Dry Creek Falls, Bridge of the Gods - PCT Trailhead, Portland - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Dry Creek Falls - 4.4 miles
Bridge of the Gods - PCT Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||4.4 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||171' - 892' (892' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+721' net elevation gain (+905' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Dry Creek Falls - 4.4 Miles Round-Trip
Dry Creek Falls is located 2.2 miles from Bridge of the Gods Trailhead in the Columbia River Gorge. This deceptively tall waterfall drops approximately 230' in at least 5 stages, though only the lowest tier (74') is readily visible.
The PCT runs 1.95 miles through diverse forests to a junction at Dry Creek, where an access trail splits (right) up a graded road bed for .25 miles to the falls.
Families and runners will enjoy moderate grades and good trail maintenance en route, with the option of continuing 1.95 miles on the PCT to Pacific Crest Falls.
Note that Bridge of the Gods Trailhead is located just north of I-84, and you'll have to pass back under the highway and walk local roads to pick up singletrack. Not to worry, this short section (.17 miles) is well marked and easy to follow:
Follow signs from the parking lot up a switchback to a road leading under the highway. Follow signs right, then left to pick up the main trail (.17 miles).
Once on track, travel normalizes in a young fir and maple forest. The PCT runs fast to a short piece of road that passes under power lines (1.1 miles : 705'). Follow signs on and right back off the road to remain on the PCT (again very quick, intuitive and marked).
Road noise dims as you reach a subtle crest (1.3 miles : 810') and drop to a junction at a bridge over Dry Creek (1.95 miles : 718'). Follow signs (right) up a wide, graded road bed to the base of Dry Creek Falls (2.2 miles : 892').
The falls pour through a narrow chute into a high-walled, lichen and moss covered amphitheater. It's fairly easy to approach the falls and explore the plunge pool, or step back to see more of the upper tiers, which are somewhat concealed.
It's worth exploring Dry Creek itself, which features several kinetic cascades and high berry concentrations along its path.
Dry Creek is a municipal water source for Cascade Locks, and a small dam redirects water at the base of the falls. Leave these facilities in situ to ensure the falls remain open to the public.
Interactive GPS Topo MapKey GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84
- N45 39.723 W121 53.787 — 0.0 miles : Bridge of the Gods Trailhead
- N45 39.709 W121 53.668 — .17 miles : Follow signs for the PCT
- N45 39.578 W121 53.462 — .5 miles : Fast travel in fir-maple forest
- N45 39.594 W121 53.160 — 1.0 miles : Steady, moderate grades
- N45 39.590 W121 52.644 — 1.5 miles : Trail dips down off crest
- N45 39.603 W121 52.159 — 1.95 miles : PCT - Dry Creek Falls Trail split
- N45 39.446 W121 52.035 — 2.2 miles : Dry Creek Falls
Did you know?!
- Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks is mile mark 2155 on the PCT (out of 2650 total miles from the Mexican to Canadian border).
- Bridge of the Gods is the lowest point on the PCT, at approximately 150'. The highest point is 13,153' on Forester Pass.
- Cascade Locks is the only incorporated city directly on the PCT.
Camping and Backpacking Information
Camping Rules and Regulations
- An overnight fee is required (see rules and regulations).
- Group size is limited to 12 individuals or any combination of people and stock.
- Camp in established sites whenever possible. Sites are first come, first served. Some may be closed for restoration.
- Bury human waste 6-8" deep, at least 100' from any trail or water source.
- Campfires - Columbia River Gorge NSA: Campfires are permitted in the CRGNSA, with potential seasonal and area-specific restrictions. Up-to-date rules are posted at the trailhead and along the trail.
- Campfires are permitted in the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness, but with location and seasonal-specific restrictions. Up-to-date rules are posted at the trailhead and along the trail.
Rules and Regulations
- A valid Recreation Pass is required to access the Bridge of the Gods - PCT Trailhead ($5 day use fee | overnight use requires payment for two days). Complete the form and display as directed at the trailhead board.
- If traveling beyond Dry Creek Falls you may enter the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness, where a free day / overnight use permit is required. These forms are available at the wilderness boundary. Complete the form and carry with you as directed.
- Dogs must be leashed at all times.
Directions to Trailhead
Directions to Bridge of the Gods Trailhead in Cascade Locks:
From Portland (and points west):
Travel east on I-84 to Exit #44 / Cascade Locks. Follow signs to Bridge of the Gods / Stevenson. The road to the bridge winds up to park just before reaching the toll booth. This is Bridge of the Gods Trailhead. Park here. A valid recreation pass or $5 day use fee is required.
From Hood River (and points east):
Travel west on I-84 to Exit #44 / Cascade Locks. Head west from the exit ramp on the main road through town, and follow signs for Bridge of the Gods / Stevenson. The road to the bridge winds up to park just before reaching the toll booth. This is Bridge of the Gods Trailhead. Park here. A valid recreation pass or $5 day use fee is required.
Bridge of the Gods Trailhead is closed in winter months. When closed, use public parking spaces across the street from the park and walk up to the trailhead.
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
902 Wasco Ave | Suite 200
Hood River, OR 97031
Hood River Ranger District
6780 Highway 35
Parkdale, OR 97041
Mt. Hood National Forest | Headquarters
16400 Champion Way
Sandy, OR 97055
Hours: Monday – Friday, 7:30a – 4:30p (closed 11:30 – 12:30)