Punchbowl Falls Hike

Punchbowl Falls Hike

In This Guide
  • Turn by Turn Hike Directions
  • Punchbowl Falls Trail Maps
  • How to Get to Punchbowl Falls
Distance3.4 miles (5.5 km)
Hike Time2 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Easy
Total Ascent (?)970 feet (296m)
Highest Elevation520 feet (158m)
Fees & PermitsParking Fee
Dog FriendlyLeashed
Park WebsiteColumbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Park Phone541-308-1700
Stay In Touch - - -

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. I recommend bringing 1L of water.

La Sportiva Spire

The La Sportiva Spire boots feel like comfortable sneakers but offer the protection of hiking boots. They’re great on everything from short hikes to longer hikes of 10+ miles. You don’t want to skimp on your feet.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: WomenMen

Opsrey Stratos 24

I test a lot of gear, and for short to medium day hikes, travel, and everyday use, the Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) are consistently the best. They’re lightweight, hold a hydration bladder to make drinking water easy, have lots of pockets to organize gear, and most importantly, are incredibly comfortable. Check out the reviews; they are impressive.
Reviews & Colors Here: Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) 

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI.

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend.See All of My Best Gear Picks Here

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

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.

Click To View Map

Punchbowl Falls Hike Map Downloads

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Fenix 6 Pro

I’m a big fan of GPS watches to follow my GPX track (which I also use as a sleep, wellness, and fitness tracker) and my current watch is the Fenix 6 Pro Solar (full review here). I load my GPX tracks onto the watch to make sure I’m in the right place, and if not, the onboard topo maps allow me to navigate on the fly. It’s pricey but it has a great battery, accurate GPS, and tons of functionality. If you want something similar without the maps and big price tag, check out the Garmin Instinct which is a great buy and does a lot of the same things.

Punchbowl Falls Hike 3d map
The hike to Punchbowl Falls gently climbs along the Eagle Creek Trail #440.
Punchbowl Falls Hike elevation
The hike climbs up above Eagle Creek, then you descend down to the falls.

Punchbowl Falls Hike Directions

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Eagle Creek trailhead
The Eagle Creek trailhead is at the far end of the lot by the little shed.
Eagle Creek Trail
Don’t go down the trail to the shed, keep hiking left onto the Eagle Creek Trail.
Punchbowl Falls Hike trail
The trail winds up along the side of Eagle Creek through a wonderland of cliffs, waterfalls, and lush vegetation.
basalt cliffs in Eagle Creek valley
Take time to admire the view of basalt cliffs across the Eagle Creek valley.
Eagle Creek
Eagle Creek flows below. Make sure you stay safely on trail.
Punchbowl Falls Hike trail
After about 1.3 miles there is a turnoff to the right. Continue hiking left, or make a side trip down to the view and come back and continue.
Punchbowl Falls Hike trail crosses creek
At about 1.5 miles, you’ll hike across a little creek.
Punchbowl Falls Hike trail
At about 1.6 miles, there’s a grove of trees. The main Eagle Creek Trail continues left. To go to Punchbowl Falls, hike to the right, through the trees to a trail down to the creek.
signs warning against jumping off of Punchbowl Falls
You’ll see signs warning against jumping off of Punchbowl Falls.
cris hazzard at punchbowl falls
Hike down the hill and you’re at Eagle Creek, above Punchbowl Falls!
scenery around Eagle Creek and Punchbowl Falls
Make sure you explore, create a rock sculpture, and poke around the spectacular scenery around Eagle Creek. When you’re done, hike back the way you came.
Punchbowl Falls
Stop at the viewpoint turnoff on the way back to see Punchbowl Falls. It’s worth it!

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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