Summary: Elowah Falls is very similar in appearance to Latourell Falls. The hike begins along the Gorge Trail (#400). Keep left at the first junction, then left again at the second junction (in 0.2 miles). This fairly easy hike will bring you to a bridge over McCord Creek right at the base of the falls, where you can watch the dramatic waterfall plunge 289 ft. right in front of you. If you go right at the second junction onto the Elowah Falls Trail, you will come to another great viewpoint of Elowah Falls, near the top of the waterfall. This Elowah Falls Trail also continues up to Upper McCord Creek Falls.
Trailhead: Go east along Oregon Interstate I-84, take exit 37 to John B. Yeon State Park (37 miles east of Portland). Trailhead is on the right. (Lat:45.61139 Lon:-121.99306)
Trail Guides for Elowah Falls Columbia River Gorge Or.:
Hiking the Columbia River Gorge
by Russ Schneider (Falcon Guide)
Columbia River Gorge
by Larry Geddis (Beautiful America)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: USDA Forest Service Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (541) 386-2333
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Drew Furnia, who has posted 23 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Patrick on 4/3/2011
Nice hike that is invigorating yet not overly strenuous. I suggest doing both hikes from the fork about 1/2 mile from the trailhead. The hike to Elowwah Falls is downhill from the fork & there's a nice spray from falls. Will definitely appreciate this in the summer - you'll get wet. Then hike back to the fork & do the upper falls. You'll be treated to a beautiful river & nice falls. This is a an uphill hike, which will allow a downhill hike on the way back to the trailhead. You'll appreciate this after hiking both trails. Will definitely be doing this hike again.
Reviewed by jdd on 4/30/2010
This hike is very nice. It's hard to find the TH, but the hike itself is worth it. Though the Elowah Falls trail is nice and more popular, the trail to Upper McCord Creek Falls is nice, too. It's pretty steep but has nice views of the Gorge. Stop at the 3rd falls (the first is view of Elowah).
Reviewed by Ben on 5/4/2008
I was on the trail today and it very good, very easy, it requires but a little effort. I noticed a family with little ones, and they were just fine, actually they passed my wife and me when stoped for pictures, and I didn't notice any extraordinary effort needed by little ones. When I say little, I mean four year-olds. So take your dog and kids and your neighbor's kids.
Reviewed by Terry on 9/17/2006
I just want to follow up on another review that talks about the narrow areas not being appropriate for kids that require a lot of hand holding. Most of the trail is like this. Although the slope is easy and it's not a particularly difficult hike, it is definately NOT for younger or unsure children. We enjoyed it though, and I would recommend it.
Reviewed by Melanie on 8/12/2006
We enjoyed this hike, but I wanted to share a few things for others who are looking for easy/family hikes especially. There were a few places on the trail where the trail got uncomfortably thin for me, where the outside edge was a cliff. We made it through all the spots ok with dogs, but it thins out to where everyone has to go through single-file for sure, which may be tough for kids who require more hand-holding. The trail also gets pretty steep in some downhills in the last half, as it moves in a stairway-type zigzag down the hill. The ground changes several times during the trail from smooth to rocky to pebble/gravel. There is one spot on the trail that is kind of slippery where water runs over. The end setting is worth the trip.
Reviewed by Arin on 12/11/2005
I have been hiking here since the age of 3, starting in 1979 with my late Stepfather Stephen Thompson. The best element of this trail is the plant life, as there are many small springs that harbor small water plants that live in the moss, and soak into the flat areas making a perfect place for trilliums to grow. After the floods in '96, the top of the upper falls became challenging to get to...but don't be afraid to walk the log - it's easier than it looks, and much easier coming back up to the trail. If one hikes this trail enough, they will find other hidden trails and areas, and even secret paths up to roads long forgotten. This area is rich in hidden history and is simple to navigate.
Reviewed by JA on 2/19/2005
This certainly is a nice, short hike and worth doing again. However, the rating of "easy" may apply to me, but it was not exactly that for the children. The trail in February was fairly steep and quite narrow at times. Otherwise, this was well worth a late afternoon jaunt. There is a small error in the directions to the trailhead. If you are coming from Portland, note that Exit 37 only applies to westbound traffic on I-84. From Portland, you can either get off at Bonneville Dam and turn around, adding about 6 miles to the drive, or else get off at Ainsworth and take Frontage Road to Yeon State Park. You cannnot get off Exit 37 heading east.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Oregon Hiking, Oregon Trails, Oregon Hikes, Hood River County Hiking, Hood River County Trails, Hood River County Hikes