April 12, 2019
Catherine Creek Labyrinth Out and Back
By: Mary Pellegrini
Catherine Creek is an area of unique natural beauty and great botanical significance. About 20 miles from the Old Parkdale Inn, you’ll find over ninety species of wildflowers in the area, from grass widow, which blankets the ground as early as February, to western ladies’ tresses, which may bloom into July.
The Catherine Creek Universal Access Trail offers dramatic views of the Columbia River and Mount Hood. ‘Hike through beautiful rock structures, oak woodlands and wildflowers galore in the spring. One of the most treasured gems of the Gorge.’ Friends of the Columbia Gorge
The paved, universal access trail offers two levels of difficulty for wheelchairs. The short 0.25-mile “easy” route will take you to a viewpoint overlooking Catherine Creek Falls. The “moderate” routes form loop opportunities up to 1.25 miles in length through open grasslands, vernal ponds, and oak woodlands.
This pretty forest area offers a unique experience in Washington: a walk in a natural hardwood deciduous forest. You’ll find a lovely old oak forest stand on the slope above Catherine Creek, as well as great gardens of spring wildflowers. The trails are well maintained and easy, making this a wonderful place to bring novice hikers or other folks not used to hiking: The well-graded trails make this a literal walk in the park. At both ends of the gentle loop, enjoy great views from established viewpoints.
Let the Old Parkdale Inn be your home base when exploring the Hood River Valley, Columbia River Gorge or the Mt Hood National Forest. Whether your idea of a good vacation is fresh tracks on Mt Hood or relaxing in our gardens with a good book and your favorite beverage, there's something near by for everyone.