In and around Washougal, you can find many great hikes for your enjoyment. The Cape Horn loop hike allows for up to 8.3 miles of beautiful scenic views along with a variety of bird, wildflower and waterfall viewing.
Grab some breakfast, coffee or snack to take with you on the hike using your Washougal Discover Guide before heading out east of Washougal on Highway 14. The Cape Horn Trailhead is located at the Skamania County Transit Park & Ride lot near milepost 26.
This loop hike is a total length of 8.3 miles with a gain in elevation of 1,500 feet and is rated strenuous. The full loop can be hiked from July 16 – January 31. The lower portion of the Cape Horn trail is closed annually from February 1-July 15 to protect sensitive Peregrine Falcon habitat. From February through July you can hike the upper section of the trail. It will all be worth it for the beautiful views, bird viewing, waterfalls and seasonal wildflowers. There are restroom facilities at the trailhead and no fees to pay for access to the trail. Click HERE for a map and history of the trail.
As you head up, stay to the left on side trails to enjoy amazing views of the foothills and river that get more impressive the higher you go! Pioneer Point viewpoint is about 1-1/4 miles into the hike and is a turn-around point for some. From there the trail levels out and heads away from the river. You’ll want to keep bearing left and follow an old wagon road that becomes paved after 3/4 mile. Cross the road and follow a footpath to the left, and then head right at a gravel driveway heading back toward the river. You will pass a meadow and then leave the road to a trail to the left. Follow it to the Nancy Russell Overlook enjoying the incredible views. Here is a great best place to enjoy that snack.
After leaving the viewpoint you will join the trail downhill along switchbacks. In spring this area is full of wildflowers. Follow the trail for 1.25 miles to SR 14. If you are still up for more, cross under the highway using the pedestrian underpass and follow the trail across a creek straight through a four-way intersection. You will be rewarded with more views of Columbia River and a waterfall. Head to the Cape Horn Landing Road through a second underpass to the trailhead.