Distance: About 12.5 miles
Elevation Gain: About 1600 ft
Rating: Difficult, due to length, some exposure
Hike Type: In & Out
Required Permits: NW Forest Pass (one per vehicle)
Driving Distance: about 75 miles return (gas money suggestion for carpool: $7)
Although there is still a little bit of summer left, I already want to leave the high elevation and do one of my favorite hikes in the Gorge. Unfortunately, it is not only my favorite hike, so I try to avoid the masses with an earlier start. Let’s meet at Gateway to set up the carpool to the trailhead and leave at 7:30a sharp to be able to start hiking by 8:30a.
The hike will follow trail #440 along beautiful Eagle Creek, passing numerous waterfalls before reaching High Bridge at the halfway point to Tunnel Falls. We will continue to Tunnel Falls, walk through the tunnel and behind the fall, to continue even further to Twister Falls, which, at this point, will be less than half a mile away. This will be our turnaround point and possible lunch spot.
The trail has some exposure, as it is carved into a rock wall at short sections, but the trail is wide and has permanent steel ropes installed at these places, so it is not difficult to pass. Only if you are terrified of heights you should not sign up.
What to bring:
Reasonable stamina to hike the distance
My hiking style is a moderate pace with some, but not to frequent brakes. I try to keep the group together as much as possible, that means we move at the speed of the slowest hiker. Also, we are out in a wilderness area. Sometimes unpredictable circumstances can lead to a longer hike time. Please be prepared and bring enough gear (cloth and food) to stay out late, and don’t schedule anything for the evening that can’t be done without you (and you even might not to be able to call someone to say that you are late because cell phone reception is rare in the wilderness.)
PARTICIPATE AT YOUR OWN RISK; Northwest Wilderness Group organizers are volunteers. We come prepared to lead you on a trail or off trail hike but assume no liability for your safety getting to or from the trail-head or on the hike. In case of accident, illness, or other incapacity, hikers must pay for their own medical and/or evacuation expenses, whether or not the hiker has specifically authorized them.