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Shepperds Dell Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

This page is marked as a Closed Hike. Some or all of this hike has been closed by a governing body and hikers may be liable for fines or even arrest. At least part of this route may be dangerous and hard to follow, or it may cross areas with sensitive plant life or wildlife habitat. Trailkeepers of Oregon does not endorse or recommend hiking this route. When restrictions are lifted, this notice will be removed.
The lower waterfall (Greg Lief)
The lower falls with the upper falls in the background, Shepperds Dell (bobcat)
Young Creek Bridge (Jeff Statt)
The short trail and bridge walk at Shepherds Dell (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start Point: Shepperds Dell Trailhead
  • End Point: Shepperds Dell Falls
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 0.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 45 feet
  • High point: 155 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No
  • Elevation: 220 feet


Hike Description

NOTICE: This trail is closed until further notice because of damage from the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire. Please check the list of Columbia Gorge trail closures before you plan for a hike.

Shepperds Dell isn't so much a hike as a very short stroll. However, it certainly deserves mention for its classic stonework and, of course, its waterfall. The short path is cut from the cliffs and protected by a stone wall created by the masons working on the nearby Columbia River Highway. Young Creek flows down a series of falls into a deep canyon. When looking at the historic deck arch bridge, consider that, despite being built in 1914, it can handle the droves of summertime RVs in the present day! Like some other Columbia River Gorge state parks, Shepperds Dell is named after the landowner, George Shepperd, who presented the original 11-acre parcel to the City of Portland in 1915 as a memorial to his wife. The tract was later transferred to Oregon State Parks, and the public acreage of the park was greatly expanded with other acquisitions.

The short path is paved, although rough in spots. It's perfectly suitable for children and the infirm, but there is a little poison oak next to the trail near the highway. A few stairs block the first few feet of the path, making it inaccessible to wheelchairs. There's an overlook above the lower tier of the falls. The upper tier can be partially seen from the beginning of the trail in winter, when there is less vegetation obstructing the view. Young Creek Falls, really a lower tier of Shepperds Dell Falls, carries the creek into a boggy bottomland below the highway bridge.

Walk on both sides of the highway bridge to get different views. A tongue of the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire crossed the highway at Shepperds Dell; most of the oaks and Douglas-firs in the area were scorched but not killed. Magnificent lava cliffs, composed of Grande Ronde basalts, rear above the defile and amphitheater. Just east of here, on the historic highway, is the formation known as Bishops Cap, which represents the intersection of two lava flows, one now overhanging the other at this point (A number of "hazard trees" near Bishops Cap were cut down after the 2017 fire). From the north side of the bridge, you can see straight down the creek as it plunges to the Young Creek bottomlands below. To the west are Rooster Rock and, across the river, the cliffs of Cape Horn.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs on leash

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 70 Virtual Hikes of the Columbia River Gorge by Northwest Hiker
  • Columbia Gorge Getaways by Laura O. Foster
  • PDX Hiking 365 by Matt Reeder
  • Day Hikes in the Columbia Gorge by Don J. Scarmuzzi
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • Hiking the Columbia River Gorge by Russ Schneider (1st ed. only)
  • Waterfalls of the Columbia Gorge, Volume One: Oregon by Zach Forsyth
  • Oregon State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide by Jan Bannan

More Links


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.