Vancouver, WA: Coyote Wall

Spring brings an abundance of wildflowers to the Northwest, and one of the best displays is on this moderate 8.2 mile loop in the eastern Columbia Gorge.
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Spring brings an abundance of wildflowers to the Northwest, and one of the best displays is on this moderate 8.2 mile loop in the eastern Columbia Gorge.

Start with a gradual uphill romp through stands of oak and ponderosa pine, sprinkled with small meadows, lots of little wildflowers – buttercup, candyflower and cluster lily – as you traverse the base of the colorful, lichen-stained basalt Coyote Wall. As you gain elevation, start looking for new and different flowers – fairyslipper, blue buttons and Oregon grape – until you find yourself on top of the wall in big open meadows, carpeted with balsamroot and lupine, and eye-popping views of the Columbia River and Mt. Hood.

From the green gate near the parking area, hike up the closed road to an abandoned cattle chute and turn left (your only left turn) onto the loop trail. In an area showing recent small burns, pass a small side trail on the right (unless you want a shorter loop with a steep climb), until you reach a major T-junction, then bear right. The trail fades a bit, then turns into an old forest lane. Pass an old gate, then at Courney Rd, turn right and head up the hill. At the westernmost point, you will be treated to a spectacular view of the Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood. Continue up the road as it turns east, bear right on Atwood Dr, and avoid the spur that descends to the right. The road soon turns back into trail through pine forest; some of this area is private property, so stick to the trail. Go straight through a junction, and soon emerge onto the top of Coyote Wall with stupendous views and meadows filled with wildflowers. 

From this point, the trail splits into many tracks down through the meadows, or along the edge of the wall, and is referred to as “the labyrinth.” Keep to the right, unless you have a too-close-to-the-edge-of-cliffs phobia, and you can go down through the meadows and meet the trail farther down. Pass an opening in a wooden fence, and continue downslope. When you come to the second fence opening, keep to the right (another trail heads down along a creek to the left), and descend though rocky meadows with stunning views of the Gorge and Coyote Wall. When you reach the road at the bottom, turn right for the 0.25 mi. runout back to your parking area.

Notes: This trail is also popular with mountain bikers, and though hikers have the right-of-way, be cautious and courteous. Also, there are ticks and poison oak in this area; take the appropriate precautions. Rattlesnakes are sometimes seen in the warmer months—be aware!

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 13.0

Waypoints

COY001

Location: 45.700027, -121.4032109

Trail starts at green gate.

COY002

Location: 45.7004923, -121.4022517

Just past the abandoned cattle chute, make your only left turn (N) to start the loop trail.

COY003

Location: 45.7161044, -121.4175852

A faint trail breaks off to the right for a steep climb to the top; go straight.

COY004

Location: 45.7165852, -121.4224541

Trail comes to a T-junction; turn right (W).

COY005

Location: 45.7173717, -121.4257264

Another junction; another right turn (NW).

COY006

Location: 45.7183775, -121.4322484

Old gate; go around.

COY007

Location: 45.7181926, -121.4327763

Trail ends at Courtney Rd; turn right (N) and head uphill.

COY008

Location: 45.7183164, -121.4390708

Westernmost point of Courtney Rd. with big views of Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood.

COY009

Location: 45.720678, -121.4359566

Road forks; bear right (NE) on Atwood Rd.

COY010

Location: 45.7210796, -121.431874

Another fork in the road; bear right (E).

COY011

Location: 45.7211987, -121.4313948

Wooden bench with a nice view.

COY012

Location: 45.7210871, -121.4299858

Go straight through this junction. Look for blue buttons and fairyslipper.

COY013

Location: 45.718419, -121.4169023

Continue straight through this junction. Right turn is steep, faint trail to lower section of loop.

COY014

Location: 45.7172808, -121.4104232

Another junction; another right turn (SE).

COY015

Location: 45.7147873, -121.409719

Top of Coyote Wall. Enjoy the views, meadows and flowers.

COY016

Location: 45.7141431, -121.4091396

Enter "the labyrinth." Go straight to hike through meadows, or jog right (S) to skirt the edge of the wall.

COY017

Location: 45.7120904, -121.4059639

Trail junctions; keep right (SE).

COY018

Location: 45.7103922, -121.4040197

Pass through an opening in a cattle control fence.

COY019

Location: 45.709454, -121.4024911

More trail junctions; keep right (S).

COY020

Location: 45.7056382, -121.3998108

Trail junction at another cattle control fence. Turn right (SW) to continue along Coyote Wall. Optional routes descend through meadows and a small creek canyon to the east.

COY021

Location: 45.6996567, -121.3966823

Junction; turn right (S).

COY022

Location: 45.7001092, -121.3935014

Junction; descend right (S) to road.

COY023

Location: 45.6989408, -121.3938199

End of trail at closed road. Walk road back to parking area.

Chute

Location: 45.7005448, -121.4020693

Abandoned cattle chute at the start of the Coyote Wall loop trail. © Eli Boschetto

Coyote Wall

Location: 45.7032047, -121.4023483

Hike along the base of a 200' wall of crumbling columnar basalt. © Eli Boschetto

Coyote Trail

Location: 45.7038266, -121.4031959

Pass through small meadows dotted with pretty wildflowers. © Eli Boschetto

Mt. Hood

Location: 45.7184804, -121.4272499

Spot Mt. Hood through windows in the trail. © Eli Boschetto

Gorge View

Location: 45.7182706, -121.4389873

Big view of Columbia River Gorge, Hood River and Mt. Hood (in the clouds), from westernmost point of loop. © Eli Boschetto

Blue Buttons

Location: 45.7210721, -121.427958

Spot these little beauties along the trail near the top of Coyote Wall. © Eli Boschetto

Top of the Wall

Location: 45.7145701, -121.4095688

View east of Columbia River Gorge from the top of Coyote Wall; "the labyrinth" below. © Eli Boschetto

The Edge

Location: 45.7129819, -121.4089036

Descending along the edge of Coyote Wall. © Eli Boschetto

Balsamroot

Location: 45.7120979, -121.4067793

Spring brings carpets of this sunflower-like beauty to the meadows on top of Coyote Wall. © Eli Boschetto

Lupine

Location: 45.7107644, -121.4046121

This pretty purple flower abounds during spring on top of Coyote Wall. © Eli Boschetto

Gorge View

Location: 45.7078575, -121.401844

Big view of the Columbia River Gorge eastward from the top of Coyote Wall, amid meadows of balsamroot and lupine. © Eli Boschetto

Coyote Wall

Location: 45.7021632, -121.3999128

View the length of the colorful 200' columnar basalt Coyote Wall. © Eli Boschetto

Rocky Meadows

Location: 45.700245, -121.3973165

Descend through meadows dotted with volcanic rock outcrops. © Eli Boschetto