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Metlako Falls

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Metlako Falls from the old overlook (now collapsed) (Jeff Statt)
The old overlook, looking upstream toward Metlako Falls (Jeff Statt)


Metlako Falls is the lowest major falls along the Eagle Creek, serving as a stunning initiation into the area. At 82 feet, it represents one of the taller waterfalls along the Eagle Creek Trail (although the Forest Service seems to think the falls are much higher than 82 feet). The falls are named after a Native American goddess of salmon. Its sister waterfall, Sorenson Falls, which plunges just south of Metlako Falls, is taller however, and is the one you see first when hiking up the Eagle Creek Trail.

Hikers used to be able to view Metlako Falls from a downstream clifftop, accessed by a spur trail, the Metlako Falls Trail #440A. Overhanging maples were regularly pruned to offer a sterling photo opportunity from a cable-railed overlook. However, in December 2016, the section of the rim with the overlook collapsed into the gorge below, and the best sighting of the entire waterfall is from the approach on the main trail right after you spot 100-foot Sorenson Falls.

The falls appear to burst out of the side of the gorge walls like a breach in a dam. In fact, the falls burst through a through a defile on Eagle Creek itself 80 feet from the gorge floor. At the base of the falls is an impressively large and deep pool which ia also fed by Sorenson Falls, although you can't see both waterfalls at the same time.

The old spur trail to the obliterated overlook has disappeared since the Eagle Creek Fire. You can see the top of the falls from the Eagle Creek Trail before you reach Sorenson Creek. Bushwhacking to the edge of the abyss is not recommended as the lip is undercut in places and may collapse at any time.

Before the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire, Metlako Falls became the target of thrill-seeking kayakers, who would run the creek from the top of Punch Bowl Falls or Skoonichuk Falls. Since the fire, Eagle Creek has become clogged with much debris and riding the waterfalls may no longer be a survivable sport.

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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.

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