[/caption] Several trails along the Columbia River Gorge traverse high above the waterfalls and allow hikers some pretty spectacular views of the Columbia River far below. I took this photo from a vantage point just above Yeon Park. A part of the trail meanders along the basalt rock with a long stretch of iron railing protecting hikers from a 300 foot fall below. The trail might be a little scary for hikers that are afraid of heights or if you’re afraid of narrow paths that were scraped from the rocks and allow no protection from the elements. However, the view is amazing, with Washington State standing behind the Columbia River with an island standing in the middle of the river. The hiking trail actually ends just a few hundred feet from where I took this photo with Upper McCord Creek Falls your ultimate destination and turning back point. I actually took this shot without my tripod or CIR-PL due to the overcast skies. There was absolutely no sun and it was raining most of the time, which made it hard to hike along parts of the trail that were open to the elements. On a clear and sunny day Mt. Adams would be just to the right of this photo with more views of the foothills of the Washington Cascades.
[/caption] The Upper McCord Creek waterfall is located just above Elowah Falls. The trail scrambles up a fairly steep part of the gorge and is located directly above Elowah falls, which is fed by the same creek. The elevation gain is about 620 feet and the top of the trail was dynamited in order to allow hikers to access the falls. There are steel handrails that prevent hikers from falling to their death but there are still some areas where the handrails aren’t located and the drops are just as dangerous. The view from the top is amazing with bald eagles, osprey and turkey vulture’s soaring just below. Very few people know about this hike and most of the people that do decide to hike here usually hike to Elowah falls rather than make the steep ascent to the top of the cliffs. The hike starts at Yeon park and there are no facilities and only limited parking. The best view of the waterfall is right off the main trail and there are a few amazing spots to set up your tripod. It almost like the forest intentionality set up the spots for photographers to camp out. Above the waterfall is McCord creek and you can see it winding through the forest as it disappears in the distance. To get this shot I made sure to use my tripod in order to avoid any camera shake or blur. I attached my warming filter, ND4 and CIR-PL. I made sure to turn off the OS on my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 21mm. I had the camera mode in shutter priority and set the shutter speed at 2 seconds. I set the ISO at 100 and the white balance at -0.7 which made the aperture automatically set at F-10. It was about 3:50pm when I took this photo and the sun was well hidden behind the forest and cliffs. There are several wildflowers along the trail so you may want to bring along your macro/prime lens as well. I wanted to completely frame the waterfall with the neon green vegetation surrounding it and this photo pretty much shows that.