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Wahclella Falls, A TrailDudes Hiking Guide

Updated on May 13, 2013
water cascading down a rock face near the trail head of Wahclella Falls.
water cascading down a rock face near the trail head of Wahclella Falls.

Forgetful Beginnings

There we were, ready to hit the trail. Cars filled the parking lot at the trail head and we were ready to begin filming at the sign, when, we realized we'd forgotten the memory card to the video camera. We had to improvise, so there we stood with a phone and a large sign telling us where we were, and how long we had to go before witnessing Wahclella in all it's majesty. TJ gave us a happy introduction, and we raced to catch up with our guest of honor, Jacque (TJ's awesome wife) who was joining us on our adventure.

The first few hundred yards involved a wide path along the river. We caught a duck trying to raft its way through the rapids, and saw a little man made waterfall. Before long, however the path began to narrow. We walked across a well-maintained bridge with a fall along a rock directly to the left.

Duck Rafter

Up, Up, and Away

As hikes usually go, there before us was some climbing. This time, however, there were some stairs to help. Just after the stairs we came to a cool trickle fall a bit above the trail. Jeff hiked up to get a closer look, falling all the way down.

After we catch sight of the berry bushes to the side, and take some great pictures of the flowers growing along the trail, the path quickly led us to the inevitable "fork in the road." With one path going up, and another heading down, we pressed forward, climbing up toward our destination. After skipping across another bridge and snacking on some ferns, we could hear the waterfall ahead.

Photogenic Falls

The waterfall came quicker than expected. It peeked through the trees around a rocky corner. It created a pool, and looked as if it was posing for a picture as the water created a large pool and magnificent scenery around itself. A large stone allows you to get a "Pride Rock" type view of the waterfall (though we don't recommend holding your newborn kin off the edge above the water).

With significant photography behind us, we skirted our way around the rock on a narrow path that led us closer to the fall. We stood atop rocks in the middle of the river and saw our reflections in the pool and felt the mist of the cascade. Wahclella Falls is photogenic, if anything.

As if we hadn't snapped the view from enough angles, Jeff decided to shimmy across a fallen log to a boulder further down the river, catching another perfect view of what is perhaps the easiest photographed falls we've had to date. We were moving souls in a timeless photograph of nature's perfection.

Quick Facts

Height: ~130 feet

Trail Distance: 2 mile loop

Fun Fact:

1. Wahclella Falls was named by the Mazama mountaineering club after a neighboring Native American Villiage.

It Doesn't Stop There

Normally, when we go for a hike, we do it with a destination in mind. What we didn't know is that this hike includes a little surprise. It's something we've been searching for in all of our adventures.

When we'd crossed our third bridge, looking back at the picturesque scene behind us, we caught a TrailDudes favorite up to the left; a trickle fall. There's something about a towering rock face covered in moss with slim streams of trickling water flower over it that puts a smile on your face. It was cool, but it paled in comparison to what came next.

Throughout all of our adventures, we've searched for something as TrailDudes. Sometimes we find it in the distance (or so we think). Often we approach it to realize it's not what we thought. Often we tease the viewers and say we found it. This time, however, we actually found it. We found a cave.

The entrance was small, and we ducked down to get inside the cavern. Maybe it was fate that made me forget the memory card, forcing us to use a phone camera with its very own light, we thought. We crouched our way back into the cave some 100 feet before noticing that soon, we'd have to crawl. We were satisfied. We'd found a cave. Finally, we found a cave!

Water trickles over a moss covered rock face near Wahclella Falls.
Water trickles over a moss covered rock face near Wahclella Falls.

The Hike of Many Bridges

We hopped out of the cave ready to continue our journey. We were on the loop back, and were prepared for the end. The hike, however, continued to give as another bridge crossing gave us more scenic views of the river below.

Across the bridge, the path again narrowed and the rock face that had tailed us to the left grew taller and taller. The hillside to the right steepened, making us feel as if we were in a tunnel. From a high point on the path, TJ looked below to the river. We determined that the milk crate in the logs below was a trap for Bigfoot, and moved on.

Soon, the last bridge (or second to last if you count the first one again) was upon us, making it a 4 (or 5) bridge hike. We crossed it to reconnect at the fork in the road. We had found our way around the loop, and it was time to head home.

Cavey Question Real Quick

How do you feel about caves?

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We're Falling for You

Don't you just love hiking waterfall hikes? We sure do! We also love to share our awesome experiences with you. We'd also like to hear about your hiking adventures. Have you checked out Wahclella Falls? Did you hold your newborn baby on over the rock (we hope not)? Did you venture into the unknown and explore the cave? Leave a comment and let us fall for your story!

TrailDudes Presents: Wahclella Falls

A Little Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The river along the trail to Wahclella FallsA man-made fall to the side of the trail.A beautiful blue flower growing on the path.Hiking occasionally includes going up some TrailStairs.The Wahclella Falls hike is replete with bridges.Wahclella Falls peering through the treesPanoramic views of Wahclella Falls are absolutely astounding!This panoramic is beautiful, but it doesn't do justice to the beauty of the hike.TJ's wife on the Wahclella falls "pride rock"New TrailDudes picture? We think yes!The rocky path to a Wahclella Falls closeupA closer panoramic of Wahclella Falls and the pool belowTJ following Jeff out on a logThis brige just comes right at you!Looking back at Wahclella Falls from the nearest bridge.The river below Wahclella FallsThe hiking trail to Wahclella Falls.Water drops on leaves are always cool looking.
The river along the trail to Wahclella Falls
The river along the trail to Wahclella Falls
A man-made fall to the side of the trail.
A man-made fall to the side of the trail.
A beautiful blue flower growing on the path.
A beautiful blue flower growing on the path.
Hiking occasionally includes going up some TrailStairs.
Hiking occasionally includes going up some TrailStairs.
The Wahclella Falls hike is replete with bridges.
The Wahclella Falls hike is replete with bridges.
Wahclella Falls peering through the trees
Wahclella Falls peering through the trees
Panoramic views of Wahclella Falls are absolutely astounding!
Panoramic views of Wahclella Falls are absolutely astounding!
This panoramic is beautiful, but it doesn't do justice to the beauty of the hike.
This panoramic is beautiful, but it doesn't do justice to the beauty of the hike.
TJ's wife on the Wahclella falls "pride rock"
TJ's wife on the Wahclella falls "pride rock"
New TrailDudes picture? We think yes!
New TrailDudes picture? We think yes!
The rocky path to a Wahclella Falls closeup
The rocky path to a Wahclella Falls closeup
A closer panoramic of Wahclella Falls and the pool below
A closer panoramic of Wahclella Falls and the pool below
TJ following Jeff out on a log
TJ following Jeff out on a log
This brige just comes right at you!
This brige just comes right at you!
Looking back at Wahclella Falls from the nearest bridge.
Looking back at Wahclella Falls from the nearest bridge.
The river below Wahclella Falls
The river below Wahclella Falls
The hiking trail to Wahclella Falls.
The hiking trail to Wahclella Falls.
Water drops on leaves are always cool looking.
Water drops on leaves are always cool looking.

Here's How You Get There

A markerwahclella falls, or -
Wahclella Falls, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon 97014, USA
get directions

Wahclella Falls is easy to find as the trail head is right of the highway.

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    • Daena B. profile image

      Daena B. 4 years ago from Wenatchee, WA

      Love the Lion King reference. I look for caves too!

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