Tag Archives: Upper McCord Creek Falls

Elowah Falls & Upper McCord Creek Falls (Autumn)

Directions: Take I-84 East to exit 35. Take a left at the stop sign and then a right onto Frontage Road. Follow Frontage Road for about 2 miles to the John B Yeon parking area.

From the trailhead follow the trail as it passes an old water tower and heads back east where you start hiking uphill. The trail here is fairly wide and well groomed, you are going uphill steadily but it’s nothing too hard. Soon you will reach the junction with Upper McCord Creek Falls. Continue straight here and the trail levels out a bit but becomes much more rocky. Next up are the long switchbacks that take you down to Elowah Falls. We’ve had quite a bit of rain recently so this part of the trail was pretty muddy. The trail drops you right at the base of Elowah Falls and a bridge crossing the creek. This is the end point for the Elowah Falls part of this hike.

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When you are ready to head up to Upper McCord Creek Falls follow the switchbacks back up and head for the trail junction you passed earlier. Go left and start gradually heading uphill, you will switchback and cross over old metal pipe that’s running over the trail in two spots. Continue following the trail and you will hike up more switchbacks where you will start getting views of the Gorge. After the switchbacks the trail skirts along the cliffs with a metal railing to prevent falling. The views up here are beautiful and there is even a rock bench to sit and enjoy it all. This cliff area can be really drippy with runoff during the rainy months. Continue around the cliff and short distance and you will be able to see Elowah Falls from the top and a short distance later will reach Upper McCord Creek Falls.

When you are ready head back out the way you came in.

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Distance: 3.6 miles

Elevation: 500 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Very

Overall: Two waterfalls in less than 4 miles is hard to beat! These waterfalls are best during the rainy seasons.

Elowah Falls & Upper McCord Creek Falls (Summer)

Directions: Take I-84 East to exit 35. Take a left at the stop sign and then a right onto Frontage Road. Follow Frontage Road for about 2 miles to the John B Yeon parking area.

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The trail starts out passing a old water tower and continues to climb but not too steeply to a junction. We decided to head up to Upper McCord Creek Falls first, this was a good decision.

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Heading up there are a lot of switchbacks, washed out sections and weird pipes that cross the trail a few times. Overall though, the trail is pretty smooth. After the switchbacks, when you get closer to the cliffs, you’ll come to a spot with great views and a bench built into the rocks. The next part of the trail is more narrow and has a railing to keep you from falling off the cliff you are walking along. After the railing ends you are basically at the falls. Then we headed back downhill to Elowah Falls. This part of the trail is rocky and switches back downhill.

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We were really glad we chose to do Upper McCord Creek first. As cool as Upper McCord was, Elowah was definitely the better of the two. There were lots of birds at both falls, we even got to see some Swallows playing with a feather down at Elowah Falls.

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*Update* We visited these falls while they were frozen and it was AWESOME. Check out our post here.

Distance: 3.6 miles

Elevation: 400 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

Good For: All ages

Bathrooms: No

Parking Fee: None

Seasons: All

Popular: Yes

Overall: Great hike with two waterfalls. The views up at Upper McCord are great. Watch out for massive crowds on nice weekends.