We have had very few if any family outings this summer as my husband Chris has been going on all of these camps with the boys. I am glad he reaches out as a Boy Scout assistant scout master planning these wonderful outdoor adventures. He was also a youth group church camp leader this year.
But, I miss our all-family outings, over-night trips, camping trips, day trips. Wherever as long as it’s together trips.
So, with mid August here, and there being literally no weekends left, I began getting panicky. I felt sad that the summer is almost over. I knew we would not be going on any big road trips as we often do. We just had too much on our plate with the weddings this past year and a half. But, I still wanted to do something as a family. Time just somehow gets away and I just have not found my groove this summer for some reason.
I need to get away from the city. From the rat race. From the same old. Something about adventure outdoors calls me.
And, going places as a family. It grounds us and provides roots.
I asked Chris if he had been to Angel’s Rest, but he had not. Yet, I wanted to do something new. And, because Gus would be hanging out with his friend Justin, whose family was taking him to Hood River to pick fruit, we were able to plan a longer hike.
After googling hikes with kids in the Columbia River Gorge, we decided upon Devil’s Rest. It was closer than some of the hikes Chris was suggesting that started in Hood River. After hiking to the summit of Angel’s Rest, I thought it’d be fun to do the opposite one – the devil’s hike.
And, it was longer, a seven-mile round trip.
The starting point was at Wahkeena Falls, which is near Multnomah Falls, so close to Portland. On a Sunday, Multnomah Falls was packed so we made sure to park by Wahkeena Falls Trailhead, which was popular enough.
The Wahkeena Trail is for a variety of fitness levels. There are shorter hikes that you can take such as the Wahkeena Falls Hike and the Fairy Falls Hike. But since we had only our 15-year-old twins and not our 10-year-old with us, I wanted to go on the longer hike, to the top of Devil’s Rest, over seven miles round trip
The trail begins with interesting stonework and a wooden bridge over Wahkeena Creek. As the trail meanders with switchbacks you come to a stone bridge at the base of Wahkeena Falls. Then, the trail begins its steep incline, with majestic rock walls and views along the route. We find Lemmon’s Viewpoint along the way and the other views of the river are gorgeous. We anticipate a great view at the summit for sure. The hike is paved for this part of the journey.
After this point though, the trail turns to dirt, which I prefer for my knees, and we enter what is called Wahkeena Canyon area, which is quite narrow. The trail switches back before we reached Fairy Falls. We took advantage of the benches to rest along the way. Above Fairy Falls, the trail makes several short switchbacks and reaches a junction with the Vista Point Trail. Here there are some options.
The boys did their usual trotting up the hill while Chris and I huffed and puffed along the way, sweating a bunch. And, even though the boys were barely breathing, they wanted to return to the car, but I wanted to continue to the Devil’s Rest summit, our original goal. After all, I had to compare the two hikes – Angel’s vs. Devil’s Rest.
The sign said 1.6 miles to the top.
The hike began quite steep before leveling off, with fewer and fewer people on the trail for this last 1.6 miles uphill. The trail got narrower as well, and I was anticipating a great view at the top. There were a few teasers along the way.
The twins ran ahead, and when I say ran, I mean hiked quickly. They are in such great shape. The majestic trees along the way were so breathtakingly beautiful. This is why I have to get out into the woods.
What? Are they sure they actually reached the top, I wondered. I of course had to witness this for myself.
So, they walked with me to the top and sure enough. We were at the highest point and there is no view at Devil’s Rest Summit.
We analyzed and compared the two names of the hikes we did in two of our adventures- Angel’s Rest, which had a great view at the summit, and now Devil’s Rest, with no view. The twins suggested that maybe that is why they call this Devil’s Rest. You believe there will be a view, but there is none at the summit.
I asked my standard, what is the lesson here. We mentioned that it was disappointing at the top, but that is part of life sometimes. We have expectations but not all of them are fulfilled.
And they told me I should have believed them that there was no view at the top, but I told them sometimes in life; you have to experience it for yourself. Another lesson.
I also asked them if they are glad we decided to go all the way to the top and not turn around before reaching the top, and they mumbled, sure. Another lesson. Don’t turn around early. Complete your goals. How about, have goals to begin with.
After having a snack on the summit of Devil’s Rest, it was time to head down. The twins decided to just meet us at the bottom. They practically ran down again. Downhills are actually harder for my knees than uphills.
Chris and I made our way down part of the way together. Not too far from the summit, we found a little outcropping from the trail that we decided to meander onto.
So, the Devil’s Rest hike near the summit had a view after all. It was just harder to find, and it was not at the summit.
That’s what I love about our summer outdoor adventure with kids. The surprises, the exploring, the things you discover on the way.
[Note: This hike is for older kids, above 13, I suggest, though there are shorter variations on this hike.]
To get here: From Portland, drive I-84 East and take Exit 28 (Bridal Veil). Drive east on the Historic Highway about two and half miles to the Wahkeena Trailhead and Campground. You can park there. If you are coming from the east, take exit 35 (Ainsworth Park) and drive about five and a half miles west on the Historic Highway to the same parking lot.