Sunday, August 3, 2008

" My Favorite Trail "

The Eagle Creek trail in the world famous Columbia River Gorge otherwise known, as trail #440 by far is my favorite hike in Oregon. Try to get to the trailhead early as the upper parking lot fills quickly and the hike is so enjoyable without the heavy crowds that will inevitably come later. Within a few hundred yards you know you’re in for something special as you began to walk along and above eagle Creek. There are sheer walls of Basalt to one side and 1000 ft drop to the other in places. To this end I would not recommend this hike to small children.

After approximately 1.7 miles you are rewarded with the beautifulMetlako Falls. Only a short walk later at the 2.1 mile mark you will catch the first glimpse of the famous Lower Punch Bowl Falls . you will have a chance to see theses falls 2 more times from different vantage points. The High Bridge comes soon after at 3.5 miles which is elevated some 150ft above the gorge below. For you photographers and sightseers you’re in for a third and beautiful waterfall called Tunnel falls where the trail leads you behind the cascading water.

For those of you to make a moderate trip or one night backpack there are several camps along eagle creek designated for that purpose i.e. Wy’ East Camp or the 7.5 mile camp. For the more hardy of you go ahead and continue to the 13.2-mile mark and the end of the trail where you will camp at Whatum Lake. I remember doing this hike as a teen many years back. A friend and I got snowed in at Whatum Lake, had signs of hypothermia and were tent bound for 17 hours.

Other hiking options include: 1. Linking up with the Eagle-tanner Trail #433 and continuing on to Tanner Butte . 2. For the really adventuresome of you with young legs try this option: At approximately 5 mile look for the Eagle- Benson Cutoff trail that will lead you straight up to Benson Plateau and allow you to return to your car via the Ruckle ridge trail. I warn you however that this is a tough loop with a very faint trail at best lots of elevation gain ect.. The Benson Plateau is a fantastic place to camp with plenty of water running throughout the area.
Happy hiking..

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