Dry Creek Falls to Herman Creek
Central Gorge, Oregon
Bridge over Dry Creek. (photographer: Micheal Drewry)
Hike Details
Type:
Out and back
Distance:
8.6 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
750 feet
Difficulty:
Strenuous
Trail Features
Family Friendly:
Yes
Restrooms:
Yes
Trailhead Pass:
Trail Details
WildflowersWaterfallWaterfall
COVID-19 advisory from our partner Ready, Set, GOrge! (readysetgorge.com): 

Increased visitation puts increased pressure on the Gorge’s limited resources.  If you’re planning a trip to our region, please help keep our communities safe by following CDC and local health guidelines and respecting the requests of individual businesses. Please plan before you go and always have a Plan B in case your destination is too crowded or closed. When recreating on trails, maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other hikers and bikers.
 


Fire Impacts

This trail was impacted by the 2017 Eagle Creek fire. We encourage hikers to be extra alert when hiking in burned areas in the Gorge. Falling trees, landslides, and debris flows are more likely in the burned areas because of unstable soil due to less vegetation to hold it in place.


Creating a World-Class Trekking Network Encircling the Gorge

Learn more about the initiative to create a 200-mile loop trail network in the Gorge.

On the Trail

This 8.6-mile, out-and-back hike along the famed Pacific Crest Trail leads to Dry Creek Falls, a 74-foot plunge in a basalt amphitheater; from there, it continues on to the intriguing basalt monoliths that are the Herman Creek Pinnacles. The route gains 750 feet in elevation.

Permits & Pets

Toll House Park is administered by the U.S. Forest Service. A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park. Pay $5 cash at the trailhead kiosk, or, purchase one in advance.

We recommend always keeping your dog leashed to protect the sensitive landscape and respect other hikers.

Trail Notes

  • From Toll House Park, cross the bridge approach road to the Pacific Crest Trail trailhead. For 400 feet, the PCT parallels I-84 until it intersects Moody Avenue. Turn right and walk uphill on Moody as it crosses under the freeway. In a few hundred feet, come to twin trailheads. On the right is Gorge Trail 400. Take the trail to the left, the PCT. It heads gradually uphill. In about 1 mile, come to a power line access road. Turn right on it, follow the road a short distance under the power lines, and turn left at the sign for the PCT to continue on the trail. Come to a minor summit, and the PCT begins a gradual descent to Dry Creek. At Dry Creek, the trail intersects a dirt road, Dry Creek Road. Turn right on it to walk to the base of the falls.
  • Water from Dry Creek was used from 1896 to 1937 to power the lock chamber gates at Cascade Locks, the locks that gave the town its name. The locks were built to circumvent the great Cascades of the Columbia, a long whitewater expanse that was a major impediment to river travel. When the creek was used to power the locks, its creek bed ran dry; hence the name. When Bonneville Dam became operational in 1937, the Great Cascades, along with most of the lock canal, were submerged below the rising water behind the dam.
  • From the falls, backtrack to the bridge crossing Dry Creek. Turn right on it and continue 1.6 miles on the PCT to the pinnacles, a group of triangular basalt outcroppings.
  • Return to the start via the same route.
  • Please always stay on the trail and clean your boots before and after you hike. Hikers and their dogs are common vectors for spreading invasive seeds.
  • Restrooms, closed in winter, are at the trailhead.

Post-Hike Explorations

Once back in town, have a meal on WaNaPa Street. Locally caught salmon chowder, pizza, and brewpub fare are some of the options. On the riverfront, a brewpub offers good views of the Bridge of the Gods. Top off the day with a visit to the riverfront Cascade Locks Marine Park, once the base of lock operations by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Explore the above-water remains of the lock canal, with its hand-tooled basalt blocks, and walk a footbridge to Thunder Island. Interpretive displays tell the story of the site. In the park are three lock tender homes, in vintage U.S. Army Corps of Engineers style, each one aligned with a lock gate. Offshore lie the Great Cascades of the Columbia, now submerged. At very low water levels, a few rocky outcrops emerge from the river. Downstream is an excellent, in-river view of the Bridge of the Gods.



Directions & Travel Tips

On I-84, take exit 44/Cascade Locks and follow signs to the Bridge of the Gods/Stevenson. As the road circles uphill to the bridge’s tollbooth, turn right into wooded Toll House Park, the trailhead parking area.