Wahkeena Trail #420
ElevationAscent: 1,386' 422 m
Descent: -377' -115 m
High: 1,517' 463 m
Low: 132' 40 m
GradeAvg Grade: 15% (8°)
Max Grade: 34% (19°)
Popular runs nearby
Multnomah Falls Out and Back
2.7 mi 4.3 km • Loop • 868 ft Ascent 264.56 m Ascent
Multnomah Falls Loop
4.8 mi 7.7 km • Point to Point • 1,554 ft Ascent 473.69 m Ascent
Munra Point Out and Back
6.3 mi 10.1 km • Loop • 2,201 ft Ascent 670.73 m Ascent
Upper McCord Creek Falls
1.8 mi 2.9 km • Loop • 412 ft Ascent 125.63 m Ascent
1.4 mi 2.2 km • Out and Back • 255 ft Ascent 77.59 m Ascent
Hamilton Mountain Loop
7.1 mi 11.5 km • Loop • 2,169 ft Ascent 660.96 m Ascent
Navigate on-trail with our free app
“An unbelievably scenic climb along numerous waterfalls leading to the Columbia River.”— Brendan Ross
Parking at the trails around Multnomah Falls can fill quickly, especially during the warmer months. Arrive early to maximize the chances of finding a close spot.
As the most popular nature destination in the Pacific Northwest, the trails can be very crowded, especially in good weather and on weekends. While not as packed as the Multnomah trailhead, the best time to visit Wahkeena is in the early morning, before casual visitors arrive.
If choosing to bring a dog, please heed the posted rules and keep it on a leash. The trails can be crowded and many people will not react well to a loose dog. More importantly, unleashed dogs fall into the river and waterfalls on average of once a month, a sad statistic that is entirely avoidable.
The trail begins off Highway 30 near a parking area. The initial portion is a moderate climb on paved doubletrack, often crowded. It's only a single switchback to reach the first waterfall, Lower Wahkeena, which is crossed by a scenic stone bridge. Take time to appreciate the view, because the run gets tough fast, beginning a steep grade climb that will last for about a mile. A few benches along the way provide rest opportunities.
Wahkeena soon begins a series of tight switchbacks, climbing along a creek of the same name to the right. The trail and creek take up almost the entirety of the space in this tight canyon. As the hairpins smooth out, look for a short spur to Lemmon's Viewpoint on the right; the view from here is outstanding.
After Lemmon's, the pavement gives way to wide dirt singletrack, interrupted in some areas by jagged rocks and roots. Step carefully through these sections, especially where it’s made wet by spray from the falls. Upper Wahkeena is a short distance ahead, as the path starts to made wider curves as it ascends. The climb is relentless and tiring.
Shortly before the three-quarter mile point, a number of tight switchbacks climb next to the gorgeous fan-shaped Fairy Falls. Watch your step here, as the ground is perpetually wet, and icy in winter. Vista Point Trail breaks off to the left, a nice shortcut for runners heading west. Pressing on, the switchbacks widen a bit and the grade eases - marginally. Angel's Rest Trail #415 awaits at the mile point, while Wahkeena's route turns left. Take time to check Wahkeena Springs to the right, the source of the creek, before continuing on.
Enjoy the view of the towering pines as the path finishes out its climb, eventually meeting Vista Point again near the mile and a half point. This flat section is also the trail's quietest, curving around the mountain. The trail is also drier and softer here, but watch for jagged rock segments.
As the trail turns toward the canyon of Multnomah Creek to end, it begins a descent as steep as the climb. Silence gives way to the roar of waterfalls below over the last quarter mile. Look for a signpost marking the end at an intersection with the Larch Mountain Trail; turn left to loop back home.
Run this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Need to Know, Flora & Fauna
Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.
Land Manager: USFS - Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Office