A walk to Wahclella Falls in the Columbia Gorge


Visiting relatives in Portland, Oregon, always means driving through the Columbia River Gorge, which offers the perfect opportunity to go for a hike before arriving in the city.

Over the years, the national scenic area east of Portland has become our go-to spot for getting out, with its numerous creeks and waterfalls. I don’t think we’ve ever been to the same place twice, though I’m sure we’ll eventually exhaust the options.

During a June trip, we chose the trail to Wahclella Falls.


The hike began as an easy walk along the mossy east bank of Tanner Creek, among shade trees and wildflowers. After a small dam, the trail narrowed, passed a small cascade, then climbed the canyon wall. At a junction, we continued above the east side of the creek, then dropped to a viewpoint at nearly 1 mile, with Wahclella Falls spilling from the basalt into a large pool.

After a little looking around, we crossed a bridge over the creek and continued down the west side of the canyon. A short distance down the trail, a bridge returning to the east bank provided a view of the cascading creek below. Once across, the trail climbed a couple of switchbacks to the junction and we continued back to the start the way we came.


Here are more photos from Wahclella Falls.

Distance: About 1.8 miles round trip.

Trailhead: About 37.2 miles east of Portland on Interstate 84, take exit 40 and turn south. After 0.1 mile, turn southwest into the parking loop.