Multnomah Falls is the main attraction in the Columbia River Gorge, but just a few miles to the west is another jewel: the exposed 1,600-foot bluff called Angel’s Rest.
Just how popular is this spot? On April 27, a sunny Saturday with hardly any wind, more than 100 cars could be counted in the main and overflow parking lots and along the Scenic Columbia River Highway just off the Bridal Veil exit at Interstate 84.
While some hikers trek to trails beyond the Angel’s Rest area, most weekend visitors do the round-trip hike to the bluff — a distance of 4.8 miles.
Prepare for a moderately difficult hike.
“It’s not the most grueling hike, but you’re gaining 1,500 feet of elevation in two-and-a-half miles,” Stan Hinatsu, recreation manager for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, said.
If you go, be sure bring a water bottle, snacks and sunscreen.
The first somewhat rocky portion of the trail quickly leads to views of the Columbia River to the north.
A fire in 1994 damage a swath of the Angel’s Rest area.
The burn, however, opened up views near the top.
Resting below the summit April 27, the Juhl family, of Salem — Ben, Melissa and their three children younger than 5 — took in the view looking west toward Troutdale.
“It’s a beautiful view, said Ben.
“We took a few breaks but we made it,” added Melissa, noting that the Angel’s Rest Trail is not as steep as the Multnomah Falls Trail.
Ben said it took the family about an hour and a half to make it to that point.
At the top of the bluff, hikers did what the bluff’s name suggests: They rested on the rocks and took in a broad expanse of the magnificent Columbia River Gorge.