Punchbowl Falls, Eagle Creek Trailhead, Portland - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Punchbowl Falls - 3.9 miles

Eagle Creek Trailhead

Punchbowl Falls from the banks of Eagle Creek

Punchbowl Falls from the banks of Eagle Creek

Round-Trip Length: 3.9 miles
Start-End Elevation: 128' - 386' (506' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +258' net elevation gain (+498' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Easy-Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Punchbowl Falls - 3.9 Miles Round-Trip

Punchbowl Falls is located 1.95 miles from Eagle Creek Trailhead in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It's one of at least 11 waterfalls accessible from the Eagle Creek Trail, and among the most recognized (and visited) in Oregon.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Punchbowl Falls narrows through a forceful chute and plunges into a wide circular pool, producing its namesake shape. 

This short, intensely popular hike leads through diverse forests and across steep basalt cliffs to a spur down to the creek. You can see the falls through a wide slot from the banks, and wade a bit closer when water levels drop. Alternatively you may continue past the spur to a viewing area with an aerial look over the punchbowl.

Short sections of the Eagle Creek Trail run across cable-aided vertical drop-offs, and may not be suitable for those fearful of heights. Watch children closely, and keep pets leashed at all times. A $5 day-use fee or valid recreation pass is required to access the Eagle Creek Trail:

The Eagle Creek Trail heads SE to the first cable-aided cliff (1.0 miles : 460'). It reaches a spur for Metlako Falls (1.45 miles), a 150' falls named after the goddess of salmon.

The ECT hairpins across Sorenson Creek to the split for Lower Punchbowl Falls (1.75 miles : 504'). Follow this sign down to the creek banks a viewing area for Punchbowl Falls (1.95 miles : 386'). 

The fall is set back through a slot which is limiting, but you can wade into deeper water for a better look. The lower falls are more accessible, albeit from more precarious terrain along the bank. For a more complete look, continue .18 miles past the main access spur to a viewpoint over the entire bowl. Diving is strictly prohibited.

The Eagle Creek Trail continues across Tish Creek and High Bridge to Tunnel Falls.

Facebook Comments

Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N45 38.207 W121 55.165 — 0.0 miles : Eagle Creek Trailhead
  • N45 37.989 W121 54.733 — 0.5 miles : Fast, mild climb along creek
  • N45 37.812 W121 54 196 — 1.0 miles : Cable-assist across steep ledge
  • N45 37.624 W121 53.821 — 1.45 miles : Spur to Metlako Falls
  • N45 37.486 W121 53.751 — 1.7 miles : Split to Lower Punchbowl Falls
  • N45 37.342 W121 53.736 — 1.95 miles : Punchbowl Falls
  • N45 37.345 W121 53.683 — 1.9 miles : Punchbowl Falls Viewing Area
  • N45 37.306 W121 53.624 — 2.0 miles : Cross bridge over Tish Creek
  • N45 36.984 W121 53.200 — 2.55 miles : Cross bridge
  • N45 36.660 W121 53.083 — 3.0 miles : Steady climb with ledges
  • N45 36.495 W121 52.946 — 3.25 miles : Cross High Bridge
  • N45 36.276 W121 52.848 — 3.6 miles : Access to waterfall
  • N45 36.012 W121 52.669 — 3.9 miles : Cross bridge back to east bank
  • N45 35.826 W121 52.331 — 4.28 miles : Burn area sign
  • N45 35.544 W121 51.990 — 4.75 miles : Mark O Hatfield Wilderness Boundary
  • N45 35.469 W121 51.774 — 4.98 miles : Eagle - Benson Trail split
  • N45 35.176 W121 51.351 — 5.5 miles : Steady, mild-mod climb
  • N45 35.091 W121 51.167 — 5.9 miles : Tunnel behind Tunnel Falls
  • N45 34.934 W121 51.133 — 6.2 miles : Twister Falls

Worth Noting

  • Control children and pets along narrow, cable-aided ledges.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Camping Rules and Regulations

  • An overnight fee is required (see rules and regulations).
  • Group size is limited to 12 individuals or any combination of people and stock.
  • Camp in established sites whenever possible. Sites are first come, first served. Some may be closed for restoration
  • Bury human waste 6-8" deep, at least 100' from any trail or water source.
  • Campfires - Columbia River Gorge NSA: Campfires are permitted in the CRGNSA, with potential seasonal and area-specific restrictions. Up-to-date rules are posted at the trailhead and along the trail. 
  • Campfires - Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness: Campfires are not permitted June 1 - September 15 (peak season) along the Eagle Creek Trail from the wilderness boundary to the Eagle-Tanner Trail. Fires are permitted from September 16 - May 31 unless otherwise posted.

Rules and Regulations

  • A valid Recreation Pass is required to access the Eagle Creek Trailhead ($5 day use fee | overnight use requires payment for two days). Complete the form and display as directed at the trailhead board.
  • A free day and overnight permit is also required to enter the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness. These forms are available at the wilderness boundary, 4.75 miles from the trailhead along the Eagle Creek Trail. Complete the form and carry with you as directed.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times.
  • Diving into the pools of Punchbowl Falls is strictly probibited. A $300 fine will be applied.

Directions to Trailhead

The Eagle Creek Trailhead is located off Exit #41 from I-84.

Eastbound (from Portland):

Take Exit #41. At the bottom of the ramp, turn right and go .5 miles to the end of the road. This road crosses a footbridge which leads to Wauna Viewpoint before narrowing into one lane. Drive slowly and anticipate oncoming traffic.

Contact Information

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
902 Wasco Ave | Suite 200
Hood River, OR 97031

Hood River Ranger District
6780 Highway 35
Parkdale, OR 97041

Mt. Hood National Forest Headquarters
16400 Champion Way
Sandy, OR 97055

Hours: Monday – Friday, 7:30a – 4:30p (closed 11:30 – 12:30)

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


No one has written any comments


Add Comment

Only used to identify you to ProTrails. Will not show on comments list.
Tell us when your experience with this trail happened.