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Dry Creek Falls Hike

From Portland Hikers Field Guide

Dry Creek Falls (Tom Kloster)
Dry Creek Falls in winter (Cheryl Hill)
Bridge of the Gods trailhead (Jeff Statt)
Columbines blooming in May (Steve Hart)
  • Start point: PCT Winter TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Dry Creek Falls
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 4.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 710 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Year-round
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

This hike starts you at the Bridge of the Gods Trailhead. From the trailhead, cross the road and head up the Pacific Crest Trail parallel to I-84. Watch out for an old safety fence here that encroaches the trail and is now more of a hazard than a help. In about 1/10 of a mile, you'll come to Moody Street as it crosses under the freeway. Walk the road uphill to the right for a bit, under the freeway. When the road angles left, go straight ahead on a gravel road a short distance to twin trailheads. Altogether the road walking here is about 100 yards. The trail to the right is the Gorge Trail headed toward the Ruckel Creek Trail and the Eagle Creek Campground. You'll take the trail to the left, which is the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Crest Trail heads gradually uphill, never too steep, through a pretty, dappled sun kind of forest. In the spring, forest wildflowers including columbines are common here. About 1 mile in, you'll come to a powerline access road. Turn right here and follow the road a short distance under the powerlines to the resumption of the trail. Soon after the powerline road, you'll come to a minor summit and the trail begins a gradual descent to Dry Creek. This section of trail heads gradually downward through an interesting area of large lava boulders and trees for almost another mile.

At Dry Creek, the trail comes to another dirt road. This one seems to be open to normal traffic, at least I saw a small, 2 wheel drive pickup last time I was there. The Crest Trail crosses the road and then crosses Dry Creek on a wooden bridge. To get to Dry Creek Falls, instead of crossing the bridge, turn right here and head up the road about 2/10 of a mile to the falls. At the end of the road, there's a car turnaround and a fire pit.

Although it's called Dry Creek Falls, it does not run dry - even in the warmest months of summer. There is evidence of some damming apparatus here, once used to provide water to the town of Cascade Locks, Oregon.

Maps

Dry Creek Falls Map (click to enlarge)

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • During the winter months, the Bridge of the Gods Trailhead is closed. Hikers will need to start this hike from Moody Street.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hike! Columbia Gorge, by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Portland, by Paul Gerald
  • Afoot and Afield Portland/Vancouver, by Douglas Lorain
  • 35 Hiking Trails, Columbia River Gorge, by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Columbia River Gorge, 42 Scenic Hikes, by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Hiking the Columbia River Gorge - 1st and 2nd Editions, by Russ Schneider
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon - 3rd Edition, by William L Sullivan

More Links

Contributors

Portland Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.