Hidden grove showcases largest trees in Columbia Gorge

To find the largest waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, all that’s required is a drive out Interstate 84 to the many viewpoints and trailheads east of Portland, OR. To find the largest trees in the Gorge, however, you’re in for a lot more work.

In an area with a long history of logging, precious few groves of old-growth trees remain intact. The ones that do remain are way off the beaten path, known only to a handful of big-tree hunters often reluctant to share the location.

Such is the case with what Hood River photographer Darryl Lloyd has dubbed the “Giant Trees of Lost Creek,” a 170-acre patch of forest home to titanic Douglas-fir and western red cedar.

Located in a remote corner of Gifford Pinchot National Forest — on an unofficial trail not marked by sign or even flags — are a handful of trees Lloyd believes might be the largest in the Gorge area.

The most impressive is a Douglas fir roughly 243 feet tall and almost 9 feet in diameter. The cedars are almost as impressive, growing in thick and ancient groves along the creek, with the largest almost 10 feet in diameter.

“The Lost Creek stand is a very rare gem,” said Lloyd, who explores giant trees around the Pacific Northwest with his twin brother, Darvel. “It’s a magical, amazing and truly wild place.”

While the patch of forest is little-known, the grove has a storied history.

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