Summary: This is a nice family hike for any one with the ability to walk a mile, rest, and walk a mile back. The trail starts out very broad and easy, climbs a bit and has one or two steep spots, but overall it's quite easy. Little kids will be fine - just hold their hand in one or two spots where there are drop offs. Near the falls the trail loops - you can stay to the right and come back the same way to avoid the sheer drops on the upper trail. It didn't look as though there was anything to be gained by taking the upper loop except some anxious moments, so we stayed low. Near the falls the space opens up and there is plenty of place to throw rocks and play. Take a picnic and find a nice spot to relax. The falls are beautiful and powerful even in late season. We went in mid-September. The leaves were just starting to change a bit, and the canyon and cliff walls were quite impressive near the top. This was a very nice way to spend a few hours with the family on a gorgeous day.
Trailhead: Wahclella Falls is on Tanner Creek, right by Bonneville Dam on the south side of I-84. Go east on I-84 to exit 40 - 40 miles from downtown Portland. Take a right and the trailhead is right there at the end of the parking lot. There are a few other trailheads immediately off the freeway, but this one is tucked back a few hundred feet - just follow the exit to the right and keep going until you find it. Several parking pass types are honored here, including the Federal NW Forest Pass, and if you don't have a pass you can pay your $5.00 day use fee at the trailhead. (Lat:45.63119 Lon:-121.95403)
Trail Guides for Wahclella Falls, near Bonneville Dam:
Pacific Northwest Hiking 1000 Hikes in OR and WA
by Ron C. Judd and Dan A. Nelsen (Avalon Travel Publishing)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Columbia River Gorge Nat'l Scenic Area, 503-668-1440
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Steve Snyder, who has posted 13 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Jdd on 2/19/2013
Sorry John. There is a fish ladder on the creek, must mean salmon.
Reviewed by JRG on 7/22/2012
Error: Reserved Word Found: @
Reviewed by john on 11/10/2011
If JDD is talking about my review, I was NOT referring to Eagle Creek. I stood right there at Wahclella Creek near the trail head parking lot and could have walked into the creek and touched the salmon. John
Reviewed by Viewer on 6/26/2010
Our family went here today and loved it. My husband has a bad hip and I have bad knees, normally a walk hurts and is painful if the trails are too steep but this one was just perfect. We found several places to stop and rest and cool off by the water. Our three kids had fun playing near the waterfalls and looking at all the beautiful butterflies. This will be one of our new places to hike.
Reviewed by Viewer on 5/2/2010
Beautiful fall! A must see. But be very careful- our car was one of five broken into the day we went. Cops recommended leaving nothing in the car, and not locking the doors so theives won't break your glass.
Reviewed by jdd on 4/9/2010
This is a nice hike. As the writing by one of the pictures says, the first 1/2 mile is very easy. At 0.3 miles, there is a small fish ladder and a little waterfall(50ft). One review tallking about salmon meant the Eagle Creek TH. Wachlella Falls, on the other hand, IS real nice for picnics. (From the falls, by parelleling the creek back, you might catch a glimpse of a small punchbowl falls.)
Reviewed by Todd on 3/24/2010
I've been visiting this trail for almost 10 years and it is still one of my favorites. In fact, I love it so much I proposed to my wife there. Great, easy hike. Stay along the lower (right fork) trail and the going is a bit easier. Plenty of spots to sit and relax and have a picnic near the falls. The best part is that this spot is almost always empty - very few visitors. Great place.
Reviewed by Kiley on 5/27/2009
Last year was the first time we ever hiked Wachlella and boy was it a beauty. Standing at the falls looking up at the basalt(?) cliffs makes you realize how powerful nature is. From the roar of the falls we sat and had a picnic. It was one of the most memorable hikes we have done.
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