Dry Creek Falls (Herman Creek Pinnacles Extension)
Central Gorge, Oregon
Dry Creek Falls (photographer: Yeng Tang)
Hike Details
Type:
Out and back
Distance:
4.4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
700 feet
Difficulty:
Easy
Trail Features
Family Friendly:
Yes
Restrooms:
Yes
Trailhead Pass:
Trail Details
WildflowersWaterfallWaterfall
An out and back hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) that begins in Cascade Locks and meanders through beautiful forest to Herman Creek. Dry Creek Falls is a beautiful waterfall that often gets overlooked by hikers. The trail is straight forward, although finding the trailhead from the parking area can be tricky. To access the trailhead, cross the road that leads to the Bridge of the Gods toll booth and start onto the PCT. The PCT parallels I-84.  There is an old orange safety fence here that encroaches the trail and is now more of a hazard than a help. In about 1/10 of a mile, you'll come to Moody Street as it crosses under the freeway. Walk the road uphill to the right for a bit, under the freeway. When the road angles left, go straight ahead on the gravel road a short distance to twin trailheads. Altogether, the road walking here is about 100 yards. Take the trail to the left, which is the PCT.
 
This heads gradually uphill, never too steep, through a pretty forest with dappled sun shining in. About one mile in, you'll come to a powerline access road. Turn right here and follow the road a short distance under the powerlines to resume the trail. After the powerline road, you'll come to a minor summit, and the trail begins a gradual descent to Dry Creek. Once you come to Dry Creek, the trail intersects another dirt road. Cross the road and Dry Creek on a wooden bridge, and continue on the PCT.  You can also head up to Dry Creek Falls by not crossing the bridge, but instead turning right at the road to head up about 2/10 of a mile to the falls. At the end of the road, there's a car turnaround and a fire pit.
 

Driving Directions

Bridge of the Gods Trailhead or Toll Booth Park:  From I-84 take Exit #44/Cascade Locks. Follow the signs to Bridge of the Gods/Stevenson. Before crossing the bridge, you'll see a wooded park on your right. This is the trailhead. Park here. Please note this trailhead is closed during the winter months. If so, park near the Charburger restaurant or under the bridge. There's plenty of parking there. The trail begins across the road (south of the trailhead), passing under I-84.

Community Connection

Lyle Cherry Orchard’s trailhead is located approximately one mile from the Gorge town of Lyle and is home to the “Lyle” sign that sits above the community. Since this preserve was opened to the public the Lyle Cherry Orchard has provided the community with an accessible natural space right in their back yard. The sunny and dry preserve is the perfect hiking spot to visit during the rainier fall days in the western gorge. Visitors from the Gorge and beyond recreate on Lyle Cherry Orchard and in turn support the local economy.

Photo: View of town of Lyle from Lyle Cherry Orchard (Debbie Asakawa)

Preserve Story

The property where Lyle Cherry Orchard Preserve lies currently was once grazing land for cattle and as the name suggests the eastern part of the preserve held a cherry orchard. The orchard and its trees were well abandoned by the time Nancy Russell purchased the property piece by piece in the 1990’s and later donated it to Friends in 2009. Nancy purchased the property when it came up for sale because it was within key viewing areas on the Oregon side of the Gorge and would have most likely become subdivided for development.

The land is also home to remnants of Lyle Convict Road, a demonstration road built by Sam Hill to convince Washington legislators to fund a Columbia River Highway. When Washington showed no interest in Sam’s project, he invited the entire Oregon legislature to his Maryhill estate to see his "Good Roads" work and Oregon quickly agreed to build on their side of the river what is today the Historic Columbia River Highway.

The trail at Lyle Cherry Orchard was started in when Friends' founder Nancy Russell purchased the property and has been open to the public and maintained Friends and its land trust ever since. In 2019, Washington Trails Association started work to reroute some parts of the trail and add new trail to explore for the benefit of Gorge residents.

In 2013, the land trust and volunteers removed a dilapidated house and outbuildings on the southwestern end of the property. Countless hours were spent removing building materials, old vehicles, garbage, and debris. In 2015 volunteers removed over 1,700 feet of fencing material on the property to allow for the free movement of wildlife across the landscape. Without the help of Friends volunteers and Gorge community members, projects like this would not be possible.

Photos: Before and after cleanup at Lyle Cherry Orchard (Friends' archive)