Elowah Falls, Elowah Falls Trailhead - John B. Yeon State Park, Portland - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Elowah Falls - 1.5 miles

Elowah Falls Trailhead - John B. Yeon State Park

Heavy mist on the approach to Elowah Falls

Heavy mist on the approach to Elowah Falls

Round-Trip Length: 1.5 miles
Start-End Elevation: 92' - 227' (305' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +135' net elevation gain (+291' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Easy
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Elowah Falls - 1.5 Miles Round-Trip

Elowah Falls is located .75 miles from John B. Yeon State Park Trailhead in the Columbia River Gorge. The falls drop 213' along McCord Creek into a large, open amphitheater in a rainforest-like setting. Subjectively, Elowah Falls is among the most compelling in the gorge for its combination of height, volume, access and backdrop.

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Visitors will enjoy mild grades leading in, and a photogenic bridge spanning the plunge pool and outlet stream. Lichen-covered amphitheater walls join large cedar, fir and bigleaf maple to complete this notably verdant and kinetic setting.

The Gorge Trail #400 reaches a split for Nesmith Point just steps from the parking lot. Follow signs left for Elowah and Upper McCord Creek Falls. It rolls on a leafy path to a second split for Elowah and UMCF (.35 miles : 290') - bear left. The Gorge Trail rises and drops to the creek, which it follows to the base of Elowah Falls (.75 miles: 227').

Upper McCord Creek Falls - which are effectively Elowah's upper tier - can be accessed from this trailhead. The falls are nominally further but require a short traverse across a narrow, rail-guarded cliff that may be unsuitable for families or those uncomfortable with heights. UMCF adds an additional 1.2 miles to the roundtrip distance.

According to Waterfallsnorthwest.com, Elowah Falls is often cited as 289' tall. A USGS survey in 1916 measured the falls at 221', and a 2009 survey by Waterfallsnorthwest measured the falls at 213'. The discrepancy can likely be attributed to the inclusion of Upper McCord Creek Falls (which run just above Elowah) in the total height.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N45 36.744 W122 00.278 — 0.0 miles : Elowah Falls Trailhead
  • N45 36.751 W121 59.925 — .35 miles : Elowah Falls - Upper McCord split
  • N45 36.754 W121 59.708 — .75 miles : Bridge at base of Elowah Falls

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • There is no camping along the trail to Elowah Falls.

Rules and Regulations

  • Dogs must be leashed at all times.
  • No fee or recreation pass is required to access the John B Yeon State Park Trailhead.

Directions to Trailhead

Directions to John B. Yeon State Park Traihead:

From Portland (points west):

Travel east on I-84 to Exit #35 / Ainsworth. Turn left at the stop sign, then immeidately right (east) onto Frontage Rd. Continue east on Frontage Rd for 2.1 miles to the parking lot and trailhead on the right.

From Cascade Locks and Hood River (points east):

Travel west on I-84 to Exit #37 / Warrendale. Head west on Warrendale Rd (the off-ramp) to a stop sign. Turn left and go under the highway. Turn left (east) onto Frontage Rd and drive approximately .25 miles to the parking lot and trailhead on the right.

Contact Information

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)

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"Elowah is one of my favorite falls in the gorge - and just far enough away from the city to lighten the crowds. Upper McCord is also great, but you can't really 'hang out' the way you can at Elowah. Plus that narrow ledge and flimsy rail just before the falls always makes me nervous!"
Stephanie Henderson  -  Portlans  -  Date Posted: May 6, 2017


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