Punchbowl Falls Hike
|In This Guide|
|Distance||3.4 miles (5.5 km)|
|Total Climbing||580 feet (177m)|
|Park||Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area|
The Punchbowl Falls hike is one of the most beautiful hikes in Colombia River Gorge. This hike has waterfalls, cliffs, and scenery straight out of the Lord of the Rings. It’s easy to understand how Punchbowl Falls is a local’s favorite, and is good for all levels of hikers.
If you visit Eagle Creek in the fall, you might be able to see coho and chinook salmon spawning in Eagle Creek. Down the road is the Cascade Hatchery, where coho salmon are raised in an effort to restore the fish stocks of the Columbia Gorge.
As you hike up the steep gorge, you’ll see the basalt cliffs along Eagle Creek Trail that were made about 10-15 million years ago when lava was exposed to the air and water, then rapidly cooled. Eagle Creek carved the gorge that you’re walking up over thousands and thousands of years.
You’ll see signs telling you not to jump off Punchbowl Falls. Punchbowl Falls is over 100 feet high. People jump off the cliff. People are stupid. Do not jump off the cliff.
Getting to Punchbowl Falls
Use this trailhead address: 74162 NE Eagle Creek Loop, Cascade Locks, OR, 97014, USA.
You need a parking pass for Eagle Creek Trailhead.. I use the affordable National Parks Pass, which gets me in every park, monument, and national forest. Otherwise buy a Northwest Forest Pass at a ranger station or in some local shops.
Gear for the Hike
You can get away with fitness clothes here but hiking gear will certainly help. Here’s what I bring:
If you want hiking gear recommendations, check out my full gear list. I only recommend and review gear that I actually use. No company pays me to push their product. Everything on my gear list is battle tested on the trails, and should work well for you too.
See The Gear I Use
Punchbowl Falls Hike Maps
The Eagle Creek Trail has sections with a steep drop on one side. There is a steel wire secured to the cliff that you can hold on to, but it is not a place for children or dogs to run free. Take your time, hold on, and be safe.
I highly recommend bringing some form of paper map with you, and then using it in conjunction with a GPS device. You can see the navigation gear that I use here (I’m currently using the Fenix 5x and love it). Just download the GPX file below and load it onto your GPS.
Download the Hike GPX File
View a Printable PDF Hike Map
Punchbowl Falls Hike Directions
You can help other hikers. If you do this hike and something has changed, snap a few photos and email me the details. I’ll update the guide so that others can do the hike safely.