Photograph - Photograph
Tunnel Falls is the traditional turnaround spot for many on the Eagle Creek Trail, and it is indeed a splendid climax. Over the last thousand years, the falls have carved a majestic basin here, plunging 160 feet from towering basalt cliffs to the rushing creek-bed below. While this scene is impressive enough, the most bewildering aspect of the falls in the passageway behind them. Trail builders from the early 1900s blasted a tunnel behind the falls and then across the sheer rock face on their far side, making this area the slickest and perhaps, most precarious section of trail in the Columbia River Gorge. Looking downstream from the falls, you can see were the two forks of Eagle Creek converge, meeting at Grand Union Falls.
Please avoid the temptation to descend to the creek via the large slide on the near side, as so many have done before. Putting aside the obvious danger, the area is eroding before it's time, accelerating mother nature's intentions for the area.
Visitors to this area may choose to continue less than a half-mile ahead to the two-tiered, 200 foot Twister Falls (some guidebooks call it "Eagle Creek Falls"). It is well worth the minimal additional effort if time affords. It is difficult to see the full span of the cataract, but more impressive is the trail to it. Many have referred to this stretch as the "Vertigo Mile".
August 13th, 2011
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