry when we were there I think it could be treacherous when wet or icy. The lookout points were fantastic and well worth the effort. The bluffs are a straight drop off I would not take young children up this trail.
Written July 1, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

jonathb5
Glen, NH689 contributions
Apr 2018 • Business
This is a classic 7+ mile loop with approximately 1,300’ elevation gain. The lower half of the trail is closed for peregrine falcon nesting from February 2- July 15 and so I did a 1.7 mile road walk on the highway (not advised!) so that I could Ho up the west side (which is prettier) and down the east side. The views of the gorge are spectacular and there is a wide range of forest and scenery which is what makes this hike unique. Many people and dogs (particularly on weekends) so don’t take this when pursuing solitude. A beautiful walk which when combined with the lower section with its waterfalls makes this a classic!
Written April 21, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Prat97xxx
138 contributions
Aug 2017
This is a nicely maintained trail with lots of signs to ensure that you stay on the trail. There are many viewpoints with great views of the gorge. The Nancy Russell overlook is particularly nice, and there was a wedding about to take place as we came by.

The overall trail is 7.6 miles, and the first half of the upper trail is steep when you start from the park and ride lot. None of it is too difficult if you take your time.

Highly recommend it for a summer afternoon. Part of the trail is closed from Feb to July for nesting peregrine falcons. Please stay on the trail and consider supporting the Friends of the Gorge.
Written August 16, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jack B
Ronald, WA1,339 contributions
May 2016 • Solo
This is a great morning hike - make sure you don't quit too early and keep going to the stone viewpoint, definitely worth it!

Full trail loop is 7.7 miles with 1300 feet of elevation gain.
Trailhead is 25 miles east of PDX along State Highway 14, a mile past the Cape Horn Viewpoint at Salmon Falls Road. The trail head shares parking with a Park and Ride, which makes it bus accessible, and there are restrooms at the trailhead.

Leaving the parking lot, cross Salmon Falls Road and bear right at the fork. You will the follow the trail up, up, up for a 2+ miles where you will then hit the first viewpoint, then a second (Pioneer Point) 1/8 mile later. Both make great lunch break points.
Continue West on mostly flat/rolling trail and then South to Nancy Russel Overlook. This stone edifice offers spectacular views of the Columbia River gorge. If the Falcon nesting closure is in effect, this makes a good turn-around point, otherwise drop down the gorge to the next viewpoint, and then another mile down until the last viewpoint over Cape Horn Falls. If the nesting closure is in effect, this is your mandatory turn around point.

If the trail is not closed, continue on down towards the water, then hike back along the water. Eventually you will connect with Cape Horn Road, which will return you to the trailhead.

Note that sections of the trail are closed from Feb 1 to Jul 15 due to falcon nesting.

There are no facilities along the trail so plan accordingly. Bring water. The trail can be a little rough in places so good footwear is recommended.
Written June 3, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Carrie B
Washougal, WA91 contributions
Dec 2019
If you want a good hike with a great view and a bit of a climb but not too steep with places to rest along the way, this is a good one. Good even if it is cloudy and grey, sunny and hot, or even when it is frosty and cold.
Written December 7, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Explore249926
4 contributions
Oct 2019
Nice moderate 7.5 mile loop in the Columbia River Gorge. Several beautiful overlooks. Did this hike in October, very quiet, not crowed, and took 2.5 hours.
Written November 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

NWNITTANY
Vancouver, WA62 contributions
Jan 2018 • Solo
I decided to do this hike today before it closes Feb. 1 for the peregrine falcon nesting season. It was a cold and very windy day, but the trail was in very good shape. I suggest doing the lower section first as you get the 1.3 mile of road hike out of the way. The views of the Columbia River Gorge are very good and you can view the some of the falls across the river and you will eventually pass by Cape Horn Falls. This is a 7.1 mile hike with 1350 feet of elevation gain. There were only a few areas where I felt like the trail was somewhat steep, but I never felt unsafe. There are some new bridges that have been built by the trail maintenance teams. They do a great job! If you want a simple hike without the whole loop, you can park at the trail head (Skamania County Park and Ride) and walk about 1 mile to the upper trail and get some great gorge view. I highly recommend this hike!!!
Written January 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Roamingrhonda
Washougal, WA126 contributions
Apr 2016 • Family
The people that maintain this trail must work long hours as every time I hike it, it seems to be better and better! Great workout with stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge.
Written September 12, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Cape Horn Trail (Washougal) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Cape Horn Trail