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Mentalfloss
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PostThu Apr 04, 2002 2:19 pm 
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This is a very popular trail, deservedly so.  I'd advise going on a weekday when the weather is not so great.  It's a waterfall trail all the way.  There are several tall, beautiful named falls and many more anonymous falls.

Use exit 41 off of I-84 about 40 miles east of Portland near Cascade Locks.  If you're coming from the east take exit 40. Drive to the end of the short road at the fish hatchery.  A permit is required.  The trail begins right there and there's only one trail after the bridge.  Stay on the left side of the river.  Don't cross the bridge or you won't be on the Eagle Creek trail.

You'll walk along the stream itself gradually ascending along a sometimes narrow ledge of a trail.  Nothing dangerous or that has poor footing except on icy days.  And right away you'll come to the first of the large falls, Metlako at about 1.5 miles.  Then there's Punchbowl which sits well below the trail.  A beautiful falls.  There is a side trail down to a stream level view of the falls.

The forest here is old growth, mostly Douglas fir, Western hemlock and Western red cedar along with several hardwoods such as Red alder and Vine and Bigleaf maple.  Wildflowers abound during the season.  Don't pick please.

For many this is the turn around point, but don't do it.  Keep going.

At 3.5 miles is high bridge which is a good footbridge over a narrow vertical-sided chasm.  Very exciting.  Plus you will have seen many more waterfalls along this section.  Just past the bridge, up and to the right, is a nice mossy area to take a break.

Another 2+ miles past this you'll come to a sharp bend to the left and you'll hear powerful Tunnel falls.  Walk the ledge to the falls and pass through the tunnel behind the falls.  Linger and feel the power of the water.  Check out the very nice wall of ferns watered by the mist from the falls.

Not far past this is Necktie falls and a quite narrow section of trail.  An inexperienced partner once had a difficult time getting past this section.  But just beyond it you reach the level of Eagle Creek, and a broad sunny place to take a break and refresh.  You're 1200 feet above the trailhead at this point.  

Along here and upstream a bit keep an eye out for the American dipper (water ouzel) which is a bird that walks or "flies" underwater.  You'll see it walking along completely underwater "grazing" on and among the rocks and gravel.  It has a wonderful bell-like call and is a lot of fun to see.  It's dark to medium gray and often will be in pairs.

And now...back to the trailhead.  I hope you brought a camera.

Landslides do occur during the rainy season and people are, at times, trapped behind them for a night or more.  Keep this in mind.  Stay put if this happens.  The trail will be cleared asap and you'll be able to get out.

My Webpage has some photos of this trail...none too good sorry to say.
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catwoman
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PostThu Apr 04, 2002 2:31 pm 
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Sounds beautiful!  I have a few questions though......

What kind of permit is it that you need?  NW Trail Park Pass?  Or something else?  What is the elevation gain?  Or was that what you were disclosing when you said you were 1200 ft above the trailhead?  How many miles to the "destination", and what, exactly, is the destination?  When you mentioned that there's a narrow portion of the trail that an inexperienced partner had some trouble on, what did you mean?  In what way did they have trouble, and how did being inexperienced have anything to do with that?  Or were they just a little timid about the narrow trail?
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Sore Feet
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Joined: 16 Dec 2001
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PostThu Apr 04, 2002 5:38 pm 
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Trail Park Pass is 'required' for all the trails (not in State Parks) in the Col. Gorge.

I haven't been there yet, hoping to get down there within a month or two, but from what I've read and seen, it's about 6 1/2 miles to Crossover Falls (mentioned above as 'Necktie Falls'), I think the elevation gain is something like 1000 feet over 6 miles, so nothing too bad.

Apparently the spot(s) mentioned as being intimidating is where the trail is sliced into the cliffs 100'+ above the gorge bottom...

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Bryan Swan
Pictures - http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryanswan
Waterfalls - www.waterfallsnorthwest.com
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rubberlegs
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PostFri Apr 05, 2002 12:03 am 
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Best creek hike I've ever done is Eagle Creek. Trail blasted out by the CCC. It's a non strenuous hike  (gentle gradient) but you have to be comfortable with a wee bit of exposure (hold that cable!).
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MCaver
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PostFri Apr 05, 2002 3:53 pm 
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I hiked just to Punchbowl Falls a year or so ago and it's a fantastic hike. I'm really anxious to get farther along the trail. One of my favorites in the CRG (which is one of my favorite places).

For more nice exposure walking along a cliff face, try the Upper McCord Falls hike as well.
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Dean
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Joined: 02 Mar 2002
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PostFri Apr 05, 2002 7:06 pm 
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Terrific hike to take anytime you are in the area. Here is a neat page showing route and some pics agree.gif

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Dean - working in Utah for awhile and feeling like it is a 'paid' vacation.
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=1160
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Mentalfloss
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PostTue Apr 16, 2002 11:43 am 
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Sorry...I've been absent (minded).

Sore Feet said it all though so there's not much that I can add.  There are a couple of narrow ledges with vertical drops that would result in a sudden overwhelming death episode but most have a steel cable for comfort.

I don't know of a better waterfall hike but unless you love crowds don't go any any weekend.  Midweek on a cold drizzly day is the best and you still won't be alone.

It's about 6.5 miles to the rest/turn-around spot just above Necktie Falls.

My friend is from flatland and this hike probably felt very exposed and exotic to her.  She did fine but had some head challenges to deal with.
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