Notice: 10/3/2017 – This trail and many others in the Columbia River Gorge are closed until further notice, sometime in 2018 or later, due to the Eagle Creek Fire.
About 37 miles east of Portland, OR in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
From Portland, Oregon, take I-84 east for about 40 miles and take exit #41 for the Eagle Creek Recreation Area. The exit is just after the highway tunnel. Follow the road to the right, up a one lane paved road to the trailhead. Parking is limited and this is one of the most popular trails in the Gorge.
From Hood River, Oregon, take I-84 west to exit #41 and return to the freeway eastbound. The exit is just after the tunnel. There is no westbound exit at Eagle Creek.
Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail – Bonneville Segment
Length and Elevation:
Distance is 12.58 miles roundtrip. Elevation at the trailhead is 90 feet.
From Eagle Creek cross back over Eagle Creek and head up the road and climb up the stairs with the bike gutter. From there generally go downhill passing the Tooth Rock Trailhead.
Continue along the trail with views of Bonneville Dam and all the related structures. Soon you’ll come to the trail to Wahclella falls and pass over Tanner Creek and then the trail passes under the freeway. The next section of trail is next to the freeway and the sand, rocks, and other debris land on the trail from winter snowplowing operations.
Now the trail is between the freeway and the Columbia River. There are trees and brush along the trail so there isn’t a continuous river view. After a little over a mile pass back under the freeway and pass a junction for Trail 400 and Munra Point. Venture down Trail #400 the bridge over the creek and enjoy the sound of Moffett Creek and the views of the creek.
In the next .75 mile are two more junctions for Trail #400. The second one is a bit before the old concrete highway bridge over McCord Creek. Take this trail for an easy walk of just under .5 mile to Elowah Falls which is 213 feet tall and one of the prettiest falls in the Gorge. During high streamflows the bridge gets slick from the mist from the falls constantly drenching the wood bridge deck.
Return back along Trail #400 and rejoin the paved trail. Continue west and you’ll soon pass Wahclella falls. Pass under the freeway and climb a couple of switchbacks and go next to the westbound lanes of the highway for a bit. Cross a couple of old highway bridges and end at John B. Yeon park.
Coming back you start the slow climb to gain elevation to pass the Bonneville Dam.
Drop down a bit and pass Wahclella Falls and the Tooth Rock Trailhead. At Wahclella falls, we took the frontage road up and over the hill to the Tooth Rock Trailhead to get away from some of the highway noise.
This is a great hike or bike trip and is great for kids. During high stream flows they will delight in seeing all the mist.
Enjoy the photos!!