Lower Punchbowl Falls on the way to High Bridge (photographer: Debbie Asakawa)
Trail Description Driving Directions
Trail Alert, Mar. 19, 2017: Due to ongoing slides, Eagle Creek Trail is closed just past Punchbowl Falls. Another slide further up the trail has closed the Metlako Spur trail and the overlook has collapsed. Please stay clear of the former overlook area, which is currently unstable.
Eagle Creek is a quintessential hike in the Columbia River Gorge, boasting dozens of spectacular waterfalls, tall basalt cliffs, ubiquitous talus slopes, and the lush temperate rainforests that so characterize the Pacific Northwest. It is considered by many to be one of the most resplendent hiking destinations in the Northwest.
Possibly as impressive as the Gorge itself is the story of how this recreational area was built. It was created in the early 1900s as part of an effort to begin preserving parkland areas in the Columbia River Gorge, where industry was rapidly encroaching. In some sections, workers used dynamite to blast the trail into the side of the cliffs. Soon thousands of people could enjoy areas that were impossible to traverse otherwise. The original trail has remained nearly unchanged to this day.
Before you've gone a half-mile, you'll find yourself high above the creek, which has now opened up to a glorious valley. Many months the fog hangs low in the canyon, blocking your view of the snow-encrusted cliff-sides towering around you. In places, the trail is narrow and the drop-off is quite steep. Cable lines were built into the walls in sections to provide some stability.
Greenery abounds along the Eagle Creek trail. As the trail steadily gains elevation, it begins to divert away from the creek. You'll notice the quiet as you ascend away from the rushing water and deeper into the lush old-growth forests of Douglas fir, cedar and hemlock. Dewy ferns, moss-covered rocks, and sometimes poison oak blanket the forest floor. You will be surprised at the beauty and quiet of these sections, which at times are like scenes from a fairy tale.
- Hike descriptions were collaboratively written with the generous support of oregonhikers.org. + Read More
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