A couple of weeks ago, my son and I took a trip to Larch Mountain. I hadn’t been in years. He didn’t remember going there ever. You do need a park pass to park in the parking lot. It’ll cost you $5. I didn’t realize that until I was all the way up there. A lot of the places I hike at in Oregon are free. I was not dressed in hiking boots or tennis shoes or even comfortable sandals. Luckily, it isn’t a long hike to get to Sherrard Point.
In early summer, there are lots of wildflowers along the path. There are stairs to climb to get to the top, so if you can’t do stairs, you may want to sit this one out, even though it is only a short hike.
The view from the top is worth it – even if you’re wearing uncomfortable dress sandals! You can see Mt St Helens, Mt Adams, Mt Hood, and Mt Jefferson and on a good day, Mt Rainier. Mt Rainier was hiding in the clouds the day we went, but we could see the other 4 mountains quite clearly.
Sherrard Point used to be a fire observatory before it was converted into a fenced in observation lookout at the top of the path. Larch Mountain is an extinct volcano that hasn’t been active in over 1.4 million years. You can hike from Multnomah Falls all the way up to Larch Mountain if you’re up to doing a pretty long hike. We chose to just walk up the 0.3 mile long path from the parking lot to the view point and then back down again. The road to the upper trail head is closed during the winter months so make sure to go in the spring, summer or fall.
Cascade Locks often times is the end of a long days adventure in the Columbia River Gorge. We usually like to get ice cream at East Wind Drive In, and my son and I like to go over to Marine Park next door and walk around. The Sternwheeler, a large paddle wheel boat, is located there near the Locks Waterfront Grill. There’s a wonderful bronze sculpture that I love of Sacagawea and Seaman, the dog, in Sacagawea Circle to the side of the Grill, and a funny Sasquatch carving out behind the Grill that is just too cute in all of his glorious grumpiness.
There are even a few love locks started on the fence facing the Sternwheeler. They started the love locks several years ago, but it hasn’t really taken off as well as it would if it was in a more urban area. If you ever make it out that way, remember to bring your love locks to attach to the fence and throw away the key, locking in your love forever. Blah, blah, blah… And all that other romantic BS. But yes, bring them anyway, whether you’re romantic or not, so I can take photos of them somewhere down the road on a future trip. After all, what better place to lock in your love than in Cascade Locks?
It’s usually a breezy walk along the path on the waterfront, but even more so once you head on over to Thunder Island. Sometimes you catch fishermen on the fishing platforms along the water, but other days there’s not a single one in sight. We didn’t see any this time around. I believe they refer to these as the Indian Fishing Platforms. You’ll even notice they have no trespassing signs them as well.
There are mysterious looking stairs leading right down into the water with nowhere to go. Perhaps a tiny boat docking area? These are in the canal between Thunder Island and the mainland. Which is also where the fishing platforms are.
The view looking towards the Bridge of the Gods off of the boat docking area is amazing! Just wow. I love the Pacific Northwest. When it’s not raining.
It looks like you can have a wedding or party out on Thunder Island. There is a wooden arch out near the river with a view of a tiny island right behind it. What a gorgeous place to have a wedding!