Hike Distance: 8.1 miles Yearly Hike Distance: 340.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 674 feet Yearly Elevation Gain: 44877 feet
My son wanted to check out the Deschutes River Trail as he volunteered to take a group from The Mountaineers on a hike in the Columbia River Gorge, this spring. It’s a long drive, but it was a gorgeous day and the (almost) two hour drive (one way) went fairly fast. We parked just off the Celilo-Wasco Hwy, and got the last parking spot! This was the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic, so we felt somewhat safe, since the Old Railroad Trail is quite wide.
We decided to make a large loop, utilizing the River Trail to go south, and then we used a road, about 4 miles out, to cut back to the Old Railbed Trail, and head back to the car. It was a crowded day, and the River Trail wasn’t very wide :(, but we gave plenty of clearance to other hikers.
The River Trail is very scenic, and gets you close to the Deschutes River. The grasses were quite high here, and it worried me a bit because of the high tick population in this area. I was wearing brand new Insect Shield clothing, but me son wasn’t. We kept going anyway, and figured the previous hikers most likely ran into the ticks before we did. haha
About halfway of our southbound hike, you’ll go around a rocky area that has a few sketchy areas, but it really isn’t too bad, but might bother some people. After going around this rocky area, and are heading due south, you can look up and see a small arch! It’s a very nice little arch but you can only really access it while on the Railbed Trail.
We continued along the River Trail and finally reached a graveled road, which will ascend up to the Railbed Trail. Once on the Railbed Trail the views of the Deschutes River take on a an incredible grandeur! We headed a bit south, for a while, before turning around. The walk back, on the Railbed Trail are filled with amazing views of the sorrounding hills, and the Descutes River.
We got back to the TH very quickly, but did stop to take photos, and look at the arch. At the time of writing this trip report, everything is now closed due to the Pandemic. It’s a must to place this hike on your bucket list. We had a fantastic day, and even got treated to an impressive sunset along the drive home. A truly remarkable day with my son!!