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Upper Ruckel Creek Falls
   Hood River County, Oregon, United States

This waterfall has been surveyed, mapped and measured in person by the World Waterfall Database.
Photo of Upper Ruckel Creek Falls Upper Ruckel Creek Falls is, thus far, the largest waterfall documented along Ruckel Creek. I honestly would not be surprised at all if it turns out there are taller falls upstream of here, but to my knowledge, very little of Ruckel Creek has been documented above this waterfall. This fall occurs where the creek runs into one of the ubiquitous basalt flows that make up the south side of the Columbia River Gorge, and plunges about 100 feet over an undercut cliff. Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of this waterfall is the cliff has fractured such that there is a natural pathway about halfway up the falls that encircles the entire alcove. Apparently there are some mining relics to be found for those that make the precarious journey to the falls.


  • Upper Ruckel Creek Falls is the Unofficial name of this waterfall

I saw several pieces of large steel cable around the base of the falls, and a group who visited the falls about a month before I did found a pick ax on the "pathway" behind the falls, among other things. I have to imagine there may have been a trail of some sort to the falls at one point. It may have even been named once.

Location and directions

Upper Ruckel Creek falls is very difficult and dangerous to access. The falls are approximately 2 1/3 miles from the parking area at the Eagle Creek Campground and are accessed from the east side of Ruckel Creek via a series of animal paths that traverse the canyon. Because of the delicate nature of the area and the markedly increased visitation the area has received, specific directions to this waterfall will not be posted. We do not recommend accessing the falls be attempted unless you are very comfortable with off-trail travel involving significant unprotected exposure and Class 3 scrambling.

Upper Ruckel Creek Falls is shown in the center. Additional nearby waterfalls (if any) can be found in the list below.

Additional Nearby Waterfalls

Name of Waterfall Distance
Middle Ruckel Creek Falls 0.13 mi / 0.21 km
Mossy Grotto Falls 0.51 mi / 0.81 km
Wauna Falls 0.61 mi / 0.97 km
Metlako Falls 0.83 mi / 1.33 km
Ephiphany Falls 0.84 mi / 1.34 km
Sorenson Falls 0.85 mi / 1.37 km
Upper Sorenson Creek Falls 0.95 mi / 1.51 km
Lower Punch Bowl Falls 1 mi / 1.6 km
Ruckel Creek Falls 1.02 mi / 1.63 km
Punch Bowl Falls 1.12 mi / 1.79 km


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Photo of Upper Ruckel Creek Falls

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Photography tips

I visited this one in March, well before the foliage on the surrounding trees had sprouted, and the scene suffered as a result. I've seen pictures taken from several different angles later in the year and this becomes a very scenic and photogenic waterfall when the trees are properly full. The falls toss up a fair amount of spray at the bottom and create a pretty strong movement of air, which makes capturing the trees and ferns and bushes around the falls difficult.

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