Eagle Creek: Tunnel Falls

When you hike Eagle Creek, there are so many waterfalls and spectacular views across the canyon that you almost get used to them. Then after about 6 miles and a 1000 feet of elevation gain, when the legs are beginning to feel tired, you turn a corner and get the first glimpse of tunnel falls. What you notice first is the impressive hiking trail to it. This is one of the places where the trail has been blasted out of a sheer cliff face. In fact, tunnel falls is contained within a basalt amphitheater and this would be the only way to both get to enjoy the falls and to be able to continue the trail – unless a huge bridge were constructed across the gorge.

The trail is about ½ way up the amphitheater. Even more impressive is the feature that gives the falls its name – tunnel falls. The trail is blasted right through the back of the falls creating a tunnel. You not only see and experience the falls, but you can feel it through the rocks.

The falls was roaring when I went. In fact our guide said that he had never seen so much water flowing over it before. It is described as anywhere between 100ft and 200ft, but it feels so much more impressive than that because of the proximity. The falls is not actually part of Eagle Creek, but a tributary falls joining the creek. The water comes from Wahtum Lake.

A NW forest pass is required and a day pass can be purchased on site for $5. Just so you now, there is no entrance onto I84 heading back to Portland. You have to continue east and turn around at the next exit. Similarly if you are coming from the east, you have to go past Eagle creek and backtrack to exit 41.

Along the way, you will also see Loowit Falls

Brought to you by Brian Bailey

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