Tourist time: Oregon day 3 – Hiking for waterfalls

This was the day I was looking forward to the most on this trip – the plan was a 13.5 mile hike to see 7 different waterfalls and while it ended up as a 16.5 mile hike, the waterfalls were amazing! The trail starts at the Eagle Creek trailhead and is an easy hike that does have some elevation gain (about 1,700′ from the start to 7 mile falls), it’s fairly gradual and the scenery more than makes up for it! The moon was still out and there was still some fog in the trees at the start of the hike, but certainly nothing like the previous day at South Sister.

Some sections of the trail were just a few feet across with cables to hold on to, with varying degrees of drop-off on the other side.

Metlako Falls
We actually missed this viewpoint when we first came through, but knew that we had missed it, so we kept an eye out on our way back and it was really easy to see the second time around. Unfortunately, apparently I didn’t take any pictures of these falls. I must have been too spoiled by all of the other amazing views from the day.

Punchbowl Falls
For this view, you’ll actually need to take a spur trail down to the bottom of the falls, which added to our initial estimate of 13.5 miles – I’d say it was probably half a mile or so down to the bottom to see the falls.


Loowitt Falls
This one was the farthest away from the trail, but if you could ever get over there, it looked like a great pool to swim in under the main waterfall.

High Bridge
Sure, it’s not a waterfall, but it was a fun bridge to cross in the middle of the hike and it definitely lives up to its name, though I’m not sure it translates as well in pictures.

The high bridge is 3.3 miles from the trailhead and we were (again) following a less than ideal map, so after hiking for awhile, we got a little concerned that we must have missed the correct trail, so we did a backtrack about half a mile to consult another map before deciding we must have been on the right track all along and then met someone who told us we were just a mile or so from the next waterfall.

Skoonichuk Falls
This one wasn’t actually on our map, so it was a nice surprise addition to our hike.

Tunnel Falls
This was the waterfall that made me want to do this hike. What could be better than hiking behind a waterfall? The trail starts out by going behind the falls before coming out the other side.

After you come out the other side, you can feel the immense pressure of the water coming down over the falls and you’ll definitely get hit with the mist. Because of how the trail follows the mountain, I couldn’t even get the entire 120′ waterfall into one picture, but you can see how small the person looks as he takes the trail that winds behind the falls. 

We also made our way down to the bottom of the falls and, again, you can see how small the people are walking on the trail.

The climb to the bottom of the waterfall was a little treacherous, mostly climbing / sliding down a scree field, but I went slowly and it was actually a lot easier climbing back up than I was expecting when I first looked at it.

Twister Falls
Not far down the trail, we came to these falls and it’s easy to see how they got their name, with the water twisting around the rocks.

7 Mile Falls
We finally made it to the turnaround point at 7 mile falls, even though it took us over 8 miles to get there!

The highlight of the hike was absolutely the Tunnel Falls and I would recommend this hike just based on that one waterfall – the fact that you can pack 7 into one day hike is amazing. Oregon certainly has an abundance of waterfalls to see.

Next up – touring the Oregon coast!

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