Hike to Mossy Grotto Falls
Oregon › Ruckel Trail Parking Area
Added by Chase Dekker
This beautiful, hidden waterfall (20 ft. tall) was discovered in the last decade and is located off of a popular hiking trail in the Columbia River Gorge.
This newly discovered waterfall has become a favorite for photographers – even so, it has yet to receive an official name. The waterfall is located just 300 feet off the Ruckel Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge, but it can be quite challenging to access. The rewards are well worth the slippery trail, however.
On the trail, you will climb some pretty good grades through beautiful thickets of forests and a few open meadows. After 0.8 miles of hiking, you will arrive at a very large, easily identified clearing, called Indian Pits. Walk about 150 feet through the clearing and you will see trampled ground to your right, heading downhill. Follow this unofficial trail (treaded by outdoor photographers) as you descend rapidly down a steep grade. Be careful, this part of the hike has some slippery, moss-covered rocks!
Once you reach the creek, the falls are just a few hundred feet upstream. If you are hiking at night, be sure to bring a flashlight or headlamp, as the light disappears quickly here, and it is much harder crawling back up the hill to the trail than it is coming down!
Head out of Portland on Interstate 84 East and take exit 41. Park at the lot adjacent to the fish hatchery, and follow the paved path along the highway for a half mile to reach the Ruckle Creek Trailhead.
Ruckle Creek Trail #405 Trailhead: 45.645264, -121.918747
Mossy Grotto Falls: 45.6361536,-121.8870842
- Sturdy hiking shoes or boots
- Hiking poles
- Rain jacket (esp. in wet winter months)
- Water and snacks
- Camera and tripod
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
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Give me a break
@eric Bennett Are you kidding? "Ferns and foliage" have been destroyed and will never be the same? Do you have any idea how quickly those sorts of things regenerate? Ive bushwhacked a trail in January only come back in May and find it completely overgrown. Littering is a different story. That is straight disrespectful. I appreciate your concern for the outdoors. But let's not get the whole "leave no trace" idea twisted. Saint Helen's completely leveled miles of forest. Look at it now.
Beautiful Falls, Terrible Damage
Hey guys so first off this is way more than 1.6 Miles round trip. It is about 3 each way depending on where you come from and takes a bit of bushwhacking to get to. Anyone looking to find it probably will though, although it is a bit confusing and I got lost several times when I went for the first time. However, the reason I am writing this review is more to just make you aware that this beautiful location has been significantly damaged by photographers and hikers. A lot of the foliage and ferns have been destroyed within the last couple of years. If you look at older photos of this place it is a beautiful, lush scene, It is mostly dirt now sadly enough and I don't know if it will ever look the same. If you come here, please respect it, mind where you step, and LEAVE NO TRACE.
Wasn't Able To Find
The directions are really hard to follow, but I did find the right trail and then ended up going down the hill, but couldn't find the falls at the bottom. TONS of downed trees made it really hard to walk. Wouldn't recommend unless you are REALLY looking for a crazy adventure.
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