Things I brought:
- Water and Snacks
- Day Pack
- $5 (park fee)
I find myself wanting to go back to the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon all the time. It is unlike any other hiking places I have been to. Late May creates the most beautiful sites in this part of Oregon. Misty hikes caused from the down fall of water creates the perfect home for lush green plants and moss. Every picture you will take will fill the frame with nothing but the natural beauty of nature. On most of the trails you will get to trek near a beautiful river or creek, enjoy breathtaking waterfalls, and meet genuine people no matter what. The lush greenery and cold flowing waters are so inviting. Along the Eagle Creek Trail, you’ll come across many waterfalls like Upper and Lower Punch Bowl Falls, Loowit Falls, Metlako Falls, Skoonichuk Falls, but the one I am highlighting is Tunnel Falls. This unique waterfall allows you to actually walk through a tunnel that goes behind this roaring waterfall. It is quite invigorating to the senses while hiking along a narrow cliff that takes you behind Tunnel Falls.
You start the hike at the Eagle Creek Trail Head and hike for about 6 miles gaining roughly 1200 ft in elevation to reach the epic 165 foot Tunnel Falls. The trail has camping sites all along the trail so if you wanted to backpack for a couple nights, it is a possibility. That way you can take the time to enjoy every aspect of this eye candy of a trail. I plan on hitting that up for sure in the summertime. I say the summertime because there are so many side trails and opportunities to swim in the Eagle Creek. You can also hang out in one area with a “pool” and maybe bring a foam noodle or floaty because it is pretty light to carry. Just please make sure to pack all your garbage and waste out. We would like to keep these beautiful places the way nature intended.
My girlfriend and I started this hike at about 6 am in the month of May when it rained and had cloudy overcast daylight which was great for silky smooth water photos! If you go that early there aren’t a lot people so you will be able to find a lot of parking available. If you come later in the day it is quite busy as it is a popular hike. The fresh morning pine air is a nice awakening aroma that I could get used to.
All in all the hike is a 12 mile round trip to Tunnel Falls and back. You will eventually reach the Mt. Hood National Forest where you’ll need to fill out a little form so they can find you if you get lost somewhere. Remember to always be prepared for your hikes. We took all the side trails we could in the time frame we had and with the energy we had so I recommend staying multiple nights to get the full affect of Eagle Creek Trail. The trail does go further than Tunnel Falls so if you wanted to do a little more exploring, you could most definitely. Oh! One last note, you’ll get to walk over super awesome bridges that have amazing views!
Have you done this hike? If so let us know your favorite part about it!