Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •    Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!
| Page | Discussion | View source | History | Print Friendly and PDF

Wauna Viewpoint from Eagle Creek Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Looking East from Wauna Viewpoint (Jim Sifferle)
Suspension bridge over Eagle Creek near the beginning of the Wauna Viewpoint Hike
  • Start point: Eagle Creek TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Wauna Viewpoint
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 3.6 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 1050 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Year round
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

This is a two mile hike to a nice open perch 1000 foot above the Bonneville Dam area, beneath the power lines.

This hike starts at the Eagle Creek Trailhead, but not on Eagle Creek Trail. Start west on Gorge Trail #400. The trailhead will be easy to spot as there's a 100 foot long suspension bridge for hikers only. Cross the bridge and turn right at the other end. You'll ascend about 200 feet rising high above Eagle Creek before turning left parallel to the Columbia River. Before long you'll pass a fenced overlook of Bonneville Dam, with some nice hints of Hamilton Mountain and Table Mountain between the trees.

Hike four more switchbacks before the trail levels out of bit. Soon, you'll hit the unmarked junction between the Wauna Viewpoint Trail #402 and Trail #400. A small stone marker once marked the location, but even without it, the junction is quite obvious. Trail #400 continues forward to the West crossing a talus slope. You'll, on the other hand, will turn 180 degrees and continue climbing upward toward the East.

You'll climb another six moderately steep switchbacks with intermittent views along the way. This area was burned by a forest fire in the 1990s. That has opened up the forest canopy quite a bit. With all the new light, many new plants have taken hold, including poison oak. While the trail is wide enough to avoid it, you'll want to stay out of the bushes.

As you approach the summit, you'll begin to see the power lines leading up from the dam below. In fact, the last stretch of your hike will be on the power line access road itself. Prepare to share the summit with a large buzzing tower.

This viewpoint gives you a nice vantage point of the Bridge of the Gods, and Table Mountain. Just to the West of Table is Hamilton Mountain with the distinct monolith Beacon Rock at it's base. To the east of Table, is Greenleaf Peak. On a clear day you'll see Mount Adams poking it's head over the hills to your northeast.

This is also probably the best view of the Bonneville Dam from above. Be sure to bring binoculars as you get a great bird's eye view of the two operating locks. Perhaps you'll be lucky enough to be there when a boat is passing through.

Eagle Creek Gorge is the valley at your feet just to the East, with Ruckel Ridge on the opposite flank. Follow your eyes up Ruckel Ridge to Benson Plateau where it joins the PCT and eventually connects back to Chinidere Mountain and Wahtum Lake.

People commonly refer to Wauna Viewpoint as Wauna Point without realizing they are two distinct landforms on what is essentially the same mountainside. With a keen eye, one can actually spot the rocky outcrops of Wauna Point through the trees way uphill to the South. A scant trail seems to lead to it from from your location. Don't be tempted to try this. The point is much further uphill than it appears, and the trail fades almost immediately - becoming a difficult and dangerous bushwack . (Wauna Point is better accessed via the Tooth Rock area near the Wahclella Falls Trailhead).

Despite the nice views and relatively easy approach, the Wauna Viewpoint trail suffers from quite a bit of road noise from the interstate (I-84) and the summit is marred by the constant buzz of the power lines. However, it is a nice choice for families who are looking for alternatives to Angel's Rest and other familiar fare.

Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass required at trailhead

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hike! Columbia Gorge, by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Afoot and Afield Portland/Vancouver, by Douglas Lorain
  • 35 Hiking Trails, Columbia River Gorge, by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Columbia River Gorge, 42 Scenic Hikes, by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Hiking the Columbia River Gorge - 1st and 2nd Editions, by Russ Schneider
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon - 3rd Edition, by William L Sullivan

More Links

Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.