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Difference between revisions of "Tanner-Eagle Traverse Hike"

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

(Add category)
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[[Category:Northwest Oregon]]
[[Category:Northwest Oregon]]
[[Category:Columbia River Gorge]]
[[Category:Columbia River Gorge]]
[[Category:Mt Hood National Forest]]
[[Category:Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness]]
[[Category:Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness]]
[[Category:Wilderness Hikes]]
[[Category:Wilderness Hikes]]

Latest revision as of 23:13, 30 May 2021

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.
Trail 401 steadily climbs above the powerline to Wauna Point trail junction
Flower meadows along Tanner Ridge
Ancient cedars at Big Cedar Springs. There are 2-3 campsites and a reliable stream here
Eagle Creek crossing is easy in low water, but may be an issue after heavy rains or early in the summer
Tunnel Falls on Eagle Creek
  • Start point: Tooth Rock TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Eagle Creek Trailhead
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Traverse (Car Shuttle)
  • Distance: 23.6 miles one-way
  • Elevation gain: 4500 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: Apr-Nov
  • Family Friendly: Too long
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: only the last 7 miles near Eagle Creek


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.

This hike is almost certainly a backpack (see a note in the end), although a few people have done it as a day hike.

This hike starts in the Tooth Rock Trailhead. Start by walking east on the closed paved road that soon goes near the freeway. In about 1/2 to 3/4 mile you'll see a trail going steeply to the right; it may be unofficial but is pretty good (it's where you can see a brown information sign for "exit 40 1/2(or 1?) mile ahead" on a freeway near you). Hike the trail up to a closed gravel Tanner Creek Road #777. Walk uphill (west) for about two miles to the old Tanner Butte Trail #401 Trailhead, just before the road crosses a small creek.

Take Trail 401 up and start climbing. The trail passes four unnamed waterfalls and crosses a creek couple of times. There aren't a lot of views as payback for your effort, but you'll cross a power line twice, offering a a bit of open air. Above the power line look for orchids blooming in June, mostly varieties of coralroot. 2.2 miles from road #777, you'll come to a junction with the unmaintained Wauna Point Trail #401D. There's a campsite here, as well, and a couple of small creeks just before a campsite that may dry in the end of summer.

Continuing on, the climb moderates somewhat, but it continues up into rhododendron territory. You'll cross the wilderness boundary and 2 miles farther you'll pass a junction with Tanner Cutoff Trail #448. This partly overgrown trail leads steeply right (west) down the mountain to the Tanner Creek Trail. 150 yards further is a junction with Dublin Lake Trail #401B that leads steeply downhill the other way to Dublin Lake. Dublin Lake provides the best overnight spot for backpackers, and it's the only reliable source of water until Big Cedar Springs, which are 5.5 miles from here. In another half mile from this junction, the trail picks up an old road and follows it the rest of the way to Tanner Butte. Continuing south the views open up into meadows of bear grass and huckleberries.

At trail mile 7.8 (from road #777), there's a side path that heads up to the top of Tanner Butte. Look for a sign saying "Please find scramble route to the summit". Once known as Tanner View Trail #401C, the trail is rocky and steep and it receives no maintenance. At the top the views are incredible, including Mts Hood, St Helens, Adams and Rainier, Chinidere Mountain, Mount Defiance, Larch Mountain, Silver Star, you name it. Take some time and soak it in.

Returning to the main trail, turn left and continue south. In a mile you'll come to a side trail to Tanner Springs on your right, which often runs dry toward the end of summer, and kind of difficult to locate in dense brush. A quarter mile farther comes the junction with Eagle-Tanner Trail #433 (the road gets barricaded just beyond this junction, so you'll not miss it). Turn left on this rough trail, crest the divide and wander downhill past Thrush Pond to Big Cedar Springs, where there's a couple of good campsites. If you end up on the rocky slope just above Big Cedar Springs backtrack and find the trail. There's an impenetrable thicket at the bottom of that rocky slope. After Big Cedar Springs the trail improves dramatically. In another couple miles, there's a ford of the West Fork of Eagle Creek, with another campsite just after the creek. A mile farther brings you to Eagle Creek Trail #440.

Here, you're right at the top of all the famous action. Turn left, and travel through Twister Falls, Tunnel Falls, High Bridge and all of those famous ledges. This territory is better documented here. In about 7.5 miles, you'll reach the Eagle Creek Trailhead. If you've done a car shuttle, you can relax on the drive home. If you haven't, there's a loop alternative. Walk down the road about 1/4 mile to the Eagle Creek Suspension Bridge. Cross the bridge and walk Gorge Trail #400 three miles back to the Tooth Rock Trailhead.

The Tooth Rock Trailhead creates the easiest and shortest version of this hike, but overnight parking is not allowed. Also, Tooth Rock Trailhead has a higher incidence of car prowling than other nearby trailheads. You can access this hike from the Wahclella Falls Trailhead by hiking about 1.5 mile of Trail 400 from there to Mile 1.1 on Road 777. From the Eagle Creek Trailhead, you can hike west on Trail 400 for about 1.2 miles to Mile 0.7 on Road 777. From the first Eagle Creek parking lot, you can walk along the road going west along the highway to the Eagle Creek Staircase. At the top, to your left, is a hidden junction with the old Portage Road. Hike up the Portage Road to its crest, where you'll find a short use path heading up the hill. This leads about 100 yards to Road 777 at mile 0.7.

These alternatives are explored (with maps) in the Many Ways to the Tanner Butte Trailhead.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 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


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.