- 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 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! Support This Site
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Triple Falls Hike
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!
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I hike a lot, and I go through a lot of gear. Here’s my best hiking gear list. This list features all the hiking gear that is worth your time, skipping the junk that you don’t need. I take a high-tech and low-tech approach, giving you the convenience of hiking with technology while offering low-tech backups in case the fancy gear fails. Everything you see in this hiking gear list is what I use on every hike that I do. I update this page regularly when I test and use new hiking gear.
Columbia River Gorge Hikes
The Columbia River Gorge hikes are some of the best in the USA. Just 45 minutes from downtown Portland, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area covers 292,500 acres of pure beauty. The Columbia River Gorge was formed over 12 million years ago, and boasts lush forests, spectacular waterfalls and views of the Cascades high peaks. On some hikes you can even see fish spawning.
Read More 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.
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Waterfall shot courtesy of