Hiking Punchbowl Falls
The Punchbowl Falls hike is one of many stellar hikes located in the scenic Columbia gorge area. It’s about a 45 minute drive from downtown Portland and it is appropriate for kids ages 7 and up.
What is unique about this hike is that you can swim here. That is if you can handle super cold water. You can also cliff jump in several spots here. You can see in the photo below my son right before he cliff jumped into the lower part of Punchbowl Falls.
Here is my son jumping off. He is obviously much braver than I am. There is no way I would have done it, not because I am scared to jump, but because the water is ice cold.
It is quite the hike to get here, 2 miles one way. You park just after pulling off I-84 at exit 41 and you do need to pay for parking unless you have some sort of pass to park. They accept almost any kind of park pass. We have a National Park Pass that they give out to military members for free and just laid it on the dash board.
Tips for Punchbowl Falls Hike
- Do not take a stroller.
- The trail is steep and narrow at times.
- Pack snacks and lots of water.
- Take water shoes to change into when you arrive at falls.
- Keep your children close.
- Have them hold one to the provided line during the narrow parts.
- Wear a bathing suit under your clothes. (there is literally no where to change in privacy)
- Have kids go to the bathroom before the hike. (There are bathrooms in the parking lot and base of the hike.)
- Do not miss the split in the trail or you will completely miss the waterfall and possibly hike 4 miles too far. (I know this because that is what I did the second time I went out to hike it.)
The views as you hike are incredible.