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20 WILDLY Beautiful Oregon Waterfalls (Worth the Hype!)

Explore the top 20 Oregon waterfalls, from the iconic Multnomah Falls to hidden gems. Perfect guide for travelers seeking Oregon's spectacular falls.

Tobi Miles
June 6, 2023
20 WILDLY Beautiful Oregon Waterfalls (Worth the Hype!)

Oregon is home to over 250 waterfalls. This is not surprising as Oregon is filled with streams and rivers that pour out of the mountains. The waterfalls in Oregon can be found throughout the state.

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and national forests are popular waterfalls to visit. Some of these waterfalls have massive drops. The tallest waterfall in the state is over 600 feet tall. Other waterfalls in Oregon are shorter, but wider. Still, some are narrow.

Many of Oregon's waterfalls are in recreational areas, where time use permits or passes are required to visit them certain times of the year. It's important you check ahead to see if reservations are required for the waterfall you wish to visit.

Some of Oregon's waterfalls are easy to access. They may be viewed from parking areas, or the road. Others require you hike into them. No matter what your fitness level Oregon has a waterfall you can observe.

This list dives into the top twenty waterfalls in Oregon. If you hope to see Oregon's waterfalls this list has the biggest and most beautiful ones to see.

1. Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Oregon. It is about 30 miles from Portland in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It is considered Oregon’s most visited site.

This 620-foot waterfall has two drops. It is fed by rain and snowmelt. It runs year-round. During the winter, the waterfall can partially freeze. Multnomah Falls is open year-round.

It is near Multnomah Falls Lodge, which was built in 1925. The lodge houses a tasty restaurant, giftshop, espresso bar and the USFS interpretive center.

The misty conditions surrounding can be a bit chilly. It's suggested that you have warm layers whenever you visit the falls. Shoes with traction are also recommended. The trails to the falls can be slick and steep in spots.

Due to the popularity of Multnomah Falls, timed-use permits are required from May 24th to September 5th, when visiting the falls. This permit can be reserved on recreation.gov.

The waterfall can be viewed by those with limited mobility on viewing platforms. There are shuttles and guided tours through the area for visitors of all ages and abilities. There are also bike routes that lead past the waterfall and allow you to explore the gorge more deeply.

Multnomah Falls gets its name from legends of the natives from the area. Legends tells of a maiden who sacrificed herself to save the tribe from plague by throwing herself over the cliffs where Multnomah Falls now lies.

Multnomah Falls is both fascinating and beautiful. If you are visiting Oregon this popular destination is worth taking the time to see.

2. Latourell Falls

Latourell Falls is actually two gorgeous waterfalls that are found along the Columbia River Gorge in Guy W. Talbot State Park. There is an upper waterfall and a lower waterfall. The Upper Falls are two-tiered and not as large as the lower falls.

Latourell Falls are easy to reach, but some hiking is required to get to them. The falls are on a 2.4 loop hike trail. The hike is easy enough for individuals of all ages to traverse.

The trails are open year-round, though it’s recommended you do not hike in this area during winter storms. The waterfalls are close to Portland, which makes it a popular place, especially on the weekend.

The lower falls drop over 200-feet in a single plunge. The basalt stone forms tall pillars in columns beneath the waterfall. The golden cobblestone lichen that surrounds the lower waterfall gives it a mystical appearance, due to the sharp contrasting colors.

This set of waterfalls is named after Joseph Latourell. He settled in the area in the 19th century. He served as the postmaster of Rooster Rock post office, as well.

The area that is now Guy W. Talbot State Park was once his homestead. There are remains of the home near the picnic area. The property was donated to the state in 1929 by Guy W. Talbot.

The lower waterfall is only in this park. The Upper Falls are actually in the neighboring state natural area, George W. Joseph State Natural Area.

Both parks are rich with basalt, salmonberries, thimbleberries, ferns, Douglas Fir, and nettles. If you are looking to see two very beautiful waterfalls rush along a creek in the lush forest, then Lautourell Falls is a wonderous place to visit.

