Hike Distance: 7.9 miles Yearly Hike Distance: 1183.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 131 feet Yearly Elevation Gain: 123942 feet
The Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area is continuing to burn up. We can’t believe this is happening, and to say it’s a tragedy is an understatement. The smoke is making travel and breathing very difficult. We decided to head out to the Willapa Hills Trail to escape some of the smoke, and this worked for the first half of the hike! The hike was cut short due to the heat and smoke filled air.
We parked at the Lebam, WA trailhead, and were the only car there. Lebam reminds us of a ghost town, and only the church, and maybe an auto repair place, appears to be in business. The restaurant and store look to have been vacated long ago.
We started hiking west on the trail, but quickly found that a segment of the trail was overgrown with grasses, and just wasn’t walk-able. We found out later, from a couple on an ATV, that the bridge over the creek was damaged in 2007 and hasn’t been repaired. The couple also mentioned that we could walk the road around the bridge and continue on, without any other issues, to South Bend (on the coast).
We turned around and hiked east on the remainder of the hike. This portion of the Willapa Trail is unimproved, but is fine to walk! This section feels like your walking through farm country, but many of the residences look vacated. There are plenty of road and driveway crossings. Even though it was hot it was a very pleasant hike, and completely devoid of people. 🙂 This hike is perfect for the hunting season since it’s next to a highway, most of the time. We’ll be coming back here again!