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Pacific Northwest



Wahclella Falls

Hiked:   Summer, 1998 
Length:   1.8 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain:   300 feet
USGS Quad:   Tanner Creek
GPS Coordinates:   N: 45 37' 06"
W: 121 57' 01"
Photo Gallery:   Wahclella Falls Photos

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To Reach (From Portland):

Take I-84 eastbound to Exit 40 (Bonneville Dam).  Turn south (away from the dam), and pull into a parking area just ahead on the right.

The Trail:

Begin hiking from the trailhead down an old, gated road, paralleling Tanner Creek.  When the road ends at a small water intake dam for the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, continue down the trail through a scenic canyon. 

You'll pass 60-foot Munra Falls along the way, before the 350-foot Wahclella Falls emerges before you, encompassed by a beautiful grotto.  There are rocks for picnicking, a pool where you can swim if you're so inclined, and the ever-present thunder of the falls, dropping into the pool below.  During late fall, you can see spawning salmon in the pool area.

Wahclella Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the gorge, providing a 290-foot upper falls, dropping into a 60-foot horsetail and the pool below.  To the left, you can see delicate East Fork Falls tumbling down the cliff.  After relaxing for a while, you can take the loop trail around the pool, and back to the car. 

Our Take:

This 0.8-mile trail is a wonderful stop-off point, if you want to bring a picnic, and don't want to spend a whole day or expend a lot of energy.  The short, smooth stroll climaxes at what is a wonderful, but undervisited waterfall, creating a beautiful setting for a glass of wine and a snack.

We took Sandra's sister, Anna, with us on this stroll, and although she is not a hiker by nature, she had a great time, and even asked to go on more hikes after this.  It took only a couple of hours, including an extended lunch break, and we had plenty of time left to explore other areas that day.


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