Eagle Creek

Punchbowl Falls

Easy (to Punchbowl Falls)

4.2 miles round trip

400 feet elevation gain

Open all year

Moderate (to High Bridge)

6.6 miles round trip

600 feet elevation gain

Difficult (to Tunnel Falls)

12 miles round trip

1200 feet elevation gain

Built in the 1910s to accompany the opening of the Columbia River Highway, the Eagle Creek Trail is one of Oregon’s most spectacular paths, passing half a dozen major waterfalls. The trail is also something of an engineering marvel. To maintain an easy grade through this rugged canyon, the builders blasted ledges out of sheer cliffs, bridged a colossal gorge, and even chipped a tunnel through solid rock behind 120-foot Tunnel Falls.

Today the trail is so popular the parking lot fills by 10am on sunny weekends, leaving latecomers to park half a mile away. Although this is a great place to backpack, tenting along the first 7.5 miles is only allowed within four designated camp areas, where competition for weekend space is keen. Campfires are strongly discouraged. An additional caution to parents: trailside cliffs make this no place for unsupervised or hard-to-manage children. Dogs must be on leash.

If you’re coming from the Portland area, take …

Other Options

A classic 2- to 3-day backpacking trip continues …

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington.