MARCH

Wahclella Falls is one of my favorite waterfalls anywhere. It’s been closed since the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017.

Grove of Ponderosa pines along the Klickitat River.

Cottonwood Canyon and the John Day River.

  1. Netarts Spit

  2. Cape Lookout

  3. Drift Creek Falls

  4. Tualatin Hills Nature Park

  5. Elowah and Wahclella Falls (Closed due to fire damage)

  6. Hamilton Mountain

  7. Hood River Pipeline Trail

  8. Lower Klickitat River Trail

  9. Lyle Cherry Orchard

  10. Cottonwood Canyon

Ahhh, March! The month of the year in which winter turns to spring, the weather is merely lousy rather than appalling. With the longer days and warmer temperatures, you can at last start to explore some of the area’s summits without needing snowshoes. The warmer days and the longer days finally allow you to explore some of the area’s canyons without fear of ice (most of the time). And last but not least, flower season kicks off in earnest in March, especially in the Columbia River Gorge.

Of all the months of the year, only October can rival the unpredictability of March weather. You should be prepared for almost anything. Over the years I’ve lived in the Portland area, I’ve experienced everything from ice storms and snow to sunny and 75, and almost everything imaginable in between. Always be sure to bring the Ten Essentials even if you’ve managed to catch one of those glorious sunny days. Make sure you have a full tank of gas
when you leave civilization behind. And above all else, make sure you tell somebody else where you are going. Even on those sunny days, one mistake, one missed step or one bad break can very easily become a life-threatening situation.

Most of the hikes here are fine in any weather, but some are much nicer when the weather is nice. The hikes on the east side of the Gorge are all much better in sunny weather; given that these hikes are located in the rain shadow east of the Cascades, you are much more likely to encounter nice weather. As always at this time of the year, you should check the weather forecast for the nearest town before you leave the house. Last but not least,
March also marks the beginning of tick season in the Gorge; make sure you check your clothing during and after hikes in the Gorge, particularly those in the eastern Gorge. The best strategy for dealing with ticks is vigilance.