Cottonwood Beach & Columbia River Dike & Steigerwald NWR Hike

Hike Distance: 7.5 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 1479.2 miles

Elevation Gain: 161 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 195293 feet

We wanted to take advantage of the last day we could hike, on a seasonal trail, at the Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge.  Unfortunately, there is a trail that closes on 10/1/18 and reopens on 5/1/19.  As long as we’re out here we also decided to visit Cottonwood Beach and also hike the dike trail!

We started out by parking in an area near Cottonwood Beach.  Instead of visiting the beach we headed east along the dike.  The weather was cool and cloudy with very few people hiking there.  The views of the Columbia river and Gorge areas were awesome, and I stopped to take many pictures.  I especially enjoyed the reflections of the trees on the glass-like Columbia River!

We got to the end of the dike trail, where a private property fence resides.  We turned around and headed back to the seasonal trail that leads into the Steigerwald Wildlife Refuge.  It’s a beautiful, mostly treed trail, that was mostly devoid of people.  We stopped and sat at a bench for a while.  This trail loops through the wildlife refuge and ends up back on the dike.  Before getting back to the dike we crossed over two scenic bridges and got some stellar views.

Once we rejoined the dike we walked back towards Cottonwood Beach Park and headed along the shoreline.  The Columbia River is very low this time of year and we were able to get to sandy areas that aren’t typically accessible.  I took plenty of pictures on the beach.

After walking west along the beach we soon reached the point where we could head back to the dike trail, and our car.  Just as we reached our car it began to rain.  What amazing timing.  An amazingly relaxing day and well worth the visit! 🙂