Wahclella Falls, Wahclella Falls Trailhead, Portland - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Wahclella Falls - 2.0 miles
Wahclella Falls Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||2.0 miles (optional loop adds nominal distance)|
|Start-End Elevation:||56' - 309' (319' max elevation)|
Wahclella Falls - 2.0 Miles Round-Trip
The Wahclella Falls Trail follows Tanner Creek to the base of this powerful 127' waterfall. Wahclella Falls, variously referred to as Tanner Creek Falls or Tanner Falls, plunges in two tiers (48' and 79') through a narrow chute into a steep-walled amphitheater that prevents further travel for people and fish alike.
The trail begins on a wide, graded path lined by large big leaf maple. It follows the road-trail to a dam facility, just past which it crosses a bridge past Munra Falls, an interesting 'slide' waterfall.
The trail narrows on singletrack and climbs steps to an unmarked split for a nearly-equidistant loop option to the falls (.65 miles : 283').
The left fork stays high over the east bank, and the right fork drops to a bridge and the west bank. This description drops (right) to the bridge for an arguably more interesting approach, which traces the creek and crosses another bridge back to the base of Wahclella Falls (.98 miles : 309').
The creek snakes around massive boulders along the way, which have fallen from canyon walls above. These boulders create interesting bends and banks on the short walk-up.
The falls are notably voluminous and powerful - and though the large plunge pool is easy to reach, it's also very slick. Wind and spray can make Wahclella surprisingly difficult to photograph. You'll have to step back to see more of the upper tier.
A third tier higher upstream is even more difficult to see (best in winter with down leaves), but its disconnect from the two main tiers makes it a subjective component of the whole.
Return the way you came, or continue up from the falls on the loop, which rises up the east bank of Tanner Creek. This short section features large fir and cedar with useful perspective across the creek canyon, and the route you initially took to the falls.
The Bonneville Hatchery is Oregon's largest hatchery facility. Each year the Bonneville Hatchery raises 8.5 million fall chinook, 1.2 million coho, 215,000 summer steelhead and 60,000 winter steehead. It's estimated that for every 1000 fish raised, only 3 return as adults. Learn more about the Bonneville Fish Hatchery Program here!
- N45 37.822 W121 57.234 — 0.0 miles : Wahclella Falls Trailhead
- N45 37.427 W121 57.135 — .5 miles : Climb wood steps
- N45 37.297 W121 57.090 — .65 miles : Split for optional loop
- N45 37.082 W121 57.077 — .98 miles : Wahclella Falls
- Extra credit reading!: The 2016 Bonneville Hatchery Management Plan.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- There is no camping along the Wahclella Falls Trail.
Rules and Regulations
- A valid Recreation Pass is required to access the Wahclella Falls Trailhead (or pay the $5 day use fee). Complete the form and display in your vehicle as directed at the trailhead board.
- Dogs must be leashed at all times.
Directions to Trailhead
Directions to Wahclella Falls:
From I-84, take Exit #40 / Bonneville Dam. Turn south at the off-ramp stop sign and keep right (left goes to the Tooth Rock Trailhead). Follow the narrow road to the Wahclella Falls Trailhead parking area.
A $5 fee or valid recreation pass is required at this trailhead.
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
902 Wasco Ave | Suite 200
Hood River, OR 97031
Hood River Ranger District
6780 Highway 35
Parkdale, OR 97041
Mt. Hood National Forest | Headquarters
16400 Champion Way
Sandy, OR 97055
Hours: Monday – Friday, 7:30a – 4:30p (closed 11:30 – 12:30)