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Portland, OR: Wahclella Falls

or

Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 1.9 miles


This picturesque 2-mile lollipop loop visits a thundering, multi-tiered waterfall at the back of a narrow canyon in the Columbia River Gorge.
  • Trailside Cascade
  • Avalanche Lily
  • Weeping Wall
  • Wahclella Falls

There are plenty of scenic waterfalls through Oregon's Columbia River Gorge, but few are quite as impressive as Wahclella Falls. Tucked back in a narrow, almost tropical canyon, Wahclella thunders with spring runoff, filling the canyon with cool mist, while countless other seasonal cascades stream down the near-vertical walls. And the 2-mile lollipop loop trail is ideal for the whole family, or out-of-town visitors, to experience some of the wilder Gorge off the highway.

Start at the trailhead at the small parking area. Be sure to display your Northwest Forest Pass as this location is policed regularly. The trail begins alongside Tanner Creek on flat, wide path, shaded by lichen-covered maple trees. Pass a small intake dam, then proceed across a wooden bridge beside a fanning cascade tributary. The trail narrows and begins gradually climbing high above Tanner Creek. At a fork—the return from the loop section—veer left, gaining a bit more elevation, now surrounded by tall cedar, before descending to rocky outcrops surrounding the deep plunge pool beneath Wahclella Falls.

Cross a wooden bridge over the outlet to the other side of the creek and through a narrow, dripping undercut in the canyon's basalt walls. Proceed downstream, passing a wide rockfall slope and house-sized boulders that have pocked the creekbed. Cross another bridge back to the east side and climb a few easy switchbacks to the previously passed junction. Turn left to return to your starting point.

-Mapped by Eli Boschetto, Bosco Mountain Photo

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