Upper McCord Creek Falls, Elowah Falls Trailhead - John B. Yeon State Park, Portland - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Upper McCord Creek Falls - 1.9 miles

Elowah Falls Trailhead - John B. Yeon State Park

Upper McCord Creek Falls

Upper McCord Creek Falls

Round-Trip Length: 1.9 miles
Start-End Elevation: 92' - 558'
Elevation Change: +466' net elevation gain (+498' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Easy-Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Upper McCord Creek Falls - 1.9 Miles Round-Trip

Upper McCord Creek Falls is located .95 miles from the Elowah Falls - John B Yeon State Park Trailhead in the Columbia River Gorge. These twin segments plunge 64' along McCord Creek in a heavy forest.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

This short but vertigo-inducing hike runs across a rail-guarded catwalk blasted from a tall cliff just before reaching the falls, and may not be suitable for children or those fearful of heights.

The trail reaches a split for Nesmith Point just steps from the parking lot. Follow signs left for Elowah Falls and UMC Falls. It rolls on a leafy path to a second split for Elowah and UMCF (.35 miles : 290') - bear right. The trail narrows on singletrack and steepens on methodical switchbacks to a rail-guarded cliff (.75 miles : 540').

You'll have nice views of Elowah Falls, Pierce Island and Ives Island from this high, open point. Tread carefully across the catwalk, and avoid leaning on or over the rail - it doesn't guarantee safety. Once across, travel moderates to great views of Upper McCord Creek Falls (.95 miles : 558'), which split neatly over a vertical plunge.

The trail continues to the creek just above the falls, but is blocked by down trees and generally swallowed by the forest, thus restricting further travel. The falls had a third segment at one point according to Waterfallsnorthwest.com, but this flow was likely tamped by upstream debris.

Consider visiting Elowah Falls on the return, a family-friendly destination that adds only nominal climbing and .8 miles to the roundtrip distance cited here.

John B. Yeon came to the Northwest in the late 1880s and worked his way through the timber industry, eventually owning and operating several logging camps. He found additional success in real estate and in the construction of the Yeon Building, which at the time (1911) was Oregon's tallest office building.

His success and competency caught the attention of those promoting the construction of the Columbia River Highway, which was mired in mismanagement and cost overruns. Yeon was reluctantly lured to the project in 1914, and despite numerous setbacks to his personal fortunes, was successful in driving the highway construction forward. John B Yeon State Park was dedicated in 1935 in his honor.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N45 36.744 W122 00.278 — 0.0 miles : Elowah Falls Trailhead
  • N45 36.751 W121 59.925 — .35 miles : Elowah - Upper McCord Creek Falls split
  • N45 36.743 W121 59.844 — .75 miles : Begin rail-aided section on cliff
  • N45 36.689 W121 59.692 — .95 miles : Upper McCord Creek Falls

Worth Noting

  • The rail-aided cliff section may be unsuitable for children and those fearful of heights. While the rail is maintained, it can be unstable / unreliable at any point. Do not lean on or over the rail.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • There is no camping along the trail to Upper McCord Creek Falls.

Rules and Regulations

  • Dogs must be leashed at all times.
  • No fee or recreation pass is required to access the John B Yeon State Park Trailhead.

Directions to Trailhead

Directions to John B. Yeon State Park Traihead:

From Portland (points west):

Travel east on I-84 to Exit #35 / Ainsworth. Turn left at the stop sign, then immeidately right (east) onto Frontage Rd. Continue east on Frontage Rd for 2.1 miles to the parking lot and trailhead on the right.

From Cascade Locks and Hood River (points east):

Travel west on I-84 to Exit #37 / Warrendale. Head west on Warrendale Rd (the off-ramp) to a stop sign. Turn left and go under the highway. Turn left (east) onto Frontage Rd and drive approximately .25 miles to the parking lot and trailhead on the right.

Contact Information

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
902 Wasco Ave | Suite 200
Hood River, OR 97031

Hood River Ranger District
6780 Highway 35
Parkdale, OR 97041

Mt. Hood National Forest Headquarters
16400 Champion Way
Sandy, OR 97055

Hours: Monday – Friday, 7:30a – 4:30p (closed 11:30 – 12:30)

Trip Reports

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