Are you looking for a beautiful and not too difficult hike to a waterfall? If you happen to be in the Columbia River Gorge area grab your CamelBak, other Hydration Pack or Hydro Flask, check out some hiking tips, and get ready for a beautiful hike to Wahclella Falls!

If you live in Central Oregon like we do this isn’t a hike that you would make a day-trip to as the drive will take several hours from where we live in Bend. However, if you are traveling to Portland, or perhaps to Seattle like we were then you might want to make a point to stop for a short hike to break up your drive.

You will find the trailhead for Wahclella Falls along Interstate 84, you will use Exit #40, signed for Bonneville Dam (see directions below). The trail heads up Tanner Creek from the Wahclella Falls trailhead trail on an old, gated road alongside Tanner Creek to a small dam used by the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, at the small dam the trail narrows to a single tread trail. Shortly after the dam you will cross a bridge taking you over Munra Falls, then it starts to climb up the east side of the canyon. Along this part of the trail you will come to some outdoor stairs and a fork in the trail, which is the beginning of a loop trail to the falls. We took the right fork down into the canyon to the falls and then climbed out the other way at the falls.

Wahclella Falls in the Columbia River Gorge and Bonneville Dam Photos

View photo gallery of the Wahclella Falls hike and the Bonneville Dam in the Columbia River Gorge.

The trail to the right that we took gives you fantastic views of Wahclella Falls as you drop down the mountain along some switchbacks to the lower bridge. At the head of the canyon by the Falls the trail gains some elevation as you climb back up the canyon walls. At the falls the trail is quite slippery because of all the spray from the falls, so make sure you have proper footwear for this hike, no flip-flops and other shoes, wear good hiking boots and because of my double hip replacement surgery in 2015 I also always use trekking poles.

When you reach the trail junction, continue straight and head back to your car.

Fees: Northwest Forest Pass required at trailhead. You can get a pass at most sporting goods stores, or online, and most trails have a pay station at the trailhead. I am not sure if this one has a pay station as we always just get a yearly Northwest Forest Pass so I really don’t remember.

Directions: From Portland: Drive eastward on Interstate 84 to Exit #40, signed for Bonneville Dam. Turn right at the stop sign, drive about 100 feet and turn right again at the fork (left takes you to the Tooth Rock Trailhead). Follow the short road to the end where you’ll see the trailhead parking lot. Make sure you obey the no parking signs at the trailhead, and because the parking area isn’t real large there is overflow parking at Toothrock Trailhead about ¼ mile east. Because it is a fairly short drive from the Portland area it will probably be quite crowded on the weekends, so maybe make this a mid-week trip.

From the East: Travel westward on Interstate 84 to Exit #40. Turn left, pass under the freeway and enter the lot. Drive about 100 feet and turn right again at the fork (left takes you to the Tooth Rock Trailhead). Follow the short road to the end where you’ll see the trailhead parking lot.

Map of the Hike to Wahclella Falls

Check out our video of this hike on YouTube: