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Short easy walk. Several areas to access river bed. Our kids really enjoyed this and there were several families swimming/wading. The trees were amazing with a beautiful boardwalk and great informational placards.

Did this October 2017. Exposed. Great views of Columbia River. Extreme wind. More mountain bikers than hikers, except at top of ridge where it is extremely steep. Had to descend quickly due to storm, but it did bring a rainbow in addition to cold rain.

Did this on Mother’s Day. Great hike, beautiful views. Not great for our big dog—hike has no shade and rocks were too hot for his paws. Take care with dogs.

Worth the view, many different paths to choose from. Wasn’t too busy on a Sunday.

Took this short hike with family, including 2 4-yr olds. Went to the falls and back taking the right path. Easy hike with mostly shade. Very little water from the falls but still worth the trip. I want to go back in early spring when there is a lot of runoff. The falls should be amazing then.

Very easy hike yesterday... Trees were majestic, amazing, almost ethereal... Cool one person bridge.

Awesome hike yesterday... Took the east side trail from Grove of the Patriarchs... Nice easy hike in and out. Falls were amazing.

hiking
9 days ago

We had 5 small kids age 5-11 and only did the 1 mile straight hike to the falls. We did not continue on throughout the 4 mile loop. This hike did have an elevation change of 300 feet throughout the trail. Some parts of the trail are narrow and right along the edge. But the Silver Falls are amazing. We went at the end of June and the colors we bright and vibrant. It was pretty heavily trafficked too. This trailhead was somewhat difficult to find as it was tucked in to the trees. But it is directly across the street from the Grove of the Patriarchs trail parking lot and the Eastline Trail sign. Definitely worth the short hike.

Some beautiful large trees and a lovely green river! Family loved skipping rocks!

Gorgeous

Great well maintained trail! Beautiful area as well.

Set out on 4th of July. Started around 8:15 in the morning and crossed paths with just a few people. Both lakes were beautiful. Some patches of snow still, especially if you’re going all the way to the gap. We did it, but there was a sketchy patch with just hiking boots. Clear views of Rainer, Adams, and St. Helens if you do the whole trail to the gap. Worth the time and effort!

Gorgeous views from the top

Love this trail!

Nice forest hike, but falls were a little disappointing for the kids. Recommend taking the right leg of the loop up and down if you have kiddos or aren’t feeling spry, because the left leg has a bunch of rock scrambles that invite injuries with a slip, trip, or misstep.

hiking
14 days ago

We saw a coyote on another trail. The last mile is pretty uphill. Exposed - wear sunscreen. We made homemade tick repellent and were totally fine. No rattlesnakes but incredibly windy.

We loved this hike. I wouldn’t recommend bringing kids to the peak. The path is narrow, but the hike up to the lake is perfect for older kids 8+. Swing by both lakes. Not too many people.

hiking
14 days ago

Hiked yesterday! Great hike and some awesome views. Third time here and it never gets old. Have a nice YouTube video of the second hike and another one coming within the next few days

Beautiful hike! Took the dog and the kid.

Pretty easy hike over all. It’s shaded and great for a hot day. My only complaint is that there are lots of forks in the trail and it’s hard to know which to take because some lead to a harder path and some easier. Make sure to check for ticks after! We had one hitch a ride on on of the kids!

Really interesting and beautiful to look at the trees. And the bridge is a fun element!

Stunning views of the gorge and Mt. Hood!
Hike inside the butte through the gorge side you’ll see an opening and you’ll find the Petroglyph in front of what it looks like a chair. Petroglyph is hard to see as it has been vandalized.
Watch for rattlesnakes otherwise good hike for the family.
Need to pay parking fee.

*** If you want to see preserved petroglyphs, drive east, 2 miles up the road towards a camping ground. Take that exit and go pass the camping ground. You’ll see a small sign on your right that says petroglyphs ahead. You will not be disappointed!

backpacking
20 days ago

**part two**
Part One is posted in the review just below this one :)
— Super dog friendly, if your dog is the hiking/backpacking kind :)
— I’m apprehensive to link this because it seems like a dick move, but given how we saw the area last time, it feels irresponsible to not offer: Please visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles for Leave No Trace best practices, so we can all continue to enjoy the open spaces together.

I hope this was helpful, and you have a wonderful time out there!!

backpacking
20 days ago

There are mixed reviews out there on this hike that range from “baby strollers and grannies in mobility scooters can do it” to “prepare to free-solo El Cap in this one”. Here’s why:
- there are multiple trail heads. As one reviewer pointed out, one has you doing vertical scrambles that make you pause and consider if your Last Will and Testament is up to date; another has you shrugging and telling yourself it’s an “active rest” day.
- the near vertical scramble trail head is the farther east/ south east approach, with the lakes between you and the Colombia River. This approach is wicked fun, and drops you into Ancient Lake proper. This is a super good spot to cruise around for a place to make camp. It’s windy af, but beautiful and easy to sleep on.
- the gentle approach is the one from the north/north west that drops you between the Colombia and the ancient lakes. This is a stroll I assume anyone can do, because while we were out there, we ran into all sorts of folks ranging from less mobile to super fit. They all came out from the ancient lakes trail head several miles west of Ancient Lake proper, and very few of them seemed to know anything about our vertical descent into the basin.
- most of the people going towards the basin after our scramble out looked super underprepared for the scramble (e.g. flip-flops and hand carry items.) I think they thought they were getting the gentle route, not the oh-my-bleeps-and-stars route.

