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Eagle Creek Trail

MODERATE 293 reviews

Eagle Creek Trail is a 25.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Cascade Locks, Oregon that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
25.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
8910 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

bugs

rocky

scramble

An amazing gorge hike with several beautiful waterfalls, including one you can walk behind. This trail begins at Eagle Creek Campground and ends at Wahtum Lake. This is a nice out and back hike with great scenery of waterfalls, ferns, and rocky outcroppings. It's quite popular with easy vehicle access at the trailhead, so plan to see a lot of other hikers and is part of the Pacific Crest Trail. This hike is not far from Portland and is best in the spring or early summer to really appreciate the beautiful waterfalls.

hiking
14 hours ago

16 hours ago

hiking
1 day ago

backpacking
1 day ago

Lots of ticks - be prepared. had a great time, spent the night. Awesome!

hiking
7 days ago

One of the most spectacular trails in America, the route along Eagle Creek winds through a deep emerald chasm on tread that’s as much an engineering feat—blasted into ledges and tunneling behind a waterfall—as it is a scenic splendor. You’ll encounter a half dozen waterfalls, old-growth forest, and towering canyon walls. Not surprisingly, Eagle Creek is also one of the most popular trails in the Gorge, so prepare for company. And while dogs are permitted, they're discouraged—the trail has steep drop-offs and rough tread. Children will love this hike, but close supervision is advised.

For nearly a century, folks of all walks of life have been enjoying this hike. The trail was constructed in 1915 in tandem with the Columbia River Highway. And the nearby campground was opened in 1916, the first U.S. Forest Service campground in the country. The recommended hike here is to Tunnel Falls, but any distance along this trail to any of the falls will suffice and satisfy.

Through a canyon draped in greenery, the well-trodden trail takes off along the creek, here its temperament well contained. Gradually the way leaves the creek to climb ledges nearly 100 feet above it. Grab onto cable handrails if you’re not feeling so surefooted. At about 1.5 miles come to the first of two overlooks (elev. 400 ft) of Metlako Falls, named for the Native word for the goddess of salmon. The anadromous fish definitely needs a higher power to negotiate this 100-plus-foot plunge, one of the tallest of Eagle Creek’s copious cascades.~~Next, hop across Sorenson Creek, which cascades into Eagle Creek but whose waterfall is not visible from the trail. At 1.7 miles reach a spur that drops about 100 feet to the base of one of the Pacific Northwest’s most photographed cascades—the quintessential waterfall of Eagle Creek, 35-foot Punch Bowl Falls. If it looks familiar, check your old calendars.

At 1.9 miles pass an overlook of Punch Bowl Falls and enjoy a different perspective of its carved-out aquatic amphitheater plunge pool. Then continue upstream, crossing Tish Creek on a high bridge and then Fern Creek on an even higher bridge. The surrounding valley walls grow tighter, the scenery more dramatic. The trail is blasted into ledges and there is considerable exposure. Keep children and dogs close.

At about 3.1 miles stand mesmerized by the slender 90-foot Loowit Falls that tumbles into a roiling, thundering Eagle Creek. Then clutch your heart—and the railings—and mosey across High Bridge, a solid steel structure spanning a fern-lined mossy tight chasm 120 feet above Eagle Creek.

The terrain now becomes a little less intimidating but nevertheless remains spectacular. Oaks and moss cling to basalt walls, and tributary creeks cascade into the canyon. At 3.5 miles come to thundering Skoonichuk Falls (elev. 600 ft), and shortly afterward reach Tenas Camp, one of several designated (and crowded) camping spots within the canyon.

At 4 miles cross Eagle Creek on 4½ Mile Bridge (the trail used to start at the car campground, hence the mileage difference), returning to the east side of the canyon and closer to water level once again. The big trees begin to intersperse with younger growth and old burnt snags—evidence of a large fire that swept through in 1902.

After passing the Wy’East Camp, enter the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness (elev. 900 ft) at about 4.9 miles. At 5.2 miles come to the junction with the Eagle-Benson Trail, a very steep, difficult, and lightly maintained trail that climbs nearly 3000 feet in 3 miles. Continue upstream instead for the crème de la crème of Eagle Creek’s waterfalls, following rocky trail that’s at times blasted through ledges. Pass Blue Grouse Camp and reach Tunnel Falls (elev. 1200 ft) at 6 miles.

Here, Eagle Creek’s East Fork plummets 160 feet over sheer basalt walls cloaked with maidenhair ferns into a verdant pool. Impressive, yes, but even more so is the trail that tunnels behind it. The early trail builders blasted a tunnel behind the falls and a catwalk into the surrounding ledge. Wet and potentially treacherous, it’s also an exhilarating trek through the tunnel and across the waterfall basin. Take your time and savor this Northwest classic!

hiking
7 days ago

backpacking
8 days ago

camping
8 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

11 days ago

After all the rains I figured it would be a good time to check out the different falls and I was not disappointed. Went all the way to twister falls so a nice distance. Also on the way back the trail crew was working to make it a little less sloppy out there. Thanks for their hard work!

14 days ago

Straight forward hike, but needs maintenance. Started from the hatchery since there were reports of break-ins at the trailhead and turned around at Twister Falls making it a 13mi out&back. One small part of the trail is already 80% down the hill. Overall, beautiful views and very much worth it! Best to pay attention where you step.

15 days ago

hiking
18 days ago

GORGEOUS wonderland. Don't fear the less beaten path. Encountered a wild thornberry I'd love to meet again.
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backpacking
21 days ago

hiking
22 days ago