Majesty. Spectacle. Awe. These are apt first impressions of the Columbia Gorge between Oregon and Washington, east of Portland. Within its forested mountains are dozens of dazzling waterfalls, including the 620-foot Multnomah Falls, about 40 minutes from downtown. It’s on a network of trails that lead to other examples of nature’s dynamism, including the multitiered Wahkeena Falls.

Beyond the gorge, head east to the perpetually snow-capped Mount Hood to see Tamanawas Falls and Ramona Falls. Head south to Silver Falls State Park for a 7-mile trail that includes 10 falls, some of which form curtains of water you can walk behind. Return to a Portland suburb to see Cedar Mill Falls. Read on to learn about 10 spectacular locations.

  • 1

    Multnomah Falls

    Visit Oregon’s tallest waterfall and most-visited national recreation area

    Multnomah Falls
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo

    Multnomah Falls is rightfully considered the epicenter of waterfalls in Oregon. At 620 feet, it’s the tallest in the state, and its dramatic plunge is visible from Interstate 84. Great photo opportunities start as soon as you arrive at the lodge, which has a gift shop, bathrooms, and a restaurant. A bridge that crosses in front of the falls is visible from the initial viewing area, and takes only a few minutes to reach. The trail continues to a small viewing area at the top.

    The 2.6-mile out-and-back trail is considered moderately challenging because of its steep incline. Multnomah Falls gets extremely crowded, and timed use permits are required from late May through early September.

    Location: 53000 Historic Columbia River Hwy, Bridal Veil, OR 97010, USA

    Phone: +1 503-695-2372

    Map
  • 2

    Latourell Falls

    See two gorgeous Columbia Gorge waterfalls on a two-mile loop

    Latourell Falls
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo

    Latourell Falls is a 224-foot, single-plunge waterfall located on a 2-mile loop that starts in Guy W. Talbot State Park. The hike is considered moderately challenging; the falls are audible from the parking lot and visible very soon on the trail. The plunge is bordered by green lichen on black basalt walls. Once you reach the base of the falls, you can cross a historic bridge and stand near the water and feel its spray.

    The trail passes into a second state park, the George W. Joseph Natural Area, where you’ll encounter Upper Latourell Falls, a 2-tiered drop that finishes with a plunge into a pool. The trail contains some rocky areas and passes through dense foliage.

    Location: Historic Columbia River Hwy, Corbett, OR 97019, USA

    Phone: +1 800-551-6949

    Map
  • 3

    Bridal Veil Falls

    This two-tiered waterfall has an upper and lower trail

    Bridal Veil Falls
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo

    Bridal Veil Falls is a 2-tiered waterfall named for its resemblance to the wedding-dress accessory. The state scenic viewpoint has 2 short trails that offer different viewpoints of the falls. A shorter 1/3-mile trail crosses Bridal Veil Creek and descends to a viewing platform at the base of the falls, which measures 120 feet tall. The trail is steep and has many switchbacks.

    The half-mile Overlook Trail offers spectacular views of the Columbia River, several mountains, and a rock formation known as the Pillars of Hercules. No passes or use permits are required here.

    Location: 46701 Historic Columbia River Hwy, Corbett, OR 97019, USA

    Phone: +1 503-695-2261

    Map
  • 4

    Wahkeena Falls

    Get spectacular views and connect to trails leading to other falls

    Wahkeena Falls
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo

    Wahkeena Falls is a 242-foot, multitiered waterfall located just west of Multnomah Falls. It’s located on a 5-mile loop that’s considered moderately challenging. If you’re ambitious, you can connect to other trails here, including one that leads to Multnomah Falls. The trail to Wahkeena Falls, good for birding, hiking, and rock-climbing, passes several other, smaller falls.

    You’ll cross Wahkeena Creek at the start of the trail and eventually reach a series of switchbacks and a stone bridge to a viewing area. Later, a steep, half-mile section of trail leads to another spot that includes views of the falls and several mountains in the Columbia Gorge. It’s known to get crowded in warm-weather months, but there is no use fee.

    Location: Wahkeena Trail #420, Corbett, OR 97019, USA

    Phone: +1 541-308-1700

    Map
  • 5

    Punch Bowl Falls

    Have a swim at the end of this hike with sheer cliffs and dramatic views

    Punch Bowl Falls
    • Couples
    • Photo

    Punch Bowl Falls is located at the end of a 1.9-mile trail along Eagle Creek. It’s a 33-foot plunge into a pool that many people use for a swimming hole. A 12-foot plunge called Lower Punch Bowl Falls makes a second pool nearby. Despite this cozy conclusion, the hike to and from the falls can be treacherous. The trail was blasted from sheer cliffs. It gets narrow, reaching 600-foot elevations with steep drop-offs, so it’s not recommended for young ones or dogs.

