Photo: Zac Pinney/Shutterstock

This Hike in Oregon Lets You Walk Right Behind a Waterfall Through a Tunnel

Oregon Outdoor
by Morgane Croissant Jan 4, 2023

There’s a beautiful, 197-foot-tall waterfall in Iceland called Seljalandsfoss and you can walk right behind the cascade. But you don’t need to go all the way to the Land of Fire and Ice to walk behind a spectacular waterfall. The Tunnel Falls hike in Oregon will let you do the exact same thing.

@visit Tunnel Falls in Oregon is a hikers dream 😍 🌿 IG: @gisseelllaa #mothernature #tunnelfalls #oregon #hike ♬ original sound – Visit

The hike to Tunnel Falls starts at the Eagle Creek Trailhead/Picnic Area, which is only a 6.5-mile/10-minute drive from Cascade Locks, Oregon. The hike to Tunnel Falls is a cliffside trip that is extremely popular with local and visiting hikers — at the height of summer, you won’t be alone on the trail.

The way to Tunnel Falls is very scenic as you’ll get to see small and big waterfalls, and walk over a narrow bridge that sits 150 feet above a very narrow gorge where a creek flows. After all, Tunnel Falls is located in the Columbia River Gorge, which has the highest concentration of waterfalls in the US.

The hike is 14-miles long (from the trailhead to the falls, and back) and moderately challenging. In winter, the conditions are icy and snowy and make the trip dangerous. If you’re not equipped to hike in winter conditions or don’t have any experience with winter hiking, wait until the spring when the trail is easier to tackle.

Once at Tunnel Falls, you’ll be able to walk in a dark tunnel that goes right behind the cascade, hence the name of the falls.

There is a $5 fee per vehicle per day unless you have a valid recreation pass. Note that a valid recreation pass is required at the trail head for all hikers.

If Tunnel Falls are a little out of your reach, know that Oregon is full of waterfalls, including some just 30 minutes out of the city of Portland. You may not be able to walk behind those waterfalls, but you’ll still get an eyeful of their power and beauty.

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