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Wahkeena Canyon

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Timing is everything! (Steve Hart)
Wahkeena Creek (Steve Hart)


Wahkeena Canyon is a narrow defile carved into Columbia River Basalt flows by Wahkeena Creek. The canyon is just wide enough for the creek and the trail.

Wahkeena Creek is a very unusual and completely isolated body of water. It arises from two copious springs and immediately begins to tumble downhill. The entire creek is less than a mile long, and it loses about 1200' in that distance. Wahkeena Falls creates a barrier that restricts fish from coming upstream. This is an isolated ecosystem containing at least three animals found no where else in the world, the Wahkeena Falls flightless stonefly (Nanonemoura wahkeena), the Wahkeena Creek caddisfly (Neothremma andersoni), and the Wahkeena Creek amphipod (Stygobromus wahkeenensis), a small subterranean shrimp-like crustacean described in 2001. This is also the chilly realm of the Cascade torrent salamander (Rhyacotriton cascadae).

If the endangered critters are hard to locate, the natural beauty is obvious. The water is everywhere to be seen, heard, felt and smelled. The 2017 Eagle Creek Fire scorched this canyon, but the lush understory is rebounding quickly.

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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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