    Although sections of the 4.2-mile trail goes through forested areas damaged by the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire, some reviewers have described its scenery as comparable to that in the “Lord of the Rings” films.

    Location: NE Eagle Creek Loop, Cascade Locks, OR 97014, USA

    Phone: +1 541-308-1700

    Map
  • 6

    South Falls

    Walk behind a curtain of falling water

    South Falls
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo

    South Falls is the most accessible – and the most dramatic – waterfall on a 7.2-mile loop called the Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park. South Falls is the tallest, at 177 feet. Water drops from a ledge and forms a curtain. The 1.1-mile loop that descends 200 feet to the falls passes behind that curtain. Phenomenal views of South Falls are to be had from multiple angles all along the short trail. The longer trail, which has an elevation change of 800 feet, contains large rocks and tree roots, so bring good hiking shoes.

    Silver Falls State Park also offers a campground, camping cabins, restrooms, several food vendors, a swimming area, and a gift shop.

    Location: Silver Falls Hwy SE, Silverton, OR 97381, USA

    Phone: +1 800-551-6949

    Map
  • 7

    Tamanawas Falls

    Take a forested hike to a boulder field and dramatic falls

    Tamanawas Falls
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo

    Tamanawas Falls is a popular destination year-round on the east slope of Mount Hood, one of several perpetually snow-covered mountains in Oregon and Washington. The waterfall, which is 40 feet wide and stands 100 feet tall, is at the end of a 3.4-mile roundtrip trail along Cold Spring Creek. See cedars, Douglas fir, and Engelmann spruce trees along the way, and sit among boulders at the foot of the falls.

    You can visit the falls any time of year with the proper equipment. Bring good shoes for summer hikes, and in the winter, you might consider snowshoes.

    Location: OR-35, Mt Hood, OR 97041, USA

    Phone: +1 541-352-6002

    Map
  • 8

    Ramona Falls

    See a cascading display of water and natural light

    Ramona Falls
    • Couples
    • Photo

    Seeing Ramona Falls is like watching a light show. The 100-foot waterfall appears in a wooded area and spreads into a wide cascade over a rock face. The water bounces off the formations, creating a sort of glow that’s enhanced when sun rays pass through trees to form multiple spotlights. The 7-mile roundtrip trail is popular because of its gradual elevation gain, natural beauty, proximity to Mount Hood, and the remarkable waterfall itself.

    A footbridge that crossed the Sandy River about a mile into the trail was washed away in the 1990s and will not be replaced, so use caution when crossing the river. Consult the U.S. Forest Service page on the trail for a river-crossing guide.

    Location: Muddy Fork Rd, Rhododendron, OR 97049, USA

    Phone: +1 503-622-3191

    Map
  • 9

    Cedar Mill Falls

    Visit a waterfall in the suburbs formed by lava flow

    Cedar Mill Falls
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo

    Cedar Mill Falls is in a regional park just west of incorporated Portland that encompasses parts of Cedar Mill Creek. The waterfall is 32 feet high and, according to state geology experts, was formed by lava flow. The trailhead starts at the Cedar Mill Bible Church parking lot and passes by remnants of the mill that gives the neighborhood (and church) its name.

    Cedars and maples create a pleasant setting for the waterfall, which is visible from a boardwalk. The 5.1-mile trail extends through greenways and parks in the suburban setting.

    Location: 12208 NW Cornell Rd, Portland, OR 97229, USA

    Phone: +1 503-645-6433

    Map
  • 10

    Abiqua Falls

    Take an easy, wooded hike to a waterfall flanked by stone columns

    Abiqua Falls
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo

    Abiqua Falls can be challenging to reach, yet most hikers who’ve visited the unusual location say it’s more than worthwhile. The secluded 92-foot waterfall descends over basalt rock formed into multiple hexagonal columns, so it resembles a stone pipe organ. If you seek a less-traveled path with few people, this is the place to go.

    The trail is not well-marked (it’s private land, legally accessible), so you might want to download a map beforehand. You’ll need a high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle to reach the trailhead. Otherwise, there’s a parking lot at the base of the gravel road leading to it. From there, it’s about a 5-mile round trip. The short trail to the falls gets a bit steep, so be prepared.

    Location: Toll House Park, Cascade Locks, OR 97014, USA

    Phone: +1 541-308-1700

    Map