Coyote Wall-Labyrinth Loop

  • Distance9.5 miles  
  • Hike TypeLoop 
  • DifficultyMedium-Hard 
  • Elevation Gain2,333’ 
  • Trail Condition: Maintained, but muddy and exposed edges 
  • Trail HighlightsTicks, rattlesnakes + poisonous oak. Shared with mountain bikers and horses. Views of: Waˀíist (Mt Hood), nč̓i-Wána (Columbia River), multiple waterfalls, and the Gorge. Wildflowers in the spring, columnar basalt outcroppings, oak and pine trees, Missoula Flood area, channeled scablands 
  • Trailhead(s)Coyote Wall 
  • Pass NeededNo 
  • Dogs AllowedYes, leashed from Dec. 1 – Jun. 30 
  • Crowd LevelCrowded 
  • Recommended FootwearHiking boots/shoes recommended because of mud – tennis shoes will work 
  • Vehicle Clearance NeededLow – paved entire way 
  • My Favorite Season To GoWinter and Fall
Jump to the trail description

If you take a hike along Coyote Wall, you’ll find one of the best views in the Gorge of both Waˀíist* and the *nč̓i-Wána (in my opinion).

Not only do you get magnificent views, you’re also hiking on top of the Gorge’s most famous cliff of columnar basalt. Coyote Wall is the “wall” of columnar basalt along SR-14 that you see when you drive along Oregon’s I-84.

This area is home to a diverse population of wildflowers. And a popular spot for geologists, since the wall was formed from ancient lava flows that flooded the area. Channeled scablands dot the east side of the trail—while the wall itself is a headwall of a landslide from thousands of years ago.

This trail is enjoyable all year-round. Waterfalls are fuller during the rainy season. And in the springtime hills pop with wildflowers and oak trees blossom.

And thanks to 20-miles worth of trails you can make your “own adventure” or take a different route!

  • Coyote Wall Loop Trail: 6.8 miles, 1,624’ gain
  • Labyrinth to Coyote Wall Trail: 6.7 miles, 1,489’ gain
  • Little Moab Trail: 0.8 miles, 814’ gain
  • Old Ranch Road + Little Maui Trail: 3.9 miles, 646’ gain
  • Old Ranch Road + Little Moab to Coyote Wall Trail: 2.5 miles, 900’

Little Acorns 

  • $2.00 toll each way ($4.00 total) if driving from I-84. 
  • Locals also call Coyote Wall “The Syncline” – after its geological structure. 
  • The route we took is half of the Coyote Wall Trail and the Labyrinth Trail. This is a good option for those who want to get more than 7 miles in. 
  • Almost an entire mile is on a very exposed edge. I would skip this section if you don’t like exposed trails and/or heights. 
  • Take a photo of the map at the trailhead before heading out. This shows you the trail and county road trails, private land included. The app AllTrails also shows which land is public and private. 
  • Do not park on Courtney Road or SR-14. Cops frequently give out tickets here. 
  • Beware of ticks! We pulled off 2 on February 6th. Winter does not mean ticks are “gone.”
  • Beware of poisonous oak!
  • Beware of rattlesnakes!
  • This trail is shared with bikers and equestrian riders. 
  • Channeled scablands = formed by water. Bedrock + soil is torn up from the ground, exposing ravines and large rocks.

Native Land

Since the beginning of time people have lived along the Columbia River. The River People are Northwest Klickitat and the Eastern-speaking Chinookan Kiksht. They are the Wascos, the Cascades, the Wíshxams, the Clackamas, the Multnomahs, the Hood Rivers, the Skamanias, the Skilootts, and others who lived in villages on both sides of the Columbia River. 250 years ago, the River People were the most powerful nation in the region.

The Klickitat (Yakama Nation) was the nomadic Tribe that encountered white settlers in this specific area and have been here for thousands of years.

  • *Waˀíist = Mount Hood in Imatalamłaamí sɨ́nwit (Umatilla language)
  • *nč̓i-Wána = Columbia River in Imatalamłaamí sɨ́nwit
  • *Big River = another name amongst Tribes for the Columbia River

For more local names in the Umatilla language, search the Umatilla Language Online Dictionary and be sure to pick up a physical copy too! Found at local Native American and Cultural Centers across Oregon and on Tribal websites.

The Trail

Before you get on the trail be sure to snap a photo of the trail map on the information board.

start of Old Highway 8

The trail starts out on an old-paved road – Old Highway 8. Coyote Wall is towering over your left, the tip top of Waˀíist is peaking over the Oregon hills, and Locke Lake is the body of water next to the trailhead. Follow this old paved road around the wall. Large rocks/boulders (also called scree) are scattered along the path, and a good reminder to keep alert on this trail. Look out for ticks, rattlesnakes, and poisonous oak!

At 0.43 miles the Old Ranch Road trail junction is on the left. The sign will also say To Coyote Wall Trailhead. The trail is well marked and heads up to the left. The elevation starts to gently climb from here. At the curve – going left – you can hear a small waterfall before seeing it. After the waterfall you’ll reach the Little Maui Trail #4425 at 0.64-miles. Take a right onto Little Maui Trail.

