Elowah Falls
Western Gorge, Oregon
Elowah Falls and its reflection. (photographer: Matt Meisenheimer)
Hike Details
Out and back
1.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
260 feet
Trail Features
Family Friendly:
Trailhead Pass:
Trail Details

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 short, family-friendly hike leads to a wondrous, 213-foot-tall waterfall that plunges in a single drop. The surrounding cliffs are covered in brilliant chartreuse lichen that looks lit from within. The hike is 1.5 miles out and back, with 260 feet of elevation gain.

For a longer hike, combine this with the hike to Upper McCord Creek Falls, accessed from the same trailhead.

Permits & Pets

This site is managed by Oregon State Parks. No passes are required. Dogs must be leashed.

Trail Notes

  • From the parking area, hike uphill on Gorge Trail 400. The wooden cistern near the trailhead once collected water for nearby homes. At a junction with the Nesmith Point Trail (Trail 428), keep left on Trail 400. At another junction with the Upper Elowah Falls Trail, keep left on Trail 400 and switchback down to a bridge over McCord Creek, which crosses at the huge amphitheater carved out by Elowah Falls.
  • Return to the start via the same route. From the same trailhead, hike Upper McCord Creek Falls for a total of 3.3 miles.
  • 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.
  • No restrooms are located here. The closest restrooms are at Ainsworth Day Use Area.

Post-Hike Explorations

Three miles from the trailhead, Herman the Sturgeon and rainbow trout swim in rocky pools at Bonneville Lock and Dam, a National Historic Landmark. The ponds, which are fish-rearing, and snack shop are within the dam’s beautifully landscaped grounds. Take a tour of Powerhouse 1 and look through underwater windows at fish navigating the fish ladder. Call 541-374-8820 for tour times. On summer afternoons, you can also visit the locks and watch boats passing through. Take I-84 east to exit 40 to Bonneville Lock and Dam.

Other Hikes from This Trailhead

Directions & Travel Tips

Eastbound I-84: Take exit 35/Ainsworth. Turn left at the stop sign, then immediately right onto Frontage Road. Drive east on Frontage Road 2.1 miles and turn right into the John B. Yeon trailhead and parking area, just before the road re-enters eastbound I-84.

Westbound I-84: Take exit 37/Warrendale and head west on Warrendale Road 0.25 mile to a stop sign. Turn left, drive under the freeway, and turn left onto Frontage Road. Drive 0.25 mile east to the John B. Yeon trailhead and parking area. It is on the right side of the road, just before the road re-enters eastbound I-84.