Wahclella Falls

A fairly easy mile or so from the trailhead, Wahclella Falls offers a scenic hike and a huge roaring waterfall. Plus a cave and rocks to scramble over, though I didn't tell you that.

Temporarily closed for restoration

This trail is currently closed in the wake of the 2017 wildfires. Restoration is in progress.


A photograph taken at Wahclella Falls


  • A good length (aka fairly short) hike for little ones, about a mile out to the falls.
  • The falls are beautiful (never mind the height, check out the volume), the canyon is breathtaking.
  • There’s a little cave just passed the bridge near the falls. The ceiling’s too low for adults but Ethan enjoyed exploring it. I do not know how dangerous / legal this is, so this is not a suggestion / endorsement.
  • There’s some very shallow and fairly still water to paddle in, rocks to explore, right by the cave. Makes a good spot for a picnic.


  • By the time I get to Exit 40, I think I may have overstretched the definition of “Things to do in Portland.” Still, it’s a straight shot down the highway with a speed limit of 65mph most of the way.


  • The parking lot at the trailhead fills up quickly and there’s a $5 day use fee. Do not despair; continue along the road to the Tooth Rock Trailhead parking lot, which is free, and carefully hike the quarter mile or so back along the road, which is extremely quiet and scenic in its own right (see bottom photo on right).

In the area

  • Bonneville Dam, just on the other side of I-84, under the bridge from the Falls parking lot, has a visitor center, tours of the turbine hall and a place to watch salmon leaping (in season).

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First posted: May 27, 2011; last updated: September 13, 2018.

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If you find any factual innaccuracies in this post, please email me via richard at thingstodoinportland dot org so I can fix it for everyone. Thanks in advance!

A photograph taken at Wahclella Falls
A photograph taken at Wahclella Falls
A photograph taken at Wahclella Falls
A photograph taken at Wahclella Falls
A photograph taken at Wahclella Falls
A photograph taken at Wahclella Falls

Go east on I-84 to exit 40; take a right and the trailhead is right there at the end of the parking lot. [Google map].

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