The confusion comes from AllTrails having some information, WTA having different information, and Google/Apple Maps having their own information. Makes it a lot to keep up with. WTA seems to have the directions for the scramblier route; Google Maps has the directions. AllTrails seems to have info on the kinder/gentler route; Apple Maps has those directions.

I printed Maps from AllTrails of the whole coulee, but went the WTA way to Ancient Lake because I love scrambles and the topo promised that to be a wild ride (I was not disappointed; this was a blast.) No matter which way you go, this area has TONS of potential. Here’s my suggestions for how best to enjoy.

— This is a great area to explore for everyone in the family. For a more challenging and strenuous experience, as there are awesome hikes up to Dusty Lake, and all along the ridgeway to Burke, Quincy, and Stan Coffin lakes. Dress it down by exploring the rolling hills down by Ancient Lake; you’ll get your walking in, but it won’t be a workout.
— Spend a few days/nights out if you can. This place is best if you can drop all your gear in a base-camp setup and go adventure out with just a daypack.
— Whether you’re day hiking or sleeping over, BRING. PLENTY. OF WATER. The lakes aren’t safe for drinking.
— It is exposed out here: sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, etc. We’re brown; we still protect ourselves when shade is at a premium. Mid day shade is at a premium here.
— These are “primitive” campsites out by the lakes, which means there are NO toilets. Bring a trowel and dig responsibly. We found quite a bit of dirty poo toilet paper all over the area. Dig deep, bury well, pack out the paper products.
— Bring a kite, a frisbee, and/or other lazy-day entertainment (we’re old; we napped) because the rock hopping and exploring is marvelous, but the mid-afternoon sun makes continued exposed hiking/exploring challenging. Play to the environment’s strengths and bring a kite!!
— Speaking of which, the stars are such a major plus if you’re camping out here :) Consider bringing a packable telescope if you’ve got the space for it, or downloading a star map app if that’s more your pace. If it’s a cloudless night, the milky way should be in full display.
— Again, I cant stress this enough, but bring plenty of water. The lake waters are undrinkable, even with filter/boil/purify/steri, because it’s all aggie runoff. For this reason, we didn’t swim in the lakes. I don’t know the official rule on this, but my thought was if we couldn’t drink it, we shouldn’t soak in it :( That part is a little heartbreaking. This is legitimately the only reason this area gets 4 stars. Drinkable/swimmable water would get 5 stars.
— Ok, we can’t drink the lake water, but mosquitoes totally get busy in it. If the wind isn’t blowing enough to make you worry if your tent will hold up, then unfortunately, there will be mosquitoes. Lots and lots and lots of them. Plan accordingly.
— Bear cans aren’t needed, but there are coyotes, so, I recommend cans. We didn’t bring them last time, but worried about our stuff because there wasn’t anywhere really to hang food. We buried our food bag under some hefty rocks, and that worked well.
— No trees for a food bag hang means also, again, limited coverage for shade. This also means limited ability to hang a hammock, if you’re a hammock camper. I am, but happened to be testing out some other gear that made bringing my tent necessary, which worked out.
— The ground is great for tent stakes!!
**part two posted above**

I hike this trail often since I live in the area. It's a really great, short hike and could easily be done with kids. I used to hike with my cat up there and he did it easily. I always find some muddy places on the trail, but nothing crazy! I definitely recommend it.

hiking
21 days ago

Less of a hike and more of a long walk in the desert to an oasis. Hiking boots are best because there are tons of rocks. The lakes are beautiful but bring plenty of water because the desert heat can be punishing. There's also several good sites to pitch tents near the lakes. The road to the trailhead is not in good condition and is marked with a sign as "primitive road". Just drive slowly and any regular car should be fine.

We did the trail to the peak and lake late June.The trail to the crystal peak is 3.8 miles and to the lake is 3 miles. The route separates after 1.6 mile. The crystal peak trail has great view of the Mt.Rainer. You need little bit of luck to have clear sky and all breathtaking views. Trail starts in the forest and you will have clear views about after 2 miles. Both trails to the lake and peak are steep.If you wanna do only one of trails I recommend doing the crystal peak as you will have view Rainer and both upper and lower crystal lake.

walking
21 days ago

Easy nice trail. The views of silver fall is astonishing.

Worth it, but it is hard. I’m a mediocre hiker, getting in shape, and building cardio, I was able to complete the loop. You’ll be walking uphill mostly, but the view is worth all the work. Did see a rattlesnake cross the trail, so be aware when walking around.

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