Of all the times to hit the trail, Fall may be the best. The leaves are changing, there's a crisp breeze through the trees, and the trails are significantly less crowded. The Columbia River Gorge is a must-do Oregon adventure. There's a hike for everyone-- be it one upstream a river bed to a private waterfall or a steep climb to panoramic views of the Gorge below.
Naked Juice contacted me earlier this summer to collaborate and tell the story of their new juices that are hitting the shelves this year. I genuinely love these juices and am so excited to share this collaboration with you. Inspired by Naked Juice's deep tradition of goodness, over the next few months I'll be showing off the best-of-the-best, iconic adventures and the tasty juices fueling me on this tour de Oregon. Check out my past adventures white water rafting on the Deschutes River in June, playing in the waves at the Oregon Coast in July, exploring Crater Lake National Park in August for more get-up-and-go outdoors inspiration.
WHAT'S IN MY DAY PACK
There are a few basics that hikers should always bring in his or her day pack such as warm layers, extra food and water, and a small wilderness survival kit. (Here's a list from REI to get you started,) but don't feel daunted by not having the "right" gear. There's a good chance that you already have most of what you need. I'd also recommend purchasing a Northwest Forest Pass if you plan on going on a few hikes this year as it will save you on trailhead parking fees.
Additions such as a stylish but durable outdoors pack (Cotopaxi Gear for Good), warm hat (Krochet Kids), active wear gloves (Nike), assorted snacks, and Naked Juice are all fun ways to up the ante for your day pack when you head off into the woods this Fall.
FUEL UP WITH Naked Juice
This month's adventure to the Columbia River Gorge is powered by Chia Cherry Lime and Chia Sweet Peach. Both juices are equally tasty (and maybe my favorite Naked Juice drinks yet.) Each bottle contains 10,000 chia seeds full of Omega-3s, fiber, calcium, and iron, making for a sweet way to fuel up for your new favorite trails.
FAVORITE HIKES IN THE COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE
If you’re up for an adventure, Oneonta Gorge is an Oregon hike unlike any other. Although only 1.2 miles round trip, there is no traditional trail. Instead, the “trail” is a hike upstream and a scramble over a massive, slippery log jam. Summer and early fall are the best times to go when the weather is warm and water levels are low. Some swimming is involved unless you have a little experience rock climbing— and in that case, you can traverse the rocks around the deeper end to reach the finish line. The reward is Lower Oneonta Falls, a private waterfall with a shallow pool surrounded by the moss covered canyon walls of the gorge. Oneonta Gorge is beautiful albeit an adrenaline rush. As it is one of the most fun and popular hikes in the Columbia River Gorge, be sure to go on a weekday or early enough in the day to miss the heavy crowds on Saturdays and Sundays.
Angel’s Rest boasts arguably the best view of the Columbia River Gorge. The incredible 280-degree vista is earned over a 1,540 ft. elevation gain. At over 4.8 miles round-trip, the path crosses through a beautiful mature forest in the Cooper Creek valley before making the ascent to Angel’s Rest. It’s a well-known route for hikers and trail runners and, like most Gorge hikes, it’s busy on the weekends. Early birds will have the best luck of experiencing the breathtaking views in peace and quiet. Ambitious hikers can opt to trek on to Devil’s Rest from the fork before Angel’s Rest summit.
Out of all of the Columbia River Gorge hikes, Eagle Creek is the classic go-to choice for local hikers. Set in the Columbia River Gorge just outside of Cascade Locks, Eagle Creek was carved from the cliffs in the 1910s by the Columbia River Highway project. The trail weaves in and out of the forest for stunning views of tree lines and waterfalls. Although the hike itself is on even ground and doable for most fitness levels, it is not for those afraid of heights. When coming out of the trees, the trail becomes increasingly narrow around a few tight bends that drop off into the canyon below. The Eagle Creek trailhead offers a variety of mileage options such as the popular Punch Bowl Falls at 3.3 miles and Tunnel Bridge at 6.6 miles. Eagle Creek is also a top choice for weekend backpacking excursions.
Although technically Dog Mountain is in Washington, no Columbia River Gorge hiking guide would be complete without it. The 6.9-mile hike is breathtaking. (Both literally and figuratively.) It's known as one of most difficult hikes in the Gorge as it swiftly gains about 2,800 feet in elevation after a grueling set of switchbacks and a steep climb to the top. While Dog Mountain is well-worth it in the springtime to view the wildflowers in bloom, Fall is a perfect time to enjoy the panoramic views without the crowds.
Disclaimer: Naked Juice graciously provided The Paper Airplane with a sponsorship to share amazing adventures with you. As always, all opinions are my own. The goal of The Paper Airplane is to share the best of the best in travel experiences, products, food, and entertainment. If it’s reviewed, it’s because the given entity is genuinely awesome.