The hike to Dry Creek Falls is short, easy and gorgeous, especially when the leaves are changing color in the fall. It is a beautiful single-stream cascade that flows down 75 feet in front of large slabs of columnar basalt.
The hike to Dry Creek Falls is short, easy and gorgeous, especially when the leaves are changing color in the fall. The trail is a 4.4 mile out and back, and is a great, quick trip for hikers on a time budget. Once you are done on the trail, try the East Wind Drive-In if you feel like a delicious milkshake with fries or a burger. It is practically right across the street from the trailhead.
What Makes It Great
Dry Creek Falls is anything but dry. It is a beautiful single-stream cascade that flows down 75 feet in front of large slabs of columnar basalt. The falls flow into the Dry Creek after exiting the large bowl that was formed in the columnar basalt from the water pressure. The structure below the falls is the remnants of an old water control structure that was once a provider of water for the city of Cascade Locks. Dry Creek is still used by the city of Cascades Locks as a municipal water source.
The hike starts from the parking area at the Bridge of the Gods Trailhead, where you should cross the road and head to the signed Pacific Crest Winter Trailhead. In about .1 miles, you will get to Moody Street and you should cross under the freeway to the right. As the paved road angles to the left, go straight onto the gravel road for just a few steps, where you will reach a trail junction that you should take to the left.
From here, you hike up a gradual hill through the forest, which has gorgeous wildflowers in the spring and the aforementioned beautiful fall colors in the fall. At about 1 mile, turn right at an access road under powerlines for a little bit until you rejoin the trail to the left. The trail heads toward Dry Creek and to another dirt road once you reach the creek. The PCT crosses Dry Creek on a wooden bridge. Instead of crossing that bridge take a right and head up toward the falls, which is only .2 miles away. Head back on the trail the same way you came.
Who is Going to Love It
The fair grade of this trail, along with the short distance makes it accessible for hikers of all experience levels.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get to the PCT Winter Trailhead from Portland, take I-84 east to Cascades Locks. Take the exit for Bridge of the Gods, which is the first exit for Cascade Locks. Drive under the Bridge of the Gods and turn right toward the bridge. Right before you get the bridge, turn right into the Bridge of the Gods Trailhead. In the winter, the gate to the Bridge of the Gods Trailhead is closed. There is another possible route to take to the trail from Moody Street, but it may just be simpler to park across the street after you cross under the Bridge of the Gods. You simply walk up the hill toward the bridge for the trailhead, which will be on your left.