Part 2 of our Columbia River Gorge winter hikes feature is the Eagle Creek trail! This is one of the most popular trails in the gorge due to its close proximity to downtown Portland and relative easiness. The trail gently slopes and you can pick how far you want to go – if you only make it to Punchbowl Falls, you’ll log 3.8 miles round trip. The furthest people tend to hike in a single day trip is Tunnel Falls, which would be a solid 12 miles round trip. You can go a total of 26.5 miles to Wattum lake, which people tend to turn into a multi-day backpacking trip to make it more doable. Any way you slice it, the Eagle Creek trail is a crowd-pleaser with a lot of options. But that being said…it should be noted that you’re not going to get very far on this trail in the dead of winter. Or at least, we didn’t.
Well, because the steep dropoff from the trail, which makes it so beautiful, also makes it a terribly bad decision should you end up sliding off the trail due to all the ice that’s built up. It’d be hasta la vista, baby.
If you did want to try this hike in the winter (since it IS uniquely stunning with all the ice built up), I’d recommend 2 things:
1) microspikes to hook onto your hiking boots to give you some sort of traction, and
2) a helmet to shield your head from all the GIANT ICICLES THAT ARE CONSTANTLY FALLING OFF ONTO THE TRAIL.
Oh, yeah, as a bonus piece of advice, I’d also not recommend going when the temperature is just warm enough to cue the melting of such impressive icicles. Go on a cold, cold day. Don’t get impaled by an icicle.
We ended up abandoning ship because I chickened out on account of being fearful for my life. (Justifiably, I argue.)
…but not before getting a few cool shots.