Wahclella Falls is a spectacular waterfall located in the Columbia Gorge. The easy 2.4-mile hike makes for a quick yet amazing afternoon.
Quick access to hiking is the number one reason why I love living in the Pacific Northwest. Our friends Angela and Brian recently visited us, hoping for the chance to hike. We researched hiking trails with low mileage yet amazing scenery since they wouldn’t be arriving until mid-afternoon. We discovered Wahclella Falls, a quick trek to a thunderous waterfall. It was the perfect destination!
Upon arrival, we learned we needed to display our NW Forest Pass on our car’s dashboard. Not every trail in the Gorge requires a pass, so be sure to research that information beforehand. We followed the signs to the Wahclella Falls trailhead to begin our short but sweet excursion.
The trail starts off flat, alongside Tanner Creek, then gradually gains elevation. The 90-degree heat was the only element that made the hike to Wahclella Falls difficult. I sweat profusely the second we left the car. My camelback bladder holds 3 liters of water so I didn’t waste any time hydrating myself as we hiked.
Real talk – I felt like an Ewok Princess hiking through an enchanted forest. A thick layer of moss blanketed the forest floor, the trees, and their branches which dangled above our heads. At times the forest resembled a Muppet character!
Cool misty air is waiting for you about a mile after hiking. We welcomed the cooler temperatures with open arms. The cooler weather indicates Wahclella Falls is around the corner. Literally, the air feels cooler, the trail sharply turns left, and you suddenly have a view of the falls, in all its glory.
Wahclella Falls is a force of nature, both beautiful and brutal. Serene from a distance but deafening up close. The roaring water plummets 60 feet into a dark pool enclosed by rocks carpeted with moss and ferns. The thunderous water reverberates off the surrounding rock’s surface making it difficult to hear your hiking companion(s).
We took our time snapping photos and soaking up the scenery. Our group didn’t go down by the water, but countless others scrabbled over nearby rocks to get a closer look at the falls.
Poor little Homie had the Hershey squirts so we didn’t dally at the falls. Even with the cool mist blowing on us, it was still hot outside. We enjoyed our time at Wahclella Falls but decided to head back. We didn’t want to risk Homie getting dehydrated.
The trail back follows alongside Tanner Creek which provided a fresh crop of picturesque photo opportunities. Sometimes it’s hard to fathom we live in close proximity to such beauty. Before long the trail climbs up along the canyon until you reach a bridge that crosses over the river.
Wahclella Falls is s a great location to take visiting family and friends. Especially if those family and friends are new to hiking. Or if you’re short on time but still want to explore nature. The falls hike has it all, a short but pleasant hike packed with spectacular views.
The hike is dog-friendly but the law requires your pup to remain on leash. The hike is suitable for children but walk carefully, some sections of the trail are narrow with steep drop-offs. Wachella Falls is an easy hike however you don’t want to be careless. Slow and steady wins the race.
Wahclella Falls is less than an hour drive from Portland. The hike itself is just over 2 miles (round trip) so it’s a great way to get some exercise without taking up the entire day. You’ll have the feeling of exaltation without exhaustion. Believe me, it’s an addictive feeling.
Alrighty, gang, that’s a wrap on this week’s posts. Do you have a favorite hiking spot? Comment below, I would love to hear about it!
Thanks for stopping by,