Hike to Tunnel Falls
Oregon › Eagle Creek Trailhead
Added by Michael Matti
Tunnel Falls is a unique tunnel behind a beautiful waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge. Pass several other waterfalls while you hike through lush forests a trail built into the cliffside.
This hike begins at the Eagle Creek Trailhead. This is the same trailhead that goes to popular Punchbowl Falls. The trail to reach Tunnel Falls is 12 miles roundtrip on an out and back trail. If you continue another 0.5 miles on the trail after Tunnel Falls you will reach Twister Falls. The hike takes you past several other waterfalls on the way to Tunnel Falls including: Punchbowl Falls, Metlako Falls, Loowit Falls, and Skoonichuck Falls. The hike also goes along a cliff and is literally built into the side of the cliff at some points. There is a railing to hold onto for peace of mind.
The most unique part about Tunnel Falls is the tunnel behind the falls. You can also do some exploring at the base of Tunnel Falls if you make your way down the steep embankment before you get to the tunnel.
- Water shoes (If you plan to do any exploring around the falls)
- Plenty of water (it is a long hike)
- Camera and Tripod
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One of the best Gorge hikes
The hike takes you across a river canyon over a high bridge. Bring your camera! Many things to see along the trail. Make sure to buy a parking pass before you go because you will be forced to pay anyways if you do not (the fine for us was $5)
Awesome 12-mile trail run
This is one of my favorite trail runs in the Gorge. Path is nice and wide, even when it gets exposed on the cliff side. There are some rocky bits that will (or should) slow you down - be extra careful on these when it's damp or rainy. If the weather's nice, even mid-week, expect to see a lot of people on the path. Camping is possible past High Bridge and there are designated campsites closer to the waterfall, so you may run into backpackers as well. At mile 5 you'll enter the Hatfield Wilderness area where filling out a free permit is required to continue on to Tunnel Falls.
Hike is longer than 12 miles
This hike is an 17.5-18 mile roundtrip, not 12 miles. The hike is not difficult in the sense of elevation gain because it's gradually going up hill, rather the length of the hike is difficult; 6 hrs approx.
Eagle Creek is a great place to hike even in rainy weather. The amount of views and waterfalls make 12 miles fly by, and with the elevation spread over those miles is a very easy hike. Make sure to pack some snacks to enjoy along the creekside!
This is one of the best trails in The Gorge. If you like somewhat narrow cliff trails with intermixed spots of forest, this is the place to go. One of the best runs of my life was on this trail on rainy, 40˚ morning in March, there was no-one else on it on the way out and with less vegetation you could see the falls better. I turned around at Tunnel Falls but there's plenty of more trail if you want it. I don't recommend stopping long in those temps though because you can get cold pretty quickly with just running layers on.
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