In early October 1991, massive fires engulfed portions of the Mount Hood National Forest off the Historic Highway . At the time, it was feared that massive erosion from the devastation of the trees and the understory would destroy the network of trails in and around the route of the waterfalls. But as you will see, this cloud had a silver lining.
For a good perspective on the fire as well as a great view of the Columbia River Gorge , Angel’s Rest Trail 415 is recommended. To get there off I-84, take eastbound Exit 28 and follow the exit road 0.25 miles to its junction with the Historic Highway.
At this point, hang a sharp right as if you were going to head up the hill toward Crown Point , but pull over into the parking area on the north side of the highway instead. The trailhead is on the south side of the road.
The steep 2.3-mile path to the top of this rocky outcropping gains 1,600 feet and takes you from an unburned forest through vigorous new brush growth beneath live evergreens with singed bark. Charred conifers dominate as you near the summit.
From the top you can enjoy a balcony-seat view overlooking the action. The stage in this case juts out over the Columbia River with sweeping views toward Portland ; to the northeast the snowcapped carapace of the Washington Cascades plays peekaboo behind a series of smaller ridges.