[/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.
[/caption] The trail that leads to triple falls is one of the most scenic and spectacular trails in the Gorge. The trail leads you past four beautiful and very photogenic waterfalls, unbelievable views of the gorge and the Columbia River, old growth forest and parallels the creek that feeds the waterfalls. The best time to visit is between May and early July. This is the best time to catch the creeks at their highest level and the foliage is usually in full bloom. The wildflowers are also spectacular and some of the most widespread in the Pacific Northwest. However, since the weather can be unpredictable, sometimes the foliage can stay dormant well into June depending on the temperatures during spring. The photo that I posted is the most popular viewing area of the waterfall and you can really see just how awesome this part of the gorge really is. The creek climbs several miles past Triple Falls and the trail parallels the creek and offers millions of photo opportunities. I may sound bias but this part of the Pacific Northwest makes any other parts of the world look like a desert. To get this shot I made sure to use my tripod, bubble level and remote switch. The viewing area is a very uneven and steep cliff so setting up your tripod can be tricky and only one person at a time can take this photo since it’s so narrow. I set the camera mode at shutter priority and set the shutter speed at 4 seconds. The ISO was at 100 and I adjusted the white balance to -0.7. I was using my Sigma 17-70mm lens and set the focal length at 17mm in order to get the most panoramic view as possible without having any vignetting. The day was mostly overcast and the sun was directly behind the waterfall. It was about 12:30pm but since the clouds were moving so fast I just waited for the best opportunity. If you plan on visiting and expect to get a photo of triple falls without having dozens of people sitting along the waterfall you want to come during a weekday and a very overcast or rainy day since hikers like to sit just above the waterfall and take pictures. I was pretty fortunate to only have to wait for two hikers to eventually move away from the area before I could get to work. the elevation gain to triple falls is only about 600 feet but you could continue all the way to larch mountain if you’re up to the 6.5 mile hike. This is one hike that you will truly be glad you took and you can expect some of the most fantastic views of your life.