- Rating: Easy
- Activity: Hike
- Distance: 1.8 miles round-trip
Lush, damp and shaded, the hike to thundering Wahclella Falls, which spits through a crack in a tight box canyon, is perfect for all ages when summer heat gets oppressive. The cacophonous Tanner Creek is nestled in the narrow slot of rock, protected by a sun-blocking canopy of western red cedar and Douglas fir. The one mile hike begins on a wide, flat, smooth gravel path, then skirts a cascading sheet of water. When you reach the wood steps, let the kids know you’re almost at the summit of the 200-foot hill.
ROUTE: Around the corner, the trail descends to the creek, which is alive with weathered logs, moss-covered boulders and tiny riffles. At the fork, bear right and cross the bridge. You’ll duck under a nifty alcove and reach the final bridge at the falls, where mist will gently waft in your face. Wahclella Falls themselves may be small compared to some others in the Gorge, but the gray basalt cliffs seem airbrushed with neon green moss. Even better is the fact that more adventurous families can scramble through the brush to a small beach just below the bridge to cool little feet, splash, throw rocks or search for tree frogs. Map: Green Trails Bonneville Dam No. 429 (trail is barely visible, owing to its short length).
DIRECTIONS: Take I-84 to Bonneville Dam Exit 40. Turn right off the freeway to reach the trailhead.