From nearby rocks, drink in the view of Punchbowl Falls along Oregon's Eagle Creek Trail.
Oregon’s Eagle Creek Trail might be the perfect hike. It hugs steep canyon walls above a glittering stream and passes towering waterfalls that plunge toward the Columbia River just east of Bonneville Dam. But the hike is more than the sum of its vistas. “The trail matches world-class natural beauty with engineering genius,” says outdoors writer Bill Sullivan. Workers blasted shelves into canyon faces and installed bridges to give the trail a gentle grade. Thousands of hikers have walked the 3.5 miles to High Bridge, 120 feet above the canyon floor. Many continue to Tunnel Falls, where a man-made bore leads behind a roaring waterfall. Do these developments spoil the experience? Hardly. For visitors, the trail is a thundering success. (541) 308-1700, www.fs.fed.us/r6/columbia.
Photography by Terry Donaldson
This article was first published in March 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.