3. Toketee Falls

Toketee Falls is a pretty waterfall found in Idleyld Park. It is one of the most famous waterfalls in Oregon and very popular. It sits in the North Umpqua River gorge, 58 miles east of Roseburg.

It can be accessed from the Toketee Falls Trail #1495 in the Umpqua National Forest. It is not very far from Crater Lake National Park.

The waterfall is family and dog friendly. There are even areas where you can walk your dog off leash on the approximately 1-mile trail to and from the falls.

The trail does have many stairs though, so if you have limited mobility then this may not be the best waterfall for you to hike to. Toketee Falls is two tiers the sections are 28 feet and 85 feet, making the waterfall 113 feet tall in total.

The waterflow here is consistent year-round. The Toketee Pipeline diverts water from the North Umpqua River to a powerhouse downstream, this causes the diversion.

The geological makeup of the earth in this area is primarily columnar basalt. Basalt cliffs surround the waterfall. The word Toketee means “pretty” and “graceful” in Chinook.

If you are vising the area and want to see a waterfall that is so pretty its name means just that, then you won’t want to miss Toketee Falls.

Related Read: 29 Top Treehouse Rentals in Oregon

4. Tumalo Falls

Tumalo Falls is a 97-foot waterfall on Tumalo Creek. This is located in the Deschutes National Forest, in the Cascade Range, west of Bend, Oregon.

A recreation pass is required to access the trailhead. This is $5 for day use. If you have an interagency pass, this provides you with access to the trailhead, too.

Tumalo Falls is found by hiking from the trailhead to the falls. In the winter, snowshoes are recommended. You follow Tumalo Creek Trail to Bridge Creek trail to reach the falls.

The trail is flat and very well maintained. In the summer months, you can mountain bike on the trails, too. The bug population thrives in the summer, so insect repellent is highly recommended.

Dogs are allowed on the trail. Fly fishing is also popular along Tumalo Creek, so if you like to fish there is plenty of opportunity for that when you visit the falls.

The waterfall is open most of the year. It has two seasons. May to October and December through February are the two open periods.

The trailhead has a great little parking lot. If your vehicle is longer than 27-feet, there unfortunately is not enough space to park.

5. Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil, Oregon is the home to Bridal Veil Falls. This pleasant waterfall is open for day use year-round, on the Columbia River Highway. The waterfall sits on the site of an old lumber mill.

There are two hikes that lead you to great viewpoints of the waterfall and the river. The hike to the falls is steep and descends steeply over 0.3 miles to the base of the waterfall.

From here you will enjoy a lovely view of the 120-foot two tier waterfall pouring over mossy basalt. On hike to falls you will cross Bridal Veil Creek. This was once dry because of diverted water to Bridal Veil Falls Lumbering Company.

The waterfall is not viewable from the highway. The bridge that crosses the waterfall does not have a shoulder and is on the popular Columbia River Highway.

The trail to the falls is engulfed in local wildflowers. Lupine, camas, bead lily, trillium, and bleeding heart cover the ground. There are several interpretive signs that will help you identify the plants.

Bridal Falls is a lovely waterfall that is easy to reach as you drive Oregon’s Columbia River Highway. It’s a pleasant place to spend a couple of hours or whole day.

6. Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls is a gorgeous waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge. It is a towering 176 feet tall and very easy to access. This makes it a popular destination for many visiting this serene area of Multnomah County.

The rounded rockface in which this waterfall pours over resembles a horsetail, hence the name Horsetail Falls. The trailhead to access this waterfall is Horsetail Falls Trail #438. In addition to having access to Horsetail Falls from the trail, you can also view Ponytail Falls from the trail.

During the busy summer months, a Timed Use Permit is required to visit this area of Oregon. The falls are open year-round, if you want to avoid the crowds, go see this waterfall in late fall or during the winter.

There is a fabulous spot to have a picnic east of Horsetail falls. The parking area is very accessible and easy to get to from Cascade Locks and Troutdale.

Unfortunately, this trail is not bike friendly. Additionally, campfires are not allowed within 200 feet of the trail. There are also many steep drop offs along the trail. The trail is not recommended for families with small children, because of this.

