Eagle Creek - Tanner Butte Loop

Cascade Locks, Oregon

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8 Reviews
4 out of 5
The second most famous and perhaps most enjoyable hike in the gorge.

Eagle Creek - Tanner Butte Loop Professional Review and Guide

"The second most famous and perhaps most enjoyable hike in the gorge."

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Cascade Locks
Distance: 24.2
Elevation Gain: 5,570 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: Overnight
Season: May through October
Trailhead Elevation: 200 feet
Top Elevation: 4,500 feet
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Mount Hood National Forest, 16400 Champion Way, Sandy, OR 97055; (503) 668-1700; www.fs.usda.gov/mthood.
Local Maps: USGS Bonneville Dam, Tanner Butte, Wahtum Lake

Eagle Creek - Tanner Butte Loop Reviews

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icon8 Total
Amazing views and worth the trip, be prepared and fill up at every point you can find water! This trail trip was actually an accident that turned out to be one of the most challenging things I've done in my life physically and mentally. We were with a small group and started out at Eagle creek making our way up to 7 1/2 mile camp for first night. First mistake for beginner hiking adults- don't try to keep up with the teenagers!:) Two of us adults left early to get a head start and missed the fork turn left we were supposed to take. At the creek we found a clearly orange marked stream crossing and that's where it all began- the climbing, that to a novice backpacker made me understand why every ounce in that pack makes a difference. Views are breath taking at Tanner Butte, the down side of trail was smooth and gradual and looking back the preferred route to take for this loop to start at Eagle creek side. Refill at every water source if you're a beginner that makes a wrong turn onto a difficult trail like this and it'll be a joy to reflect on conquering this difficult climb. A memory that will last forever!
Amazing hike in the spring. The velocity of the water in Punch Bowl Falls is incredible.
I Loved this Hike! I started from the Tanner Butte side instead of Eagle Creek to get away from the crowds and it was worth it I saw no one else the entire time (super heavy rains might have contributed a bit). The View from Tanner Butte is well worth the very uphill climb from the trail head. I had to cut the trip short and turn around half way down the Eagle-Tanner Trail because I ran out of trail and was completely hedged in with brush. I don't know if I am an idiot or what but I could not find a way through. On my next visit I am going to go the traditional route and start from Eagle Creek and see if the trail is any easier from the bottom up.
A fun trail, said it would take three days but we did it in 48 hours. The trail was kept up but we, along with another party, got lost on the backside, where it sounds like it is harder to follow the trail. Some water sources were dried up when we thought there would be some but there were plenty of other streams. 7 1/2 mile camp was really crowded but a lot of people back in to the camp and head back down. The rest of the loop let's you run into a few other parties but overall, a great weekend backpacking trip
The Eagle Creek Trail truly is one of the crown jewels of the Columbia River Gorge. While the first 6 miles of this trail can be crowded on weekend days, mile after mile of cascading waterfalls makes up for the lack of solitude. I have done the trail back to Tunnel Falls dozens of times and still am awestruck by it. Beyond Tunnel Falls the trail becomes more overgrown from the lack of traffic and the woods continue to get more and more dense for a truly wilderness experience until the last 6 miles or so of the loop. There Big Cedar Springs Camp at 11.5 miles is beautiful and a pleasant surprise after some monotonous hiking. There was still plenty of snow on the trail when we hiked it and required a bit of routefinding to re-find the forest service road just before the cutoff trail to Tanner Butte. Definitely bring your map and compass! The scramble up to Tanner Butte is tough, but well worth it for the uninhibited views. The last five miles switchback steeply back down to Eagle Creek, but are pleasant enough with wildflowers and small waterfalls dotting the way.
This is a nice 3-day loop, with limited alpine views but many beautiful waterfalls. One issue is the lack of campsites: we camped the first night at the Eagle Creek Campsite right on the river, and two other parties came along soon after hoping to camp there too and had to find another place. And this was mid-week. We spent the second night at Dublin Lake, which was beautiful and the campsite was very nice (little stone chairs, ample dry wood for a fire). The trail is covered in posion oak and is very overgrown after 7.5 mile camp and then again after Big Cedar Camp, but these are the only two places we were REALLY frustrated. The other sections require some log hopping, and I would wear long pants to avoid scratches, but the only place we lost the trail was coming into Big Cedar Camp (if making the suggested loop (clockwise) stay west-north west when entering this area if you loose the trail...don't head down the stream, the trail goes above it). The scramble trail to the top of Tanner Butte is better maintained than the actual trail, and views of Mt. Adams, St. Helens and Mt. Hood are amazing on a clear day. 5,800 feet seems too high for the amount of climbing we did...I'd say the actual elevation gain is somewhere closer to 4,800-5,000 ft.
The trail started off very well. A nice gradual climb with lots of waterfalls. Crossing Eagle Creek was a bit hairy. The water was running pretty fast the first day, and by the second day it was completly uncrossable. My advice would be to either hike in until the creek, set up camp, relax and hike back out the next day. Or try crossing the creek later in the summer. Also park your car close the the camp host if you plan to be out for a few days. I parked in the lot closest to the trailhead and came back after backpacking to find that my car was broken into. Apparently this is a problem there so just be aware. All and all though it was a really beautiful trip.
Our trip started great, the first 9 miles were beautiful. There must have been 10 waterfalls and tunnel falls is amazing. Once you hit the about 9 - 10 miles it is an up hill climb for about 6 miles to the peak. The trail isn't even visible at times, the vegetation is very overgrown. Once you begin your decent it becomes a little better but the drastic difference between the first half and the second is shocking. As I stated before the first 9 miles are breathtaking but the remainder is dense forest with overgrown ferns and shrubs with minimal light peaking through the trees. I would recomend the eagle creek trail and try campin @ the 7-1/2 mile camp (we did and it was beautiful also just 10 feet from the water and off the main trail by 15 feet) then make a u turn and go back via trail 434.

Eagle Creek - Tanner Butte Loop Photos

Activity Feed

Jun 2018