Trek #26: Eagle Creek

I think it’s very fitting that my halfway point hike on this yearlong journey was Eagle Creek. It was the longest, albeit not very challenging hike. It did, however, have nearly the best of everything for a hike: beauty, waterfalls, and miles and miles of very peaceful nature.

While I did hike Eagle Creek during its busy season, and on a weekend day to boot, we made sure to get there plenty early, beginning the hike just after 9am. Like most of the other long, scenic hikes I’ve gone on, I find that the majority of folks who head to the trails don’t go much further beyond an initial scenic point (such as beyond the paved path at Multnomah Falls). Eagle Creek wasn’t too much different, in that most folks used Punch Bowl Falls as their turn-around point (a beautiful spot 2 miles in). We had arrived early enough that there were only a few photographers milling around Punch Bowl Falls, but on our return by early afternoon it was packed with photographers, families and teenagers splashing around in the water. Overall, this 13 mile out-and-back hike was quite a lovely trek, highlighted by a few very pretty waterfalls:

The famous and inviting Punch Bowl Falls.

…And culminating in Tunnel Falls, which really just takes your breath away:

Eagle Creek: Conquered.

What was interesting about this hike is that while the terrain itself is not very challenging (1,100 foot gain over many miles on mostly secure trail), towards the end I found myself just wanting to hurry up and see Tunnel Falls. I found myself quite impatient with the two or so miles prior to reaching it. I think it’s because of the several talus slopes you have to traverse to get there, but I found after reading a few reviews of this trail I wasn’t the only one that felt ready to get to Tunnel Falls in those last two miles. However, once you reach it, it is totally worth it. Just a gorgeous point to reach before turning back.

I’d recommend this hike for nearly everyone, except those who have an extreme fear of heights or imbalance. There are various points on the trail where there are sharp cliff drop-offs, but there are cables bolted into the cliffside you can grab on to for balance/bearings. We didn’t have any issues on the trail, but I imagine during the rainy season those cliffsides get mighty slippery, so those cables probably get ample use. Overall, exertion-wise, this trail is great for most folks who are looking for a satisfying day hike.

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Treks Down: 26, Treks to Go: 26

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