Wahclella Falls Loop
Central Gorge, Oregon
Tanner Creek & Wahclella Falls (photographer: Bill Partin)
Hike Details
Type:
Out to a loop and back
Distance:
2.4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
300 feet
Difficulty:
Easy
Trail Features
Family Friendly:
Yes
Restrooms:
Yes
Trailhead Pass:
Trail Details
WaterfallWaterfall
This trail heads up Tanner Creek from the Wahclella Falls Trailhead. At the small dam used by the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, the trail narrows to a single tread, and leads to a bridge taking you over Munra Falls. The trail then begins to climb up the east side of the canyon. There aren't any cliffs here, but there are some steep drop-offs, so keep a close watch on your little ones. After a flight of stairs, you'll come to a fork in the trail. The end of the trail is a loop, so you'll end up hiking both sides. Taking the lower path, you'll find great views as you approach Wahclella Falls, dropping down the mountain through a couple of switchbacks to the lower bridge. At the head of the canyon, you'll pass through a bit of a grotto with a full view of Wahclella Falls. Past Wahclella Falls, the trail gains a bit of elevation and loops back toward the trailhead. When you reach the earlier trail junction, continue straight and head back to your car.

- Hike descriptions were collaboratively written with the generous support of oregonhikers.org.

Driving Directions

Wahclella Falls Trailhead:  From I-84, take Exit #40/Bonneville Dam. Turn south at the stop sign and drive about 100 feet. Stay to the right, taking you to Wahclella Falls trailhead. Left takes you to Toothrock trailhead.

Community Connection

Lyle Cherry Orchard’s trailhead is located approximately one mile from the Gorge town of Lyle and is home to the “Lyle” sign that sits above the community. Since this preserve was opened to the public the Lyle Cherry Orchard has provided the community with an accessible natural space right in their back yard. The sunny and dry preserve is the perfect hiking spot to visit during the rainier fall days in the western gorge. Visitors from the Gorge and beyond recreate on Lyle Cherry Orchard and in turn support the local economy.

Photo: View of town of Lyle from Lyle Cherry Orchard (Debbie Asakawa)

Preserve Story

The property where Lyle Cherry Orchard Preserve lies currently was once grazing land for cattle and as the name suggests the eastern part of the preserve held a cherry orchard. The orchard and its trees were well abandoned by the time Nancy Russell purchased the property piece by piece in the 1990’s and later donated it to Friends in 2009. Nancy purchased the property when it came up for sale because it was within key viewing areas on the Oregon side of the Gorge and would have most likely become subdivided for development.

The land is also home to remnants of Lyle Convict Road, a demonstration road built by Sam Hill to convince Washington legislators to fund a Columbia River Highway. When Washington showed no interest in Sam’s project, he invited the entire Oregon legislature to his Maryhill estate to see his "Good Roads" work and Oregon quickly agreed to build on their side of the river what is today the Historic Columbia River Highway.

The trail at Lyle Cherry Orchard was started in when Friends' founder Nancy Russell purchased the property and has been open to the public and maintained Friends and its land trust ever since. In 2019, Washington Trails Association started work to reroute some parts of the trail and add new trail to explore for the benefit of Gorge residents.

In 2013, the land trust and volunteers removed a dilapidated house and outbuildings on the southwestern end of the property. Countless hours were spent removing building materials, old vehicles, garbage, and debris. In 2015 volunteers removed over 1,700 feet of fencing material on the property to allow for the free movement of wildlife across the landscape. Without the help of Friends volunteers and Gorge community members, projects like this would not be possible.

Photos: Before and after cleanup at Lyle Cherry Orchard (Friends' archive)