A photo of Multnomah Falls in Oregon. It's a long exposure, showing the lower falls, the bridge above it, and a portion of the lower part of the upper falls.

Expert Guide: Visiting the 17 best waterfalls in Oregon

I’m not sure who decided to give Oregon the most ridiculously beautiful waterfalls in America, but here we are! Of course, you could plan a weeks-long road trip and maybe not get to all of them.

Which, to be honest, is a bit wild! Even on a list of 17 of the best waterfalls in Oregon, I still feel I’m leaving some off (and indeed am).

But these genuinely have blown me away and, while popular, are still so worth visiting. So after reading about the best waterfall hikes in Oregon, add these to your Google Maps and start planning an adventure.

Additionally, the Columbia River Gorge waterfall hikes near Portland are perfect for a memorable day trip without breaking the bank or spending much time driving. That’s the best combination: Good views and not a lot of time driving.

We’ll dive inside the most famous waterfall in Oregon and some of the less visited gems throughout the state!

A Guide to the Best Waterfalls in Oregon

A hiker stands on a rock in rfont of Abiqua Falls. There are light rays at the top of the photo.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

What to know before you check out the best waterfalls in Oregon

You’re going to get wet

Crowds are crazy in the Columbia River Gorge

Best Waterfalls in Oregon: Hikes near Portland and Columbia River Gorge

Multnomah Falls

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Multnomah Falls is the most famous and easily one of the best waterfalls in Oregon for hiking enthusiasts. This iconic waterfall stands 620 feet tall and is the tallest waterfall in the state.

The hike to the top of the falls takes about 30 minutes and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. A Lord of the Rings-like bridge spans the falls and offers a unique perspective of Multnomah.

In addition, visitors can explore the surrounding area, which includes several hiking trails, picnic areas, and a visitor center. There’s a smaller parking lot on the Historic Columbia River Highway and a larger one just off the I-84. I’d recommend doing the larger parking lot.

Wahkeena Falls

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waterfall hikes near portland columbia river gorge hikes

Wahkeena Falls is another impressive waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge area. The hike to the falls is about 0.6 miles and takes visitors through cascades and pools, perfect for photography. The trail is steep in some areas, but the scenery is worth the effort.

Several picnic areas and benches along the way make it an excellent spot for a picnic lunch. With so many waterfall hikes near Portland to choose from, this one’s short but sweet and highly recommended.

Tamanawas Falls

Tamanawas Falls is located in Mt. Hood National Forest and is a 3.5-mile hike through an old-growth forest and along a glacier-fed stream. The trail is well-maintained and offers beautiful views of the forest and the surrounding mountains.

The waterfall drops 100 feet into a tranquil pool, and visitors can dip in the refreshing water on a hot summer day. This is one of the few waterfalls in this area, so stop by when near Mt. Hood.

Bridal Veil Falls

waterfall hikes near portland

Bridal Veil Falls is a 1.2-mile hike through the Columbia River Gorge’s lush forests. The waterfall plunges 118 feet into a tranquil pool, and the surrounding area is an excellent spot for a picnic lunch.

The trail is well-maintained and provides several scenic viewpoints of the waterfall and surrounding landscape. While this is a short trail, I still favor it as one of the best waterfalls in Oregon.

Horsetail Falls

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Right off the Historic Columbia River Hwy sits Horsetail Falls. This is a perfect waterfall for families with little kids and those just looking for a quick stop. The falls are roaring in the springtime, soaking those who venture down to the water’s edge.

Ponytail Falls

Ponytail Falls is a relatively easy hike that offers a unique view of the waterfall. The trail is about 1.5 miles long and takes visitors through a lush forest to a cascading waterfall that flows over a basalt cliff and falls into a small pool.

Visitors can walk through a unique tunnel behind the waterfall for a truly memorable experience. You start the hike from Horsetail Falls and wind up around it.

Fairy Falls

Fairy Falls is a small, cascading waterfall. Here there are leaves on the ground and the photo is a long exposure, showing a dreamy like view.
Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Fairy Falls is another must-see destination for hikers looking for the best waterfall hikes in Oregon, with a trail that leads to a small but beautiful waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge. The two-mile trail is steep with switchbacks but nothing overly difficult. You start at the Wakeena Falls trailhead and continue past Wakeena Falls.

It’ll get you huffing and puffing, but the trail up is beautiful! It’s undoubtedly one of the waterfall hikes near Portland you must do!

Latourell Falls

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Latourell Falls is another must-see waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge area. This waterfall is 249 feet tall and just a short hike from the parking lot. A picturesque bridge also offers panoramic views of the waterfall and surrounding landscape.

There are two ways to view Latourell Falls. You can go left up the steps for a higher viewpoint or to the right, which will take you to the bottom of the falls. Both are great and showcase one of the best waterfalls in Oregon.


Related: Learn more about exploring Lincoln City, Oregon


More of the Best Waterfalls in Oregon

Now, spreading out across the state, many of these are the remaining best waterfalls in Oregon. In addition, you’ll find these not-so-famous waterfalls in Oregon throughout the Central Cascades.

Silverfalls State Park

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best waterfall hikes in oregon silver falls state park

Silverfalls State Park is a nature lover’s paradise in Oregon, USA, featuring a breathtaking 7.2-mile hike with multiple waterfalls.

