Punchbowl Falls Hike
|In This Guide|
|Distance||3.4 miles (5.5 km)|
|Hike Time||2 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||970 feet (296m)|
|Highest Elevation||520 feet (158m)|
|Fees & Permits||Parking Fee|
|Park Contact||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. I recommend bringing 1L of water.
Here’s the gear that I personally use, have tested, and recommend for this hike*.
Good for light and more hardcore hikes. Feels like a sneaker but protects like a hiking boot.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Punchbowl Falls Hike Map Downloads
Download the Hike GPX File
View a Printable PDF Hike Map
Punchbowl Falls Hike Directions
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.