I like to joke that you could swing a cat in Oregon and hit a waterfall. I would never swing a cat, but the expression holds true – at least in the Columbia River Gorge area near Hood River. During a recent visit to Hood River, Oregon, we hiked to one of our favorite waterfalls: Tanamawas Falls.
The hike is a relatively easy 3.6 mile hike starting in a dense canopy of fir trees.
Very quickly, you will cross a wood bridge over the East Fork of Hood River.
Turn right after crossing the bridge and follow the trail as it lines the highway for a short bit, taking you uphill and then turning left into Cold Spring Creek Canyon.
Cold Spring Creek is a beautiful friend along the trail, staying by your side and entertaining you often with miniature waterfalls along the way.
Keep following the trail signs (there are some small trails that spur off from this, but stick to the Tanamawas Falls trail).
Eventually after about 1.5 miles, you will reach an area with incredibly large boulders.
Perhaps from rock fall from long ago? It’s fun to compare your height to these huge rocks, or sit upon them and enjoy a snack before continuing on to the falls.
Continue on the trail, round a slight bend and voila, the falls appear before you.
Falling 150 feet from a lava cliff, they splash thunderously into the creek below.
Sure footed hikers can climb over some logs to get better views of the falls.
And really sure footed hikers (caution it’s slippery!) can walk behind the falls into a slight cave to get a different perspective.
The views are stunning all along the route to and from the falls with the truly epic scenery at the falls themselves. Return along the same trail enjoying the creek views that lead you back to your car.
Important Travel Notes:
Directions To Tanamawas Falls Trailhead: From Hood River drive south on OR-35S. After about 23 miles, the Trailhead (and parking area) will be at the right side of the road just before you reach Sherwood Campground.
Required Credentials: Northwest Forest Pass