Elowah Falls - Hiking

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Summary

Elowah Falls is an incredibly majestic and very large, 289-foot waterfall, which is impressive and not hard to get to. The falls originate from the McCord Creek and cascade in a curve over a distinct volcanic cliff.

Written by

Abby Joffe

Distance

3.5 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

31.7 miles

Difficulty

1 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hours

Seasonality

All Seasons

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

No

Land Website

Elowah Falls - Hiking

Review

Intro

Elowah Falls is an incredibly majestic and very large, 289-foot waterfall, which is so impressive and not hard to get to. The falls originate from the McCord Creek and cascade in a curve over a cliff into a pool. The amphitheater that the falls run over is made up of distinct lava flows. There is a bridge in front of the falls, which gives you an even better view of the them.  There is an option to add another, close by waterfall to this hike if you would like to add a little bit of distance.

What Makes It Great

On the trail to falls, you walk through a dense, classic gorge forest that keeps with the pattern of beautiful scenery on the usual gorge hike. Go all the way across the bridge in front of Elowah Falls because the best view of these amazing falls is on the other side. The McCord Creek Falls are a perfect addition to this hike and though they are not as impressive as the Elowah Falls, they have a subtle, classic gorge waterfall beauty.

The hike described here starts at the entrance of the John B Yeon State Park. Follow the clearly signed trail to the falls. After a short hike west, the trail heads sharply to the left and only a few feet after that, you will come to a junction with trail #400. You should take this trail east to the falls. The main trail will come to another junction with the trail to McCord Creek Falls, which you should pass to descend into the McCord Creek Gorge and to the bottom of Elowah Falls. If you would like to extend the hike a bit to see another beautiful waterfall, hike up to Upper McCord Falls. These falls separate down the middle and almost look like two different falls. Instead of passing by the intersection for McCord Creek Falls, follow that trail that was to the right. Go up a few switchbacks and you will get immensely good, sweeping views of the gorge and Mount Adams. The trail to the falls was cut into the rock wall, making it very unique. If you are a more cautious hiker, have no fear. There is railing by the path. From the top, you get a great view of Elowah Falls right before you enter a forest that leads you to McCord Creek Falls.

Who is Going to Love It

The trail to the falls is only 3.5 miles total, there and back, and the elevation gain is only 280 feet, which makes this trail accessible or hikers of all skill levels. The beauty of these falls can be appreciated by anyone, so this hike is great for families of hikers or hikers who want to introduce their non-hiker friends to the activity.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

To get to the John B Yeon Trailhead from Portland, take I-84 east to exit 35, marked for Dodson. Turn left at the stop sign, take an immediate right on Frontage Road, and drive for 2.1 miles. The trailhead parking lot will be on your right, just before the road heads back to the highway.

Location

Elowah Falls

Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail
Cascade Locks, OR, 97014
45.6124, -122.00428

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