Latourell Falls is in the western region of the Columbia River Gorge and is one of the most beautiful and most visited of the falls, in part because of its accessibility from the Old Columbia River Highway. The Gorge was devastated this fall by a massive forest fire, and much of it remains closed to hiking and exploring due to instability of the burned areas, leaving many of us to worry and wonder about the state of this beautiful area. Last week, on learning that the Latourell falls trail was open, I hiked the trail all the way to the upper falls to get a first-hand idea of the current state, and to my great surprise and relief, I found the area virtually untouched by any visible fire damage! Evidently, despite all the legendary gorge winds, the fire did not spread this far west, and the area looks as pristine and beautiful as ever. This view shows many of the interesting features of the lower falls, from the forest, to the varied patterns of the columnar basalt, to the radiant lichens which color the rock. Click on image to enlarge.