Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
200.00 ft (60.96 m)
Trail type
0.40 mi (0.64 km)
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Panther Creek Falls is known as one of the most impressive waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge and certainly worth a stop if you're nearby. From the parking area, it is a quick, easy walk down to the newly constructed viewing platform. From there you'll get a stunning view of two steams merging together to form a beautiful wall of cascading water. The falls on the right that flow from the clearly visible upper stream are about 69 feet, and the other falls that feed from the cliff on the left are about 102 feet.  In total, the falls drop about 136 feet, which includes a few smaller steps.

If you take the rough path down to see the falls from the lower section, you can also make your way downstream to see the three tiers of these falls. The best access to the lower falls is from a trail about 200 feet from the main trail that leaves from the road. This trail is actually more of a scramble and mudslides are common in the rainy season. Please take caution if you decide to venture down to the lower falls. If you walk back down the road to the beginning of the bend near the parking area, a path over the small hill on the right will lead to the lower falls. The path to the bottom can be a bit slick and steep in places, though a few ropes have been put in place for assistance. The size of the falls is awe-inspiring from this perspective, and the viewpoint is close enough to feel the soft moss under your feet and the mist on your face. It is really worth the hike as long as you are comfortable with a little scrambling. 


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass


Easy to access.


Not well marked from the road. Only one main viewpoint trail. Rough trails access other views.

Trailhead Elevation

1,679.00 ft (511.76 m)


Old-growth forest

Typically multi-day



Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


More of a stop for a viewpoint than a hike but definitely worth the stop. The falls were fantastic!
Just outside of Carson, follow the sign on from main road to Panther Creek. Once on the side road follow the signs for Trout Lake. You'll come to a part in the road where FALLS is spray painted on the asphalt , park at the gravel pit on the right and walk back the way you came to the falls trail. This trail takes you to the platform. For the more adventurous, keep walking along the road past the "official" trail to find a trail off to the right. This trail is steep at first with rope holds to help you down the first half of the trail. From there pick your way down using rocks as foot holds, and roots and trees to steady your descent. Not a long hike but takes a bit of time being careful on your descent. Your reward, Panther Creek falls at eye level, amazing!! We did it with two dogs, a bit anxiety inducing but they did fine (mom was the worried one :) )
As of the end of January, the trailhead is still accessible by low-clearance car. It starts to get questionable right near the end, so any significant snowstorm could end access for non-4x4 vehicles.
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