Mileage: 4.6 miles RT
Elevation Gain/Highest: 770ft/984ft
Map: Green Trails Columbia River Gorge West, my GAIA
Favorite Eats After Hike: Cascade Locks Ale House
It has been 3 years since I started working on the Oregon section of the Pacific Crest Trail and I hiked down from the Benson Plateau and back to the Eagle Creek TH where my car awaited me from a loop hike. When I crossed the bridge over Dry Creek, I had no idea if I had taken a left at the abandoned road alongside the creek I would have encountered this lovely waterfall.
I was in Cascade Locks for a trail skills college and had time in the evening for a hike. Someone on Facebook suggested Dry Creek Falls and because it started in town I figured it would be perfect to do before dinner.
I parked at the Bridge of Gods TH a little before 5pm, crossed the road to an unmarked trail and headed up. The trail shortly comes to Moody St and passes under I-84. I knew I was on the right track when saw the signs for the PCT.
I followed these up the gravel road and in a hundred feet or so I came to the junction with the Gorge Trail. I remembered standing here and looking down the road to Cascade Locks when I took the Gorge Trail to my car instead of walking into town like most PCT thruhikers do.
The Pacific Crest Trail is wide and well maintained here (by my friend Roberta Cobb in the Mt. Hood chapter) and I got to admire her care as I strolled along this easy graded path up the official PCT (most hikers take the Eagle Creek Trail and skip the original route). Although there were a few muddy spots, I spent most of my time in tranquil repose with the spring flowers and sunlight drifting through the tall trees. My favorites were the Bleeding Hearts!
At 2.02 miles in, I came to the junction with the Dry Creek road and could see the bridge over the creek in front of me. I turned right and hiked up the .3 miles to a large pullout area with the falls just off to the left arriving in about an hour from when I started (I ran into a long distance hiker I knew on the way up and stopped to chat for a bit).
The waterfall spills out of a basalt rock cleft in a towering wall with bright green moss clinging to the sides. The roar echoed and the spray was lit up in the sun. I could see why this hike was recommended and I only saw a few people on my hike in compared to all the folks you pass on Eagle Creek!
I had the place to myself and wondered a bit to the side and up closer to the falls.
I could see that folks like to climb up and on top of the wall but the path was loose and muddy and I had dinner waiting for me back at the marina. I was back to my car by 6:40pm.
I only passed a few more people on my way out, glad I checked out this little gem so close to town!
Directions: From Portland, take exit #44 for Cascade Locks and the Bridge of the Gods. Drive under the bridge and take the right up towards the bridge BUT you will find the TH on your right before getting to the toll booth. A Northwest Forest pass is required and there is a bathroom and picnic tables. I was excited to see that the parking lot is hosting a pilot program to be able to pay for your permit with your phone! I hope this turns out to be an easy option for folk in areas where reception is available.