Cross a small log across a “cute” creek at the 0.87-mile mark. Then a beautiful tree comes into view with the Big River right behind it. Head around 5ish switchbacks/curves and pass Connector Trail 4425A before reaching Little Maui Falls at 1.20 miles. After Little Maui Falls the trail continues up the hillside and heads west. Once you pass a seasonal pond, Waˀíist comes into full view ahead of you with another small stream crossing. Cross another stream (yes, another!) with beautiful oak trees off to the side.

Little Maui Falls

Shortly after the stream, the Old Ranch Road-Little Maui Trail junction is at 1.86 miles. Head up and right, next to a fence… and now you’re on the Old Ranch Road Trail. Full views of Waˀíist are just getting started too! Meet up with the Little Moab junction at the 2-mile mark, but stay on Old Ranch Road and walk through a fence opening. 

Not too long after the fence, take a left on the Coyote Wall Trail #4428. Now you are along the columnar basalt wall (Coyote Wall) with views of Waˀíist, the nč̓i-Wána and Columbia Gorge. You can either go straight up on an old 4-wheel road or take a path along the ledge – take the ledge! The elevation gain starts to get serious, but the views at the top are worth it. Plus the sights up along the ledge make the gain a little bit easier.

Coyote Wall Viewpoint

At 2.60 miles, walk through another fence staying along the ledge. By now you have gained 1,215’ of elevation—woohoo! Once you pass the Traverse Trail Junction #4427 on the right, you’re at 2.78 miles. Keep climbing up because you’re so close to being done with the “hard elevation” gain!

Ponderosa Pine and shrubs start lining the trail at the 3.08-mile mark. This is the top of the bikers’ downhill run. Also called Upper Coyote Wall Viewpoint.

Upper Coyote Wall Viewpoint

*If you do not like exposed trails and cliffs, do not go any further* 

The trail becomes completely flat, and at 3.13 miles a small trail leads to the left through stunted oak trees. Take this left and you are now on Crybaby Trail. And the name totally makes sense for those who aren’t fans of heights. I stopped a couple times to gather my composure along the narrowest section of this ledge. Continue on Crybaby Trail ledge for 0.50 miles before scrambling up 30’ to the Atwood Road-Crybaby Trail junction—and flat, safe ground! So far you have hiked 3.51 miles.

Crybaby Trail

Turn right onto the forested Atwood Road. The forest is thick here and you want to stay left on the wide path. At 3.85 miles – a big, brown Atwood Road and Coyote Wall #4428 is on the right. Do not take this trail, but instead stay straight and take the next trail that pops up on your right—heading south. This trail will lead you pass a seasonal pond and across a small stream twice. Look for the white ties in the trees!

When Waˀíist shows off through the trees, you’ll see the ledge again. Rather than heading straight and reconnecting with the Coyote Wall Trail, look for the orange flags on the ground to your left. These orange flags are a biking path that connects you to the Traverse to Coyote Wall #4427 trail. Walk down 8 “curves” before connecting with the #4427 junction.

Follow the orange flags!

Take a left at the unmarked Traverse to Coyote Wall #4427 and step over a small stream. Take the next trail on the right and head downhill to avoid a private road. There are about 6 “curves” before you walk across a wooden bridge at the 5.08-mile mark. The Burns Farm (a house) can be seen up the hillside – talk about a million-dollar view!

Eventually the trail meets up with Old Ranch Road #4426 at 5.21 miles. Turn left and gain some more elevation up Old Ranch Road. An Atwood Road-Old Ranch Road and private property trail sign marks mile 5.50, continue straight on. Another junction with a big, brown trail sign comes up shortly – you want to stay right here. Technically you are now on Atwood Road. The Labyrinth Creek bridge crossing marks 5.53 miles, and you are now over halfway done!

Reach another trail junction – Atwood and Catherine Creek – at 5.98 miles. Go right towards Upper Labyrinth. Now the trail is downhill for the rest of the time. Trek down the Upper Labyrinth Trail #4423 into channeled scablands. Between 7.10-7.24 miles there are lots of mini trails and huge rocks to admire. After the channeled scabland section, the best waterfall along the trail is up ahead—Labyrinth Falls. A small trail leads to the “bottom” of the waterfall. This spot is flat and an enjoyable spot to take in the environment around you.

Labyrinth Falls

After enjoying the waterfall continue down the hillside. A Connector Trail to Little Maui/Labyrinth #4425A marks 8.5 miles and the end of your hike. You can either take this trail back to Old Ranch Road OR you can walk down to Highway 8 and walk back. We chose the highway! It’s a 1 mile walk back to the trailhead from here.

View of Waˀíist along the Crybaby Trail

Directions 

Old Hwy 8, White Salmon, WA 98672

From Portland 

  • Miles: 69 miles 
  • Est. Drive time:  1h15m 

Take I-84 east to Hood River, exit 64. Pay the $2.00 toll and cross the bridge. Turn right on WA-14, heading east. Drive 4.6 miles and turn left onto Courtney Road. The parking lot is on your right. 

From Vancouver 

  • Miles: A) 72.3 miles via I-84, B) 70 miles via WA-14 
  • Est. Drive time: A) 1h15m via I-84, B) 1h25m via WA-14 

A via I-84: Take I-84 east to Hood River, exit 64. Pay the $2.00 toll and cross the bridge. Turn right on WA-14, heading east. Drive 4.6 miles and turn left onto Courtney Road. The parking lot is on your right. 

B via WA-14: Drive down WA-14 for about 70 miles until Courtney Road is on your left. No toll on this route.

Sources 

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