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Punchbowl Falls Hike

Punchbowl Falls Hike

In This Guide
  • Turn by Turn Hike Directions
  • Punchbowl Falls Trail Maps
  • How to Get to Punchbowl Falls
Total Distance (?)3.4 miles (5.5 km)
Hike Time2 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Easy
Total Ascent (?)970 feet (296m)
Highest Elevation520 feet (158m)
Fees & PermitsParking Fee
Dogs AllowedLeashed
Alerts & Closures (?)Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Park Phone541-308-1700
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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.

Griptightone Gpod Tree

Better Than a Selfie Stick
Part of the fun of a hike is taking pictures, and a flexible JOBY smartphone tripod takes it to the next level. You can use it as a selfie stick, as a regular tripod, but more importantly, as a flexible tripod that can attach to tree branches and other objects. It’s not expensive, and it’s something you can use when not hiking too.

Latest Price
Amazon

Astro Headlamp

Your Biggest Asset If You Get Lost
If something goes wrong and you get lost, sprain your ankle, or get delayed, you might be caught out after dark. And one of the top items that search and rescue departments recommend you carry is a light. Now smartphones have lights, but they drain the battery quickly. It’s better to invest in an expensive yet high-quality headlamp like the Black Diamond Astro 250. It takes AAA batteries, can last 200 hours, and has an emergency strobe. Carry it with you off the trail to use in emergencies as well.

Latest Price
Amazon – REI

Rei Member Card 2

REI Membership Saves You Money Forever
Have you shopped at REI before? They have all kinds of active clothes and gear, from fitness, to hiking, to snow sports, to casual wear. It’s an overall great place to shop (here’s why) and they offer a $20 membership that gets you 10% back on everything for life, along with frequent coupons, discounts, and member-only sales. It’s a no-brainer.

REI Membership 
Get It Here

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated October 2021.

My October 2021 Top Gear Picks

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 keep the website ad and promotion free. 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 Here To View

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.

Gaiagps

How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 6. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.

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!

This guide last updated on March 15, 2019. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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