Elowah Falls

Cascade Locks, Oregon

4.8/5
based on 8 reviews

Details

Distance

1.36 miles

Elevation Gain

512 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Scott Kranz

Avoid the crowds at Multnomah Falls without and hike to this amazing 220-foot, single drop waterfall in the scenic Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Multnomah Falls, which is about 5 miles from Elowah [along the Historic Columbia River Highway] takes a large portion of the crowd due to its visibility from the highway. With that said, you may get a much more deserted Elowah Falls if you decide to take the short but steep 15-minute hike to its base.

The hike to Elowah Falls is approximately 1 mile roundtrip with an elevation gain of 500 feet. The well-maintained trail follows McCord Creek through mossy maples and firs before opening up to views of the falls. Give yourself 1-2 hours for this out-and-back hike.

When you’re on the trail, keep an eye out for the fork in the trail at about 0.4 miles. There has been a sign in place indicating which direction you should head for the falls, but in case it’s missing, head to the left at the fork. The trail is moderately steep with sections of uneven rocks and roots, so wear sturdy hiking shoes. If you’re up for it, go for a dip in the pool at the base of the falls. If you’d prefer to stay dry, there’s a bridge near the falls, which is great for viewing and setting up your camera.

While visiting Elowah Falls, keep an eye out for native wildflowers like bleeding hearts, trilliums, and columbines in the spring. The falls flow year-round but are most impressive from winter to mid-summer when water levels are highest.

Once you've enjoyed the falls, head back the way you came. If you're looking to add a little more distance to your hike and see a second waterfall, you can take the other direction at the fork to Upper McCord Creek Falls. This will add about 1.25 miles to your hike. 

Bonus: Be sure to also stop at the John B. Yeon State Scenic Viewpoint on your drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway for sweeping vistas of the gorge.

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Features

Photography
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
Waterfall

Elowah Falls Reviews

This is Multnomah without the tourists. And arguably it’s better. Beautiful views and serene. Highly recommend!!

My parents have only been on a handful of hikes and this one was great for them! They really enjoyed it, the waterfall is gorgeous and the hike itself was just challenging enough for beginners. Definitely less crowds compared to other waterfall hikes in the area. I think this a must see! :)

Explorer

11/03/16

Easy hike and not as well known compared to other waterfalls in the gorge.

The hike to Elowah falls takes a little bit of effort and that's precisely what makes it more intriguing than the other popular, easy to get to (ie. walk right outside of your car) waterfalls nearby. The earlier you go in the day, the more likely you are to have it all to yourself. Not only is the waterfall stunning, but the bridge, river, and punchbowl the waterfall dives into make for great picture opportunities. I did this with our dog and 1 yr old kid and it was very doable. Not to be missed if you are in the area.

So much less congested than the other big name falls in the area. Easy trail.

This is an easy hike to an awesome falls in any season. It is not as crowded as other nearby falls. I would recommend to anyone in the gorge!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Upper McCord Creek Falls

Beacon Rock

Hamilton Mountain

Hardy and Rodney Falls

Wahclella Falls

Munra Point