If you are looking to further explore this area, it is recommended you do a loop hike. This can be accomplished by getting onto Oneonta Trail #434 when then meet. This trek is about 2.5 miles long.

There are also numerous backpacking opportunities in the area, for those looking for multi-day adventure opportunities.

7. Watson Falls

Credit: LiefPhotos / Flickr

Watson Falls is a 293-foot waterfall on Watson Creek. Watson Creek is a tributary of Clearwater River. The waterfall is found in the picturesque Umpqua National Forest.

The waterfall is very easy to reach. There is lots of parking at the Watson Falls Trailhead, which provides access to Watson Falls trail #1496. From the trailhead it is a 0.4-mile hike to this beautiful waterfall, that is known as the highest in southwest Oregon.

The parking area is a near a pleasant picnic area. The picnic tables are sheltered by the lush tree, away from the actual road and pavement.

This area also has many informative signs that provide you with excellent information on the geology that makes up Watson Falls and its surroundings.

There are toilets and dumpsters here, but no drinking water. Make sure you bring your own water if you are hiking here.

This waterfall is near Roseburg. It’s open year-round. Unlike other trailhead, the trailhead for Watson Falls has room for large trucks and vehicles traveling with a trailer.

Related Read: 15 Camping Spots On The Oregon Coast

8. Wahkeena Falls

Wahkeena Falls is a 242-foot waterfall west of Multnomah Falls. It is located off of the Columbia River Highway, near Troutdale. The word Wahkeena means “beautiful” in Yakama. This is fitting, as the waterfall is just that!

Wahkeena Falls is easy to access from the parking area. This parking area is open year-round, unless it is closed due to landslides. There is an overlook at the trailhead for Overlook from Wahkeena Trail #420 that gives you a view of the falls from afar.

You can also get a closer look at the falls on a short out and back parking lot. If you want a longer hike you can connect to other trails in the area, to make a loop.

This loop is about 5 miles and can take three hours. It’s a great way to see Wahkeena Falls and get out in nature, if you want an activity that will take up your whole day.

There is a great picnic area and shelter at the trailhead. This is an area that is first come, first serve. If you want to host an event here with more than 75 people, a special use permit is required.

This is a very popular place, especially in the summer. A Timed Use Permit is needed during the summer months, because of this.

9. Punch Bowl Falls

Punch Bowl Falls is a majestic waterfall on Eagle Creek, in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The waterfall is not the tallest in the area, at 35 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

Punch Bowl Falls is home to a fun swimming hole. It’s quite refreshing to take a dip here in the warm summer months. There are some cliff diving opportunities over the falls, into the pool below. Use caution if you decide to cliff jump here.

The hike to and from the falls is 3.4 miles total. It takes most people at least two hours to hike and enjoy the falls on this trail. Dogs are allowed to tag along with you here, but they must be leashed.

The area is a wonderful area for salmon to thrive. Both Coho and Chinook Salmon spawn here. Unfortunately, the hiking trail is not the easiest to traverse.

In some areas there are chains bolted into cliff walls to help hikers maneuver the terrain. Treaded shoes are highly recommended here.

Metlako Falls is on the same trail as Punch Bowl Falls, so if you decide to make this trek you won’t be disappointed.

10. Shellburg Falls

Credit: Joshua Little / Flickr

Shellburg Falls is 2.5 miles from Lyons. It is in Satiam State Forest, near Lower Shellburg. This waterfall is a plunge waterfall. It’s a beautiful 100 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

Much of area burnt surrounding Shellburg Falls in the 2020 Beachie Creek Fire. This caused the recreation area to close. It is still closed and will be until logging and rehabilitation of the trails and facilities can take place.

Trees once engulfed the forest here. The area now thrives with ferns as part of the forest's regrowth. If you plan to visit this waterfall, you will want to see if it is open yet. It’s slated to reopen sometime in 2022.

