“the most popular trail in the Columbia Gorge”
Punchbowl Falls. High Bridge. Tunnel Falls. For hikers, the names mean one thing: Eagle Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge. Punchbowl Falls, two miles from the trailhead, is only 15 feet high, but its setting is superb. A short side trail leads down to a rounded amphitheater where the falls shoot over an undercut cliff and plunge full force into an emerald pool of water. High Bridge spans Eagle Creek 3.3 miles from the trailhead in an area of steep cliffs. The water rushes cool and clear 50 feet beneath the bridge. Tunnel Falls, a 100- foot plunge on the East Fork of Eagle Creek, earned its name when the trail was blasted through solid basalt behind the falls. The roar of the falls is deafening from inside the tunnel, while the roof drips incessantly. Eagle Creek's beauty does not come without a price. During last year's hiking season, 42 percent of total usage in the 39,891- acre Columbia Wilderness was on the Eagle Creek Trail. A total of 4,903 visitors were counted at the wilderness area boundary, 4.8 miles from the trailhead.
This is an amazing, but I thought moderate-difficult hike. Its 12 miles round trip out and back to tunnel falls so it took me about 5 hours at a moderate pace. The trail is typically well kept as it is an extremely popular hike on nice days. However, going in December lead to very sparse crowds (enough to know I wasn't alone, but infrequent enough to see one party every mile or so). Make sure to take enough time to see all of the waterfalls and don't skip just because you want to make it to tunnel falls quicker. The high bridge is spectacular as are some of the unnamed falls along the way. This is one of the better hikes that I have done recently.
This trail is an easy hike along the edge of eagle creek and can take you to a great waterfall. Past the waterfall there are some nice campsites near the creek. The terrain can be a bit tricky when it's wet due to the rocks you hike on for stretches that happen to be along sheer cliffs but most sheer sections have a cable drilled into the rock wall. This trail is dog friendly but I would strongly recommend using a leash along some of the edges.
A amazing hike, easy trail with breath taking views!
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Eagle Creek Trail
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