From Portland Hikers Field Guide
- Hikes including this location:
- Latitude: 45.56233
- Longitude: -122.16445
- Maps: Portland Hikers Maps Google Maps
- Elevation: 200 feet
- Height: 150 feet
Coopey Falls is a 150' horseshoe type falls in the Columbia River Gorge on Coopey Creek.
Most people who see Coopey Falls see a very limited view of it on the way up the Angel's Rest Hike. The viewpoint is at the first obvious stopping point along the way. There is a spur trail down to the left just past this open area that takes you down to the top of the falls. While this doesn't improve your view of Coopey Falls, it gives you a nice vantage point of Coopey Creek and upstream toward Upper Coopey Falls.
The falls are on the property of a Catholic convent. Hikers will spot the farmyard of this convent at the bottom of the talus slopes that traverse in the early sections of the hike. Given the proper forewarning and permission, you can arrange a better view of the falls from the property itself.
Coopey Creek is named for Charles Coopey, a Brisith born tailor who settled in Portland and was one of the founders of the Portland Woolen Mill in St. Johns. Coopey owned 1200 acres of land around Whakeena Falls, Multnomah Creek and Devil's Rest, which he called "Eagle Eyrie".
In the summer of 1915, Coopey gave permission for a portion of the Larch Mountain Trail to be built across land he owned. According to the Trails Club of Oregon, Coopey furnished the coffee for the first hike to Devil's Rest, done by the club in 1918.
Coopey had a vision of a textile village with an industry that would utilize the constant waterpower supply for spinning and weaving and the pure water of Wahkeena Falls (which he owned) for wool scouring. He also applied to the State Engineer in Salem for an application to appropriate water from Multnomah and Peterson Creeks for power development purposes. The cost of developing the power was estimated at $20,000.
In 1921, Coopey built a 20 horsepower generator on the creek to light a sign promoting Oregon 1925 Expostion. According to an article in the Oregonian newspaper, Coopey "conceived the idea of displaying the insignia of Oregon's brilliant exposition for all America by producing a truly hydro-electric sign bearing the figures "1925" right in front of his summer cottage where all can see as they motor swiftly by. The power that generates the motor from which the electricity is produced is taken from the falls at a point 60 feet below a dam that forms a beautiful silvery lake Just a few feet from the highway. This water is led to the powerhouse by means of a 12-inch pipe where a water wheel operates a 20-horsepower generator. From this plant 750 Incandescent lights can be produced 24 hours each day."
Before Coopey owned the property along the creek it was owned by the Luscher family. Walter R. Horton, who moved to Bridal Veil in 1889, recalls he and his friends used to call the creek Ben Luscher Creek.
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Guidebooks that cover this destination
- Day Hike! Columbia Gorge, by Seabury Blair, Jr.
- 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Portland, by Paul Gerald
- Afoot and Afield Portland/Vancouver, by Douglas Lorain
- 35 Hiking Trails, Columbia River Gorge, by Don & Roberta Lowe
- Columbia River Gorge, 42 Scenic Hikes, by Don & Roberta Lowe
- Hiking the Columbia River Gorge - 1st and 2nd Editions, by Russ Schneider
- 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon - 3rd Edition, by William L Sullivan