Cape Horn Trail - Elbow Room for the Soul

Thursday, January 21, 2016

“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or a spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”  John Muir

We love to hike – the three of us, my husband, Bernie, our dog, Mac, and me. Right now, the wet weather is keeping us from many of our favorite trails. Muddy, slick, and washed out sections can create treacherous trail conditions this time of year. Spring can’t come soon enough for us

One of the spots we’re anxious to return to is the Cape Horn Loop. It’s about a 15 minute drive from Washougal. The trail winds through a forest of coniferous and deciduous trees and gives you stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge. The lush landscape is dotted with gorgeous wildflowers in the Spring. And in the Fall, autumn foliage is breathtaking.

This isn’t a family friendly trail to hike as it’s not up to the typical Forest Service standards. Hikers need to be prepared for steep, rocky terrain especially in the lower section. Some of the viewpoints have precipitous drops. It’s important to stay back from the edges and keep dogs clipped to a leash.

A good spot to take in the views, in a safe environment for all ages, is the Nancy Russell Overlook. Russell and her husband bought up land and prevented future subdivision for being developed. Her vision and efforts are the reason we can all enjoy this amazing trail, and the most breathtaking views in all the Gorge.

The last time we hiked the trail we couldn’t get to the Cape Horn Falls. The lower section of the trail is close from February 1 to July 15 to protect Peregrine Falcon nesting habitat. Our ability to continue using the trail is based upon compliance. Plus, it’s a $5,000 fine for violating the closure.

We hope you enjoy this video of our June hike at the Cape Horn Trail.

Filed under: Mac Moments | Nature | Washougal