East of Portland and southwest of Cascade Locks in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the Gorge Trail (#400) is a scenic route winding up and down side gorges within the Columbia River Gorge. There it passes numerous waterfalls and is centered about Multnomah Falls. This is a 12.8 mile route from Ainsworth State Park in the east to Angels Rest Trailhead in the west. The total elevation gain is about 1,600 feet.
To reach the trailhead at Angel's rest, Eastbound I-84 – Take exit # 28 Bridal Veil south toward the Historic Columbia River Highway. The trailhead is directly across from the highway junction. Look for a small sign and gravel pullout. From Ainsworth, Eastbound I-84 – Take exit # 28 Bridal Veil. Drive east 5.6 miles on the Historic Columbia River Highway or until 0.5 mile east of Horsetail falls. Parking will be on the right. Follow the Ainsworth Trail for 0.1 mile to Trail # 400. From Westbound I-84 – Take exit # 35 Ainsworth State Park. Continue on the Historic Columbia River Highway for 1 mile (1.6 km) to the Ainsworth rest area on the left.
The first 4.8 miles of this hike are part of Angel’s Rest Trail # 415. Continue on from this panoramic viewpoint through Wahkeena Creek basin to Trail # 420. Hike down past Fairy Falls, a 20 to 30 foot tiered waterfall, before reaching Wahkeena Falls and the return trail to Multnomah Falls. This 620 foot plunge waterfall is the most popular visitor attraction in Oregon. It provides restaurant, visitor center, restrooms, gift shop, and scenic viewpoints. Follow a section of Larch Mountain Trail # 441 before rejoining Trail # 400 and continue along the cliffs overlooking the gorge.
This is a difficult trail to follow on the maps since it shares routes with other trail number segments.
Note: This trail receives pretty heavy usage, especially on the weekends. Try to get out early on weekdays if you are looking for any type of solitude.
Also check out nearby Wauna Viewpoint Trail (#402 / 1 mi.), Buck Point Trail (#439 / 1 mi.).
Overall, Gorge Trail is the 17th most popular walking & backpacking of all 21 hiking in Oregon.