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TRAVEL: Falls Creek Falls, Washington

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The Falls Creek Falls Trail is one of my favorite hikes within 100 miles of Portland. Located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Skamania County, Washington, it is the perfect place to get away from the city, disconnect, and recharge your spirit.

The drive to the trail head won't disappoint whether you opt to take I-84 or WA-14 east from Portland or Vancouver along the Columbia River Gorge.

 Beware of the last two miles before the trail head along National Forest Road 3062. The road is dirt and full of potholes, so drive slow and be on the lookout for oncoming traffic. NF-3062 is gated from December 1st to April 1st so make sure you factor in an extra 4 miles round trip to your hike.
The trail is a easy to moderate 6.5 mile loop or 3.4 mile out-and-back excursion to the base of the waterfall and back to the parking lot.
Part of what I love so much about hiking in the Pacific Northwest is that the entire journey is almost as beautiful as the destination.
We went during a weekday and there were only a handful of other hikers, so we had the trail largely to ourselves.

"Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time." – Katrina Mayer

I have a love affair with trees. Tucker mocks me because I often stumble and stub my toes on rocks along the trail because I'm too busy staring up at the trees surrounding us.
You'll hear the thundering of the falls long before you see them...
... and then through the trees, they'll suddenly appear.
A stunning 335-foot cascade.
The trail is pet friendly, so opt outside with your furry loved ones and make both of your days. Remember the principles of Leave No Trace (and don't be that guy) — Bring pet waste bags, pick up after your pet along the way, and dispose of the waste properly when you get back to the parking lot.
We hung out for a few minutes before heading back the same route.
I'd love to go back again, bring lunch, and hike up to the top of the falls next time.
After your hike, stop at Backwoods Brewing Company on your way home and grab a flight from their extensive list of craft brews.
They have an awesome outdoor patio where you can relax and reward yourself for a job well done.
A beautiful hike and a nice cold beer — what could be better than that?

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