Enjoy the Hike to Wahclella Falls This Fall

Though most people reserve hiking for the warm summer months, there’s something extraordinary about hiking throughout the Columbia River Gorge in the fall and even well into winter. Of the many great fall hikes in the Columbia River Gorge, Wahclella Falls is certainly one to consider. Not only does the Wahclella Falls hike lead to its gorgeous namesake waterfall, but it also offers a compelling and beautiful journey through a slot canyon. 

Wahclella Falls is among the most impressive in the Columbia River Gorge waterfalls, but it’s often overlooked by other bigger-name waterfalls like Multnomah Falls or Bridal Veil Falls. Those – and others in the Waterfall Corridor – are worth the visit, but we love sending our guests to spots that are a little more off the beaten path and, therefore, much less crowded. As if the waterfall and the scenery in the narrow canyon leading to it weren’t reason enough to enjoy the Wahclella Falls hike this autumn, the chance to see spawning salmon most certainly is. 

As beautiful as it is, Wahlcella Falls is just one of the many fantastic Columbia Gorge Hikes waiting for you this fall. The Gorge area is a veritable playground for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts, and we’d love nothing more than to share a bit of our autumn paradise with you this fall and winter. There are hundreds of trails on the Washington and Oregon sides of the Gorge, all of which offer unique views and enchanting experiences. Our cabins in the Columbia River Gorge provide the perfect home base from which to explore them all, too. 

Though the breathtaking scenery of the Columbia River Gorge alight in the colors of fall will set a beautiful stage for your getaway, there’s nothing like coming home to our luxurious cabins in the Columbia River Gorge. Put your feed up, share a glass or two of wine, and soak away the days’ exertions in our luxurious jetted tubs with a healthy sprinkling of our dead sea bath salts. Our cabins in the Columbia River Gorge are the perfect oasis.  Book a cabin today! 

Closeup of Wahclella Falls in the Columbia RIver Gorge

Hike to Wahclella Falls Near our Cabins

We could no sooner choose a favorite among Columbia River Gorge waterfalls than hikes, as there really is something to love about each of them. The Wahclella Falls hike, though, is something special. Whether this is your first or tenth trip to the Columbia Gorge, you should add the Wahclella Falls hike to your autumn bucket list.

The journey to Wahcella Falls in the fall months is plenty beautiful, and the opportunity to see spawning salmon is a treasured experience across the Pacific Northwest. The hike to get there is relatively easy, coming in at just under 2.5 miles, and is a relatively flat journey through a beautiful slot canyon. 

The first part of the trail is flat and meanders along a closed access road. Above you is a beautiful canopy of cottonwoods, alders, big-leaf maples, and Douglas firs, which create a kaleidoscope of colors in the fall. When you reach the end of the road, you’ll encounter a fish ladder managed by the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. 

Beyond the fish ladder, the trail will narrow into a canyon. This is also where you’ll see your first waterfall, Munra Falls. You’ll pass the base of the falls on a footbridge – and maybe even get a little wet from the spray. 

From Munra Falls, the trail will do its only real elevation gain up one side of the canyon. You’ll likely still see some damage from the massive Eagle Creek Fire of 2017. After climbing some stairs, you’ll descend back into the canyon before finally reaching Wahclella Falls. 

Wahcllela Falls has both an upper and lower portion of the falls. The lower Wahclella Falls drops an impressive 60 feet into a narrow gorge with a large, open horsetail-style amphitheater. It’s spectacular. Above that is the semi-hidden upper Wahclella Falls, which drops another 15-25 feet. Given the nature of waterfalls in the area, the Wahclella Falls hike is best enjoyed from fall through spring when the falls are at their most impressive. 

Gorgeous view of fall colors from one of the top Columbia River Gorge Hikes other than Wahclella Falls

More Great Columbia River Gorge Hikes for Fall

As beautiful as the journey to Wahclella Falls is, the short 2.4-mile hike will likely leave you with plenty of energy and an appetite to enjoy even more Columbia River Gorge hikes! Luckily, the weather in the Gorge is mild for most of the year, leaving us with a long and lovely hiking season. Trails here can be enjoyed year-round, too, if you’re willing to head out on snowshoes to explore our winter wonderland! 

With vibrant fall colors everywhere you turn this autumn, there’s never been a better time to get out and enjoy the best Columbia River Gorge hikes. Colors stick around for a while here, too – well into November in many places! These contrast perfectly with the evergreen hues of our massive forests, making for a truly stunning journey through the woods. 

There are more Columbia River Gorge hikes than we could cover in a single list, but below, you’ll find nine more of our favorite fall hikes to consider after visiting Wahclella Falls. 

  1. If you’re looking for a great fall hike that offers it all, head to Angels Rest. Steep, challenging climbs, waterfalls, and unforgettable views of the Columbia River will be waiting for you, but only after you’ve walked through a colorful forest of vine maples and alders. 
  2. If you’re after waterfalls, a great choice after visiting Wahclella Falls is Falls Creek Falls. This hike is also relatively easy, and the impressive 335-foot drop is an impressive sight.
  3. Another hike with a little bit of everything – including spectacular fall colors – is the Hamilton Mountain Loop.
  4. To get a gorgeous view of the changing season and some impressive views of Mount Adams, don’t miss the Grassy Knoll Hike.
  5. Fall is waterfall season, so no list of Columbia River Gorge hikes to enjoy in the fall would be complete without a stunner like Latourell Falls Loop. The waterfall plunges 249 feet, and the bright autumnal hues make this the perfect adventure for a fall afternoon.
  6. Another excellent waterfall hike to consider in the Gorge is Dry Creek Falls. The trailhead is close to our cabins near the Bridge of the Gods. 
  7. Given the easy nature of the Wahclella Falls hike, perhaps you’re up for a bit more of a challenge? If so, then head to Cape Horn. It offers excellent river views, and the surrounding forest is filled with bigleaf maples for that signature fall color.
  8. Enjoy a little of the area’s geography and plenty of fall color at Catherine Creek, which can easily connect to the popular Coyote Wall Area for more great fall hikes. 
  9. Finally, if you want to keep the hikes easy and relaxing, venture down the Klickitat Trail. This former rail trail is relatively flat and follows along the Klickitat River, but the autumn colors from the shrubs and oak trees make it absolutely gorgeous. 

Hiking is equally exhilarating and exhausting, and we have no doubt you’ll feel depleted after a day of adventure around the Gorge. Luckily, we offer relaxing massage services on-site at our romantic cabins in the Columbia River Gorge – the perfect way to end your day at Wahclella Falls or any of these other area hikes. Don’t miss fall in this fantastic area. Book your cabin getaway today!

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