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Coyote Wall - Moab/Maui Loop

Southwest Washington

Location

Southwest Washington -- Columbia River Gorge - WA
View map below

Length

3.8 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 850 ft.
Highest Point: 900 ft.

Rating

4.00 out of 5

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WTA worked here: 2020
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 
 

The Maui Loop is more of an adventure than a hike. You get to go up, over and around mogul-like mounds peppered with volcanic rock, explore the upper rim of Coyote Wall, and descend a grassy slope with uninterrupted views of the Colombia River Gorge. In the spring there is a steady progression of wildflowers, making this an especially good early-season hike.

This loop hike begins with Coyote Wall towering above you as you walk down an abandoned highway. Coyote Wall is a 200-foot cliff of columnar basalt that was formed as the ancient Missoula floods swept through the Columbia River Basin. The uphill portion of this hike is on the Little Moab trail (CO3). On the first half of the Little Moab you get to climb through an area of grass-covered hills, exposed bedrock, lichen-covered volcanic rocks, and the occasional ponderosa pine. The second half parallels the rim of Coyote Wall, giving you close-up views of basalt cliffs with multiple opportunities to peer down from the top.

The downhill portion of this hike is on the Little Maui (CO5) trail, which meanders down a grassy slope dotted with white oaks and then descends along a stream with several waterfalls. The Little Maui trail provides postcard-perfect views of the hills above Labyrinth Creek to the east and the Colombia River to the south. The hike ends with a short walk on the old highway back to the trailhead.

Begin this hike by parking at the Coyote Wall Trailhead near the intersection of Courtney Rd. and Hwy 14. From the parking area head east on the old, abandoned pavement as it scoots around the cliff.

After 0.5 miles, you will come to dirt trail on the left side of the old pavement. This dirt track is the "Old Ranch Road". Follow it as it switches back uphill (avoid the many user-created shortcuts). Shortly after the first switchback turn, you will come to a trail junction. Keep to the left and continue uphill on the "Old Ranch Road". After going over two areas of exposed bedrock, you will come to a second trail junction. Again, go to the left and continue uphill 0.3 miles until you come to the Little Moab Trail (CO3). There are some particularly nice views of the Colombia River through this section, so have your camera ready.

When you come to the junction with the Little Moab trail, go to the left and follow the trail towards the top of Coyote Wall. This part of the hike may bring out your inner child as you wind through grassy mounds, climb up exposed bedrock, and skirt rocky outcroppings. In 0.3 miles, you will come to your first view of Coyote Wall from the top and another trail junction.

Stay left and follow the Little Moab Trail along the upper edge of Coyote Wall where you will have multiple opportunities to view the rocky cliffs that make the wall. After 0.4 miles, the trail breaks out into an open grassy area and comes to the intersection with an old jeep road (CO4) just downhill from a photo-ready barbwire fence. You will turn left on the old jeep road for this hike, but first it is well worth going through the gap in the fence and taking the trail on the left to a viewpoint at the top of wall. With views of the Coyote Wall, Mt. Hood, and the Colombia River Gorge, this makes a good spot for a break.

After enjoying the view, go back through the fence and follow the old jeep road east 0.2 miles to the Little Maui trail (CO3). At this junction, the jeep road takes a sharp turn to the right while the Little Maui trail takes off to the left. Go left and begin your descent down the Little Maui trail. The first part of the trail follows a serpentine path through grassy plateaus dotted with solitary white oaks. You can see the hills and rocky outcroppings above Labyrinth Creek to the east, the Colombia River to the South, and wildflower during the spring. The second part of the trail takes you along a stream with small cascading waterfalls.

In 0.9 miles, you will come to a junction with a trail going to the left. Keep going straight to stay on the Little Maui Trail. After another 0.1 miles the Little Maui trail joins the "Old Ranch Road". Turn left and follow the road downhill. Near the bottom you will encounter a maze of trails with several options for returning to the old highway. Keep on an established trail and watch out for mountain bikers. After reaching the old highway, turn right to return to your car.

CAUTION:
You may encounter poison oak on this hike. Know what it looks like and watch what you touch.

WTA Pro Tip: A perfect way to end your Coyote Wall experience is to stop in Stevenson Washington for a snack or dinner at the Walking Man Brewery or the Big River Grill.

The Walking Man Brewery serves a wide variety of their own brews along with sandwiches and gourmet pizzas (these are especially good). Plus, the outdoor seating area allows you to continue your commune with nature. This is odd advice, but be sure to check out the décor of the restrooms.

If you’d like a more upscale dining experience, go to the Big River Grill which features Northwest Cuisine using fresh local ingredients. With its license plate collection and Columbia River sturgeon mermaid, the food is Portland-good and the atmosphere roadhouse quirky.

 

Coyote Wall - Moab/Maui Loop

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 45.6993, -121.4148 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Southwest Washington -- Columbia River Gorge - WA

Maui Falls (#Co5), Old Jeep Road (#Co4), Little Moab (#Co3)

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking Columbia River Gorge (Craig Romano – Mountaineers Books)

Green Trails 432S: Columbia River Gorge – East

Getting There

From Vancouver: For the scenic route take Hwy 14 east, through Stevenson and on to Bingen, For a slightly faster route follow I-84 upriver on the Oregon side and cross over at Hood River (toll) following the signs to White Salmon. Turn right (east) on Hwy 14 to go to Bingen.

From Bingen go 3.5 miles east to Courtney Rd. The trailhead is between mileposts 69 and 70 on the left side of the Hwy. Currently it is an unmarked gravel parking area opposite a greenish gate.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 

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Coyote Wall - Moab/Maui Loop

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