Related Read: 13 Best Beaches In Oregon For Families

11. Fairy Falls

Fairy Falls is a lovely 20-foot waterfall on the Wahkeena Trail #420. This is located near Corbett, Oregon and reachable by hiking 3.4 miles. The waterfall is narrow at the top and fans out the waterfall makes its way to the pool below.

Fairy Falls is near Wahkeena Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. This area is very busy. The trail to the waterfall is open year-round. During the summer, a Timed Use permit is required. This can be reserved online and helps manage the crowd, at this popular waterfall.

12. Metlako Falls

Metlako Falls is a 101-foot waterfall on Eagle Creek. This gorgeous punchbowl shaped waterfall is in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in Hood River County. It is near Punchbowl Falls.

This waterfall is the lowest major waterfall on Eagle Creek. It is also the tallest on the creek. In recent years, the trails to access the waterfall have been closed due to fires and winter storm damage. The trails are slotted to open in 2022, again.

Metlako Falls is named after the Native American goddess of salmon. The area where the falls are makes for a fantastic salmon habitat. Pollinators also love the surrounding area. The wildfires created an increase in wildflower growth in recent years.

If you are in the Columbia River Gorge Region and looking for a beautiful waterfall to visit near Cascade Locks, Metlako Falls is a great option. Many other falls are accessible nearby, and you may easily spend a full day enjoying the scenery here.

13. Triple Falls

Triple Falls is in the Oneonta Gorge. It is in an area that burned in the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire. It is part of the Columbia River Gorge National Recreation Area. The trail to the waterfall is open year-round.

It is a steep trail that is prone to slides. The out and back trail to access the waterfall is 3.6 miles round trip. This is a very popular hiking area. Triple Falls is a beautiful waterfall.

The hike is family friendly, but with 1142 feet of elevation gain total on the hike, younger children may struggle with this trek. Be aware of drop offs on the side of the trail if you are traveling with kids, as well.

If you are looking to go on a longer hike, you can do a loop hike and visit Horsetail Falls. This hike is 5.4 miles. It’s great for those that want to hike to see a waterfall and not just view one from the roadside or a parking lot.

14. Youngs River Falls

Youngs River Falls is a 54-foot-tall waterfall on the beautiful Youngs River. The waterfall is 10 miles south of Asotria, Washington. The waterfall is a popular place to swim. The hike to the falls is short. It’s only 0.3 out and back.

Youngs River Falls was first discovered over 200 years ago. It was discovered by Lieutenant William Broughton of Vancouver Expedition in 1792. Fourteen years later Sergeant Patrick Gass of the Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery visited the waterfall.

If you do not want to have a long hike to a waterfall or if you have limited mobility this is a great waterfall to visit. In addition to the short hike to the falls, it is also viewable from the parking lot.

15. Dillon Falls

Dillon Falls is a waterfall on the Deschutes River. This is near Bend in the Deschutes National Forest. The waterfall is just over 15 feet tall. This waterfall is classified as a rafting obstacle.

It is a class 5 rafting obstacle. This means you should be very experienced before trying to maneuver over the falls in a raft. It is not a beginner rafting obstacle. The rapids here drop 65 feet in a third of a mile.

Dillon Falls has a great day use area. This a nice spot to have a picnic. There is also a boat ramp here. Dogs are allowed at Dillon Falls. They must be leashed.

Mountain biking is allowed on this lovely trails too. Share the trail if you are hiking. A recreation pass is needed to use the area of Dillion Falls. This must be purchased ahead of time from the national forest office. Interagency passes can be used as well here.

Mosquitos are common in the area. You will want to bring bug spray with you on your hike to the falls. Dillon Falls is a very popular place. On weekends and in the summer, it can be especially busy.

Related Read: 25 Best Waterfalls in Washington State

16. Willamette Falls

Between Oregon City and West Linn on Willamette River, is Willamette Falls. This waterfall is forty feet tall. It’s the largest by volume in the Northwest and the 17th widest in the United States. It’s 1500 feet wide.

This waterfall is a single drop, making it quite a spectacular sight to see. It’s easiest to view this waterfall from I-205 or Highway 99E. Willamette Falls is also home to longest operating multi-lift lock and canal system in US.

The Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation has a museum in the former lockmaster’s office. This is a great place to view boats going through the locks. The museum is free.

During the summer months, tours are offered by boat to view the falls from the base. The Belle of the Falls tours are pleasant, but pricey.

Overall if you are in the Oregon City area, you won’t want to miss this horseshoe shaped block waterfall with a basalt shelf in river bottom. It’s a beautiful place with plenty of history.

17. Wahclella Falls

Wahclella Falls is on Tanner Creek, a tributary to Columbia River. The waterfall is near Cascade Locks. It was closed after the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire but reopened in 2019.

The waterfall is an outstanding 350 feet tall. It is a tiered waterfall. A short 2.4-mile hike is required to reach the waterfall. This hike is not stroller friendly or ADA accessible. It is an out and back hike.

There are many drop offs along the trails. A child carrier is recommended if you are hiking with you kids to Wahclella Falls. Carrier recommended for kids, lots of drop offs that may be difficult for small children.

The cost to access the trails and park at Wahclella Falls is $5 per day. The fee is well worth spending to visit this gorgeous waterfall. Douglas firs are populous in the area.

There is a fish ladder you can view on the hike to the falls that’s managed by Bonneville Fish Hatchery too. On the hike to Wahclella Falls you will also see Munra Falls. This waterfall is not as big as Wahclella Falls.

Once you reach the waterfall. You will be mesmerized by the cedar-shaded amphitheater it cuts through. Basalt rock formations dominate the area. This is a wonderful waterfall to visit if you want to take a hike and explore a forest in recovery from wildfire.

18. Hole-in-the-Wall Falls

Credit: Jason Taylor / Flickr

Hole-in-the-Wall Falls is near Cascade Locks. It is a very accessible waterfall that is easy to hike to from. It is a manmade waterfall.

In 1938, Warren Falls was threatening to wipe out part of the Columbia River Highway, so a tunnel was blasted in cliff and the creek was diverted. This created the falls that stand about 96 feet tall.

The hike to and from the falls is just 1.2 miles round-trip. It is easy for most kids to hike. This trail is awesome because it’s open to bikes too and paved. This makes it easier for those with limited mobility to tackle too.

You do not need a pass to use the trailhead for Hole-in-the Wall Falls. The trailhead for this hike, is a great place to enjoy a picnic and observe the waterfalls from afar too. There is an overlook here to view them.

If you want to a longer hike or want to see a second waterfall on your hike, you can continue down the trail past Hole-in-the Wall Falls to Lancaster Falls.

19. South Falls

South Falls is a beautiful waterfall in Silver Falls State Park. It is east of Sale, Oregon. The waterfall is located where Mount Hood National Forest meets Middle Santiam Wilderness Area.

The hike to South Falls is about 1 mile. It is an overall easy hike. It’s a popular area, and a permit is required for day use. There are also camping opportunities at Silver Falls State Park.

This is the tallest waterfall in Silver Falls State Park. It is 177 feet tall. Basalt formations makeup the area the water pours over at South Falls.

South Falls is part of a longer hike for those looking for a longer hike with many waterfalls on it. The 7.9-mile hike passes ten waterfalls in the state park. Its recommended you start the hike from South Falls Day Use Area

South Falls is a great place to visit whether you have two hours or two days to spend at Silver Falls State Park.

20. Celilo Falls

Credit: OSU Commons / Flickr

Celilo means “echo of falling water” in Wyam, a native language. Celilo Falls is a waterfall that is now completely covered and underwater, due to the construction of The Dalles Dam.

The waterfalls are 20 feet tall, but are completely submerged underwater. Recent surveys show they are still intact, just underwater. The waterfall sits in historic tribal fishing grounds along the Columbia River.

The oldest continuously inhabited community of Native Americans in North America sat near the waterfall until 1957, when The Dalles Dam flooded the area.

The government provided Native Americans here with a 26.8 million settlement when they wiped out the Native fishing grounds here. If you are interested in history and Native American culture and the impact man has had on landscapes, this waterfall that once was is a great site to take the time to check out.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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