Geared up for another day in the Gorge, we headed off to Bridal Veil Falls State Park. This is my kind of park — nice parking lot, picnic tables and grassy area, plus “real” bathrooms! As most readers know, I’m not up for camping or roughing it in the outback, but I do love nature and am willing to enjoy it comfortably so this is a perfect place for me. There are two short trails available here. The first is a 2/3 mile interpretive loop that passes through wildflower meadows and camas fields with three vistas of the Columbia River. The second is a 1-mile round trip trail to the falls. We chose the latter and were immediately immersed in a lush green landscape full of moss-covered maples and Douglas Fir. One thing you learn in photography is to look not just in front of you but in every direction — to move your body as well as the camera. At every turn on this trail, there was some new angle to photograph.
In the 1880’s, large-scale commercial logging and lumbering at the western edge of the Gorge began at this location so there are remnants of the mill pond, log flume, and other structures. However, the myriad local flora have pretty much taken over the area.
After following the steep but not difficult trail full of switchbacks, we came to a bridge passing over Bridal Veil Creek — our first stop for a few prize shots.
Just beyond the bridge, Bridal Veil Falls came into full view. Though just 120 feet high, these falls are no less impressive than the others. They are the only falls where the basalt rock formations so prevalent throughout the Gorge aren’t visible underneath resulting in a solid flow of white water which makes them all the more enchanting.
You might wonder why we didn’t hike the second trail as well. Upon returning to the the main entrance, we considered it but decided against it for a couple of reasons. We were sure the vistas would be amazing, but we had already seen a few and that sort of thing is much better appreciated with the naked eye than through the lens of a camera. It’s very difficult to capture all the details your eye can see and photographs can be disappointing. Also, you have to keep in mind that we are each hiking with heavy packs of camera equipment and, well… we’re not so young anymore. There’s always next time.
At the entrance to the park, I discovered this quote on a sign and couldn’t agree more…
“Water, in its many forms, provides some of the earth’s most beautiful landscapes. Rivers, lakes, and coasts all offer images of scenic beauty, but undoubtedly waterfalls are the most impressive.” ~ Gregory A. Plumb, A Waterfall Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest, 1989
During the past four years, the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge has been repeatedly devastated by natural disasters — first by the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017 which almost consumed the renown Multnomah Falls Lodge and more recently by this year’s severe winter storms causing flooding and active landslides which have closed many trails and obstructed the historic highway. We were fortunate to finally be able to enjoy at least some of its bountiful beauty… looking forward to many return visits.
Meanwhile, stay tuned for our Columbia Gorge Photo Gallery that will be posted once we’ve processed all the images we shot with our Nikon D810.