If a road is washed out by a stream, the road is usually repaired because it's the most practical thing to do. Well, apparently in the early 20th century, practicality was not of great concern. The original Columbia River Highway was constructed paralleling close to Warren Creek's major waterfall, Warren Falls. During high water, the creek would often wash out the road, so, rather than repairing or just moving the road, in 1938 someone decided to move the waterfall. A tunnel was blasted through the adjacent cliff, through which the creek was diverted, and Hole-in-the-Wall Falls was born. If you look closely, you can see a wooden plank stuck into the cliff above the tunnel opening, signaling the human injunction. You can bushwhack along the old streambed for a couple hundred feet to the site where Warren Falls used to be situated. I examined the old falls closely on my most recent visit, and concluded that the falls never actually impacted the road itself, but rather the creek was directed such that the roadbed would frequently be damaged from flood water. Evidence also points to Warren Falls still being able to flow when the creek is running really high. It should be noted that the sign at the trailhead states that Warren Falls lies 1 mile from the trailhead. Unless this is another waterfall which I am unaware of, this is both an incorrect distance and naming.
- Hole-In-The-Wall Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Warren Falls
Warren Falls was the original waterfall along Warren Creek, both named for Warren Cooper, a former ranger for the Forest Service. Warren Falls, for all intents and purposes, ceased to exist in 1938 and Hole-in-the-Wall Falls was born and named for obvious reasons. Some sources still erroneously refer to this waterfall as Warren Falls or Warren Creek Falls.
The falls are accessed from Starvation Creek State Park, just off of Interstate 84, about halfway between Cascade Locks and Hood River. The parking area is only accessible to eastbound traffic (if you are driving west, exit and turn around at Exit 51 (Wyeth), then to return to your westbound direction, do the same at Viento State Park at Exit 56). From the parking lot, find the signed Mt. Defiance trail adjacent to the exit ramp. Follow the trail, which parallels the freeway, for about Â¾ of a mile to a nice bridge crossing Warren Creek just below the falls.