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Cape Horn Trail

Intermediate

Trail

5.3 mile 8.6 kilometer point to point
80% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,030' 314 m
Descent: -1,360' -415 m
High: 1,297' 395 m
Low: 163' 50 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 32% (18°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by Eric Ashley

A moderate trail jam-packed with views of the Columbia River Gorge.

Eric Ashley

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

The portion of this trail from below the Cape Horn Falls Overlook to where the trails connect with Cape Horn Road is closed each year from February 1 through July 15 for nesting falcons.

Runner Notes

Expect steady climbs, steep descents, and occasional exposure along this challenging run. This is a popular trail, so yield to other users appropriately.

Description

From the trailhead, the trail climbs steadily, switchbacking its way beneath a canopy of bigleaf maples to Pioneer Point. From this sheer edge, the area's verdant foothills and meadows beautifully frame the river below.

From here, the trail makes a brief descent before transitioning into a mellow climb. Keep left at the various junctions with an old wagon road along this section. The trail continues to casually follow the arch of the ridgeline as it heads to the first road section.

Upon reaching Strunk Road, cross over and join the left-veering singletrack on the other side. This is immediately followed by a gravel road with fields continuing on either side. Ahead, a cluster of trees growing along the road signals the start of more singletrack to the left. A little winding back-and-forth through the woods brings runners to the Nancy Russell Overlook. This stone overlook is well placed for enjoying broad panoramic views of the Columbia River Valley over a snack or lunch break.

When you're ready, continue following the trail as it switchbacks down to a crossing beneath the highway. This thickly forested area is quite pleasant year-round, but in the spring and early summer it fills with a riot of colorful wildflowers that are a delight to behold.

Ahead, the trail comes to an intersection with the Cape Horn Falls Overlook Trail, which is a short and worthwhile detour to see the falls from above. Continuing on, the trail steeply switchbacks to a long shelf perched above the river.

Not to be outdone, the shelf offers its own perspective of the river, as well as Cape Horn Falls, before connecting onto the public Cape Horn Road.

This content was contributed by Debbie Asakawa and the Friends of the Columbia Gorge. To find more runs they recommend and to learn about their efforts to support the Columbia Gorge click here.

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Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 4 votes

#16301

Overall
  3.8 from 4 votes
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Trail Rankings

#809

in Washington

#16,301

Overall
15 Views Last Month
476 Since Oct 14, 2016
Intermediate

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Photos

The Columbia River Gorge in the spring.
Oct 14, 2016 near Bridal…, OR
Cape Horn Loop Rocky Trail on Lower Section
Jan 1, 2019 near Washougal, WA
Cape Horn Loop Lookout
Jan 1, 2019 near Washougal, WA
Cape Horn Loop Lookout
Jan 1, 2019 near Washougal, WA
Cape Horn Loop Waterfall on lower section.
Jan 1, 2019 near Washougal, WA
Cape Horn Loop Lower Section Lookout
Jan 1, 2019 near Bridal…, OR

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