Wahclella Falls ©Greg Lief
Wahclella Falls ©Greg Lief

Wahclella Falls

Western Gorge, oregon

This trail heads up Tanner Creek from the Wahclella Falls Trailhead. At the small dam used by the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, the trail narrows to a single tread, and leads to a bridge taking you over Munra Falls. The trail then begins to climb up the east side of the canyon. There aren’t any cliffs here, but there are some steep drop-offs, so keep a close watch on your little ones. After a flight of stairs, you’ll come to a fork in the trail. The end of the trail is a loop, so you’ll end up hiking both sides. Taking the lower path, you’ll find great views as you approach Wahclella Falls, dropping down the mountain through a couple of switchbacks to the lower bridge. At the head of the canyon, you’ll pass through a bit of a grotto with a full view of Wahclella Falls. Past Wahclella Falls, the trail gains a bit of elevation and loops back toward the trailhead. When you reach the earlier trail junction, continue straight and head back to your car.

This hike is part of our 2014 Histories & Mysteries Challenge. Let us lead you to some of the geologic and historic features that make the Gorge unique!

Trail Map

Driving Directions

Wahclella Falls Trailhead
From Portland: Take I-84 to Exit 40, signed for Bonneville Dam. Turn right at the stop sign, drive about 100 feet and turn right again at the fork (left takes you to the Tooth Rock Trailhead). Follow the short road to the end where you'll see the trailhead parking lot.

From the East: Travel westward on Interstate 84 to Exit #40. Turn left, pass under the freeway and enter the lot. Drive about 100 feet and turn right again at the fork (left takes you to the Tooth Rock Trailhead). Follow the short road to the end where you'll see the trailhead parking lot.

There are several trails that start here and the place is basically a maze. The Historic Columbia River Highway Trail passes through near the freeway ramp. Westward, the trail immediately crosses the Tanner Creek Bridge then ducks under the highway and heads west about a mile to the Moffett Creek Bridge. The trail heads east basically as a wide, fenced shoulder of the freeway ramp toward Tooth Rock and Eagle Creek. Gorge Trail #400 is here too. From, the west, it drops down the west side of the Tanner Creek Gorge and hooks up with Historic Highway Trail. After crossing Tanner Creek on the using the HCRHT, the 400 sets off again eastward on it's own right at the freeway interchange. The 400 trail eventually goes to Eagle Creek, as well, but not before meeting Tanner Road and Wauna Viewpoint Trail. The most used trail here is, of course, the Wahclella Falls Trail heading south a mile to Wahclella Falls.

Hike Information:

  • Type of Hike: Out and Back
  • Length: 1.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 300 feet
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Restroom Facilities: Yes
  • Fees and Regulations: NW Forest Pass

Features:

  • Waterfall
  • Family Friendly

Difficulty Levels

Easy: Up to 3 miles, less than 700 ft. elevation gain
Moderate: Up to 5 miles, less than 1,500 ft. elevation gain
Strenuous: Up to 10 miles, up to 2,500 ft. elevation gain
Rugged: Over 10 miles, steep trail, over 2,500 feet elevation gain

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Contact Information

Credits

Trail maps are courtesy of NWHiker.org. Hike descriptions were collaboratively written with the generous support of Portlandhikers.org.