The Eagle Creek
trail is well-known to Oregonians, and heavily visited throughout
the year. However, few outside the state know about this wild
canyon, though almost everyone has seen at least one of the many
waterfalls in a scenic calendar or postcard. The string of waterfalls,
deep, fern-lined gorges and towering cliffs are typical of the
Columbia River Gorge, but nowhere else in the Gorge is there
such a concentration of spectacular scenery.
The lower seven
miles of trail are literally carved into cliffs, often hundreds
of feet above the stream. The exposure is so great that cables
are installed in the rock to give hikers some sense of safety.
Dogs and children are discouraged on this trail, as a result.
This lower section of the trail is the focus of these pages.
Also note that
if you visit Eagle Creek, you must purchase a Northwest Forest Pass ($5 for one day or $30 per year)
to park at the trailhead. Parking is plentiful, though late arrivals
will spend the first half-mile walking to the trailhead!
Though the Eagle
Creek trail is continually within earshot of running water, you
should plan on carrying your own supply, or bringing equipment
to purify stream water. The cliff sections are extremely exposed,
so anyone subject to vertigo should proceed carefully, and turn
back if the first set of cliffs are uncomfortable... they only
get higher, and more exposed! Also, camping is strictly limited
to designated campsites, which fill up early. This trail is subsequently
best done as a day hike.
gain to the 7-mile mark is modest, with gradual climbs spread
throughout the hike. However, the trail surface is often rocky
and uneven, and anything less than a good pair of hiking shoes
or boots is not adequate. Also keep in mind that the Columbia
Gorge is home to poison
oak, and it grows
along some sections of the Eagle Creek trail. If you're susceptible
to it, keep an eye out in sunny, open cliff-tops and open oak
forests. Long pants are a good idea is you're particularly sensitive
- and this applies to any trail in the Columbia Gorge.
For up-to-date trail information,
check out the Columbia
Gorge National Scenic Area