Eagle Creek Recreation Area

Park in Cascade Locks

The beautiful, 13.2-mile Eagle Creek Trail is the gorge's most popular hike; on summer weekends, get here early to snag a parking spot. Early gorge promoters engineered this historic trail in 1910 to coincide with the opening of the Historic Columbia River Hwy. The trail passes a dozen waterfalls as it meanders up wooded slopes and sheer rock walls through a narrow basalt canyon.

From the trailhead it's 6 miles to Tunnel Falls, which crosses a dizzying bridge over a 150ft chasm before reaching a tunnel carved behind a waterfall. Backpack overnight at 7.5 Mile Camp to turn a tiring day hike into an easy two-day trip. Punchbowl Falls (4 miles round-trip) and High Bridge (6.4 miles round-trip) are turning points for shorter hikes.

The trail continues past Tunnel Falls for longer backcountry loops to viewpoints at Wahtum Lake and Benson Plateau, accessible via connections with the Pacific Crest Trail and Ruckel Creek Trail.

Parts of the trail are perilously high and lack guard rails, making them dangerous for children and dogs. These sections have metal aid ropes, but even so those with vertigo issues should be extra careful. Early-season hikers should also check online to ensure that trails are clear; storm damage is frequent.