Eagle Creek Trail - Oregon

Directions

Coming from Portland, travel eastbound on I-84, and turn off at Exit #41. At the bottom of the ramp turn right. Go 1/2 mile to the end of the road. You will go passed a footbridge as the road narrows to one lane. Continue a short ways to a large parking lot, parking only in designated spaces. (Note: A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park here.) The trail starts at the end of the road.

There is no westbound exit for Eagle Creek. You must continue on I-84 and take the Bonneville Dam exit, get back on to the interstate heading east and take exit #41.

Description

"One of the most spectacular trails in America, the route along Eagle Creek winds through a deep emerald chasm on tread that’s as much an engineering feat—blasted into ledges and tunneling behind a waterfall—as it is a scenic splendor. You’ll encounter a half dozen waterfalls, old-growth forest, and towering canyon walls. Not surprisingly, Eagle Creek is also one of the most popular trails in the Gorge, so prepare for company. And while dogs are permitted, they're discouraged—the trail has steep drop-offs and rough tread. Children will love this hike, but close supervision is advised." - www.wta.org

Notable Stops

At roughly 1.5 miles you come to Metlako Falls. (Note: As of December 2016, the viewpoint had fallen into the canyon below due to a winter storm. Trail officials are unsure whether or not the viewpoint will be restored due to the fact that the rock face is clearly unstable.) Metlako Falls via Northwest Waterfall Survey.

At 1.7 miles, you can drop off of the main trail and head down a spur trail which drops 100 feet to the river-level view of Punchbowl Falls. This 35-foot waterfall is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the entire Pacific Northwest. At 1.9 miles on the main trail, you can view Punchbowl falls from a different perspective. Here you can overlook the falls from a built viewpoint. Punchbowl Falls via Northwest Waterfall Survey.

Note: At the time of writing this post, the Tish Creek Bridge just beyond Punchbowl Falls, is currently washed out due to a previous storm. Crews are working to rebuild the bridge, but the project has had several delays and a finish date is not solidified yet. People have reported crossing the creek around the bridge with success but please use caution if you attempt this.

3.1 miles along the Eagle Creek Trail is where you run into Loowit Falls. This waterfall can be viewed from a portion of the trail which has been blasted out of the rock face, and replaced with a steel catwalk-like surface. Loowit Falls via Northwest Waterfall Survey.

At 3.5 miles, you will be able to hear the thundering Skoonichuk Falls. Many hikers end up missing this waterfall because you have to look closely to be able to see it through the trees. In order to get a clear view of the falls, it requires a steep scramble down to the stream level. Skoonichuk Falls via Northwest Waterfall Survey.

Nearing the 6 mile mark will reward you with arguably the best waterfall along the Eagle Creek trail. Tunnel Falls is a 165-foot waterfall that you are able to walk behind, in a tunnel. The portion of rock behind the waterfall was blasted away so that the trail could travel around the stream without requiring an expensive bridge. Tunnel Falls via Northwest Waterfall Survey.