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)
DifficultyEasy
Total Ascent (?)970 feet (296m)
Highest Elevation520 feet (158m)
Fees & PermitsParking Fee
Dog FriendlyLeashed
Park ContactColumbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Park Phone541-308-1700

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.

Here’s the gear that I personally use, have tested, and recommend for this hike*.

La Sportiva Spire

La Sportiva Spire GTX

Good for light and more hardcore hikes. Feels like a sneaker but protects like a hiking boot.

Women’s Reviews

Men’s Reviews

Rei Flash 22

REI Flash 22 Pack

This is a super-light and comfortable backpack that can hold everything you need on a hike, including a hydration bladder. It also works great as a general backpack or carry-on.

See Colors & Prices

Joby On Triee

Joby Smartphone Tripod

Make your photos stand out by using this lightweight, do-anything tripod. The Joby attaches your smartphone to trees, rocks, whatever you can find on the trail. Folds down compactly too.

See the Joby Options

Don’t waster your money on hiking gear that’s no good, I’ve done that for you already! Full HikingGuy Gear List

* 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 REI link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

Also → Big Sale at REI On Now:

REI SALE

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

Here’s what I use to navigate my hikes. I recommend a combination of paper and electronic options with backups.

Gaiagps

Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS is a planning and navigation tool that you can use on your phone, tablet, and the web. I use it on my phone when I need to interact with the map and know where my position is on it. I use it at home on the computer to plan routes. You can overlay maps such as public lands to find out free places to camp. It’s a powerful tool.

HikingGuy Discount on Gaia GPS

Fenix Nav

Garmin Fenix Watch

This thing does everything: maps, GPX tracks, compass, barometer, altitude, heart rate, blood oxygen, fitness tracking, sleep tracking, and the list goes on. I keep a GPX route on the watch so I can quickly glance down and make sure I’m in the right place.

Fenix Prices & Reviews

My In-Depth Review

Topo Map

Topo Maps & Guide Books

Don’t be caught out if your batteries die. Take a topo map with you on the trail. Some people also print my guides out for use on the hike.

I also highly recommend taking a map and compass navigation course. It’s a few hours, it’s fun, and it could save your life.

Map and Compass Navigation Basics Classes

Don’t just rely on a cell phone, especially if you are hiking in the backcountry.

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

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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