Angel’s Rest/Devil’s Rest Loop
After two weeks without a hike, this weekend was a hike-no-matter-what sort of weekend, so Saturday came with overcast skies and the threat of rain, but we laced up our hiking boots anyway and brushed it off as a benefit that at least not as many people would be on the trails.
Our weekend adventures was the Angel’s Rest/Devil’s Rest loop of the Columbia River Gorge. This hike is considered moderate level/family friendly as the first part (up to Angel’s Rest) is only a 2.4mi hike up to the exposed bluff of the Columbia River Gorge with amazing views.
The hike was awesome, but challenging (for future reference: do not start Insanity the day before attempting this hike…my quads were screaming!) with lots of uphills. I’m not sure I would agree with this being a family-friendly hike since some of trail gets narrow and rocky and once you arrive on the bluff there are no rails.
At around the halfway point up to Angel’s Rest, you reach a switchback in the trail where the energy grows suddenly solemn and haunting. In 1991, the summit burned in a fire, and although much of the forest has begun to grow back, the survivors carry black scorch marks and there are dead trees standing as silent ghosts watching the hikers. This area inspires the need to talk in hushed voices and gently touch the scorched bark of the surviving giants with awe that they survived.
The top of the bluff at Angel’s Rest is as stunning as you can imagine. With a 270 degree view of the river and the mountains of Washington on the other side, I could have sat there for hours gawking at how beautiful nature can be and looking down from where we began our hike and internally patting myself on the back for climbing that high.
At this point it began to sprinkle and the other hikers began making their way back to the trailhead, but drunk off the beautiful views from Angel’s Rest, we weren’t so eager to leave after such a short hike, so we decided to continue on and complete the Angel’s Rest/Devil’s Rest loop.
It was perfectly fitting for this second part of our hike that the rain created first a fairytale-like atmosphere which changed into a spookier mood and thinned out the other hikers (we only saw a handful on the remainder of the trail). The hike to Devil’s Rest via Foxglove Trail takes you back down a bit through soft, needle-covered trails that are a bit more rugged since they are only maintained by volunteers. We were thankful for the rain and cooler temps because climbing back up again (to a higher point than Angel’s Rest) was ROUGH. When we finally reached Devil’s Rest, we were the only ones there so we took a rest on the creepy, moss-covered nest of rocks, shrouded in cloud and obscured by scraggly trees to catch our breaths before climbing back down.
We ended the day having completed a 10.64mi hike with about 1 mile climbing and 1 mile back down, probably one of the more challenging hikes we’ve ever done and we were both hobbling around the rest of the weekend.