The Trail of Ten Falls loop takes hikers through lush greenery and old-growth forests and past several stunning waterfalls, including the namesake Silver Falls, which plunges 177 feet into a pool below.

While the Columbia River Gorge waterfalls get lots of recognition, I believe these are the best waterfalls in Oregon.

Downing Creek Falls

Found in the Umpqua National Forest in Oregon, Downing Creek Falls is a beautiful hidden gem that can be reached via a 4.4-mile roundtrip hike. The trail begins with a gentle climb through a lush forest and crosses a creek several times before reaching the 50-foot waterfall.

The trail also offers beautiful views of the surrounding forest and mountains. This moderate hike is excellent for nature lovers who enjoy exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Sahalie Falls

best waterfalls in oregon sahalie falls

Nestled in the Willamette National Forest in Oregon, USA, Sahalie Falls is a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts. This short and easy hike is just 0.8 miles round trip and offers stunning views of the 100-foot waterfall and the surrounding forest.

The trail also connects to the nearby Koosah Falls for those looking for a longer hike.

Toketee Falls

Another must-see waterfall in Oregon’s Umpqua National Forest is Toketee Falls. This moderate 0.8-mile hike takes hikers through a beautiful forest before reaching the stunning 120-foot waterfall.

Visitors can view the falls from a viewing platform or continue down a steep trail to the base of the falls for a closer look. You won’t be surprised why it’s one of the best waterfalls in Oregon.

Koosah Falls

Tucked away near Sahalie Falls in the Willamette National Forest, Koosah Falls is another popular destination for hikers. The 2.6-mile hike takes visitors through old-growth forests, past rushing rivers, and leads to the stunning 70-foot waterfall. The trail also offers several viewpoints of the surrounding mountains.

It’s definitely one of the best waterfalls in Oregon.

Proxy Falls

Proxy Falls is located in Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness area, a picturesque 1.6-mile hike through a beautiful forest. The trail leads hikers to the stunning 226-foot waterfall that cascades over the ancient lava flow.

Visitors can view the falls from several vantage points, including behind the waterfall.

Drift Creek Falls

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Drift Creek Falls, in the Siuslaw National Forest in Oregon, is a moderate 3-mile hike that leads visitors through a lush forest to a stunning 75-foot waterfall. The trail features a suspension bridge that crosses the creek and offers beautiful views of the forest below.

It’s also one of the few ones near the Oregon coast versus in the Central Cascades or Columbia River Gorge. I loved my time here and definitely rank it as one of the best waterfalls in Oregon.


Related: What to see in Bend, Oregon


Abiqua Falls

Photo Credit: Alec Sills-Trausch

Located in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, Abiqua Falls is a great 1-mile hike through steep terrain and a rocky creek bed. The trail leads hikers through a beautiful forest and ends at the stunning 92-foot waterfall.

Visitors are rewarded with a refreshing swim in the pool below the falls.

Tumalo Falls

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best waterfall hikes in oregon

Tumalo Falls is a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers in the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon. The 7.4-mile loop hike offers stunning views of the 97-foot waterfall and the surrounding mountains. The trail also provides several viewpoints of the nearby Middle and North Sisters mountains.

Packing suggestions for Oregon’s Waterfalls

If you’re going to do the waterfall hikes near Portland, expect a lot of rain! Here’s some gear you’ll need to adventure in potentially rainy Oregon.

If you’re looking for the best waterfall hikes in Oregon, you won’t be disappointed by the diverse range of options, from easy walks like Latourell Falls to more challenging trails like the Trail of Ten Falls.

Where to stay for the Columbia River Gorge waterfalls

Some Bed and Breakfasts are right near the waterfalls, but the best bet for lodging is in eastern Portland. Here, you’ll find more economical rates, and for only driving 30 minutes, it’s not a bad trade-off.

FAQ: Waterfalls in Oregon

What is the famous waterfall bridge in Oregon?

This is Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s the most famous waterfall in the state.

What waterfall in Oregon can you walk behind?

There are a few waterfalls you can hike behind on the Trail of Ten Falls at Silver Falls State Park. I highly recommend this trail to anyone!

What is the highest single-drop waterfall in Oregon?

This is also Multnomah Falls. It has the highest drop of any of the waterfalls in Oregon at 611 feet though older measurements have said 620.

Wrapping up – Best Waterfalls in Oregon

In closing, Oregon is home to some of the most magnificent waterfalls in the United States, each with its unique beauty and charm. From waterfall hikes near Portland, like the towering Multnomah Falls, to the secluded and serene Proxy Falls, there is no shortage of natural wonders to explore.

The best waterfalls in Oregon are not just about the destination but also about the journey, with stunning views of the surrounding landscape along the way.

Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a photographer, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life, the best waterfalls in Oregon are sure to leave you in awe.

So pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on an unforgettable journey to discover the beauty of the best waterfalls in Oregon.

Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.


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Author: Alec Sills-Trausch

Title: Founder of Explore with Alec

Expertise: Hiking, Backpacking, Photography, and Road Trips

Alec Sills-Trausch is a hiker, backpacker, landscape photographer, and syndicated travel writer. He enjoys showing off the beauty of the world through his photos, videos, and written work on ExploreWithAlec.com. Alec is also a 2x cancer survivor and bone marrow transplant recipient, showing the world that there is a future from this terrible disease.

He lives in Washington, where he gets to enjoy the stunning PNW mountains in addition to all the other places he attempts to visit each year! You can see more work on IG at @AlecOutside