- Home - Hiking Trails - Columbia River Gorge Hikes Punchbowl Falls Hike
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.
3.4 miles (5.5 km)
Crowds, cliffside walk (with handholds)
Punchbowl Falls Hike Trail Maps
Use this address in Google Maps to get to the trailhead:
74162 NE Eagle Creek Loop, Cascade Locks, OR, 97014, USA
The Punchbowl Falls hike starts in the Columbia River Gorge hub of Cascade Locks, OR. It's about 1 hour east of downtown Portland.
The hike to Punchbowl Falls gently climbs along the Eagle Creek Trail #440.
The hike climbs up above Eagle Creek, then you descend down to the falls.
Interactive Map Punchbowl Falls Hike Map Downloads Gear for the Punchbowl Falls Hike The best hydration daypack out there. The CamelBak Fourteener has been perfect on hikes of all distances (including Mt Whitney and Cactus to Clouds). It's light, has plenty of room for super-food snacks, extra layers, hiking gear, and comes with a 3 liter water bladder. I also like the raised sweat pads on the back that keep your back dry. It's the perfect blend of high-tech, durability, and simplicity. I've got hundreds of hours on it and still love it. CamelBak Fourteener Reviews My favorite hiking boot of all time. The La Sportiva Synthesis (for men and women) are waterproof, super-light, have incredible grip, and won a Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice Award ( my review here). I've gone through a lot of boots and these are my favorite. They feel like comfortable sneakers with the protection of hiking boots. La Sportiva Hiking Boot Reviews Don't hike without this in your backpack. It's a GPS emergency beacon and can save your life ( more on that here). On the trail, you're often out of cell phone range, and even something as simple as a twisted ankle could become a life and death situation. This beacon works where cell phones don't and is the size of a fist. Just press a button and help is on the way. Your life is worth every penny. ACR GPS Beacon Reviews For my complete gear list and survival kit contents, check out my post on the modern hiking essentials here. I'd also recommend taking a quick look at the Every day they mark down great quality hiking gear, fitness gear, and clothing. Pick up an inexpensive lifetime REI Outlet site. REI Membership for an extra 10% off. Punchbowl Falls Hike Directions What to Expect 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. 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. Punchbowl Falls is over 100 feet high. People jump off the cliff. People are stupid. Do not jump off the cliff. The basalt cliffs along the Eagle Creek Trail were made about 10-15 million years ago when lava was exposed to the air and water, where it rapidly cooled. Eagle Creek carved the gorge that you’re walking up over thousands and thousands of years. You need a parking pass. 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. Turn by Turn Directions The Eagle Creek trailhead is at the far end of the lot by the little shed. Don’t go down the trail to the shed, keep hiking left onto the Eagle Creek Trail. The trail winds up along the side of Eagle Creek through a wonderland of cliffs, waterfalls, and lush vegetation. Take time to admire the view of basalt cliffs across the Eagle Creek valley. Eagle Creek flows below. Make sure you stay safely on 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. At about 1.5 miles, you’ll hike across a little creek. 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. You’ll see signs warning against jumping off of Punchbowl Falls. Hike down the hill and you’re at Eagle Creek, above 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. Stop at the viewpoint turnoff on the way back to see Punchbowl Falls. It’s worth it! An easy way to give back is to simply pick up any trash you see on the trail. A quick note. These directions are meant as a guide for the hike, and not a definitive source. Conditions change, and the information here can be different based on time of day, weather, season, etc. There can be small side trails that you might see but I missed. I have made every effort to include all the information you need to complete the hike successfully. I recommend using this guide in conjunction with a map, GPX file, common sense, and call to the ranger station or park office. If you do the hike and notice something has changed, please contact me and I will update the guide.
The Triple Falls hike from Oneonta Gorge is scenic, great for beginners, and doesn’t have the big crowds that many other Columbia Gorge hikes have. And you get to see three waterfalls along the way!
The Dog Mountain hike isn’t easy, but it has the best panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge and Cascades high peaks. It’s also a great hike to avoid the crowds that you’d encounter on easier Columbia River Gorge hikes.
If you are not a hiking pro, this is where to start. Learning how to hike safely can mean the difference between a fun day outdoors or the hike from hell. This article will get you hiking in the right direction.
The 10 hiking essentials are the recommended key survival tools that hikers should bring with them on every hike. The original 10 essentials date back the 1930s. Here’s my take on the modern hiking essentials and how to use them.
I’m Hiking Guy, aka Cris Hazzard. I like to get outdoors, walk, and then write about it. It wasn’t always like that though.
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