March 08, 2023 5 min read
Oregon is a magical place for chasing waterfalls. There are countless trails where you can spot beautiful cascades, with the tallest one reaching 620 feet. Pretty impressive, right? This article will highlight the 10 of the best waterfall hikes in Oregon to marvel over on your next adventure.
The Trail of Ten Falls is a spectacular hike just south of Portland with 10 waterfalls, as the name hints. This trail is perfect for those who enjoy a long, relatively easy, flat hike. Along the loop, you will see waterfalls ranging from 25 to 180 feet, and you’ll spot some from above and others from below.
The loop starts at the South Falls Lodge Trailhead and can be done in either direction. There are also some options to shorten the hike if you’d like. Unfortunately though, you can’t bring any furry friends on this trail.
Location: Silver Falls State Park
Length: 9 miles (out and back)
Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s tallest waterfall at 620 feet in length. This cascade is by far the most popular one to visit, and a couple trails lead to it. Choose between a 2.2-mile loop trail (700 feet elevation gain) that takes you to the top of the waterfall or a 5.4-mile loop (1,600 feet elevation gain) that also goes to Wahkeena Falls.
The trails are open year-round and start from the parking area. This entire region is filled with waterfall hikes to explore!
Location: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Length: 2.2 or 5.4 miles (loop)
Photo by Ketan Morris on Unsplash
This two-layer waterfall is another popular sight to see if you’re in the Umpqua National Forest area. It’s a short and easy hike, and the breathtaking views of the waterfall are worth it. The waterfall is 113 feet high in total, with the upper section 28 feet tall and the lower one 85 feet. The waterfall plunges into a large pool at the bottom.
There’s a short hike from the parking lot, or a longer 1.4-mile option that’ll take you to the base. Also, dogs are allowed on this hike.
Location: Umpqua National Forest, Douglas County
Length: 1.4 miles (out and back)
The Tamolitch Falls Blue Pool is accessible via the McKenzie River Trail, and the waterfall is at its peak in spring. Nevertheless, this Blue Pool is popular to visit all year round because of its stunningly clear pool of water.
There are a couple of different routes varying in length. Starting from the Carmen Smith Reservoir, there’s a 3.3-mile hike; from the Trailbridge Reservoir, it’s 2.1 miles. Even though the hikes are shorter, the terrain can be rocky and rough in many areas, so the trails can be moderately challenging. Dogs are allowed on this trail but must be on a leash.
Location: McKenzie Bridge
Length: 3.3 or 2.1 miles (out and back)
Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash
Latourell Falls is a relaxing place to enjoy the beautiful waterfall and its surrounding scenery. It’s only a short drive from Portland, and you can access it through Guy W. Talbot State Park, also known as Latourell State Park. The two-tiered waterfall exceeds 200 feet in height, and is an amazing viewpoint. We recommend visiting it from May through October.
The hike starts from the Latourell Falls Trailhead off of the Historic Columbia River Highway. The 2-mile trail is popular for running and hiking, passing over some rocky areas, through dense greenery, and over some small wooden bridges.
Location: Guy W. Talbot State Park (Columbia River Gorge area)
Length: 2 miles (loop)
Wahclella Falls is a must for those seeking an easier route along the Columbia River Gorge. The trail is open year-round and is perfect for visiting during any season.
The trail begins at the Wahclella Falls Trailhead and passes over a wooden bridge in front of roaring Munra Falls- you may even get splashed a bit! Dogs are welcome but must be leashed. A $5 vehicle day pass is required.
Location: Cascade Locks (Columbia River Gorge area)
Length: 2.4 miles (out and back)
The hike to Tunnel Falls is a long, scenic route that will leave you feeling accomplished. You’ll encounter several other waterfalls along the 12-mile trail (6 miles out, 6 miles back) to the 170-foot Tunnel Falls.
As the name hints, the path will take you through a tunnel behind the falls that leads to a wall of yellow arnica. This hike is not recommended for dogs or children.
Location: Eagle Creek Trailhead (Columbia River Gorge area)
Length: 12 miles (out and back)
Photo by Josh Ludahl on Unsplash
Tumalo Falls is worth visiting if you’re in central Oregon’s Bend area. The Tumalo Creek Trail is out and back and extends through a beautiful forest full of views of nearby mountains and rivers. The route is well-explored by hikers and mountain bikers.
This hike is suitable for dogs, which are allowed off-leash in some areas. There are also day-use and picnic areas along the trail to stop and re-charge. You must purchase a $5 Northwest Forest Pass to park and visit the site.
Location: Deschutes National Forest, Bend
Length: 7 miles (out and back)
This hike is the shortest on the list. The trail (out and back) is less than a mile long. Nevertheless, the scenery surrounding the waterfall is gorgeous. The 90-foot, two-tiered waterfall plunges into dark basalt shelves.
The best time to visit this stunning waterfall is during the spring. Additionally, there are many other open trails surrounding the waterfall if you want to extend your hike.
Location: White River Falls State Park, The Dalles
Length: 0.7 miles (out and back)
The trail leading to Abiqua Falls is rough and slippery; however, it’s worth the visit. The 100-foot waterfall juts out into a pool of water with a moss-covered, rugged backdrop. Start on the Abiqua Falls trailhead and stay on the path until you reach the cascade.
This area is scenic and photogenic, although its challenging location means only a few visitors come and go. Also, due to the trail’s difficulty, it’s not suitable for dogs or children.
Location: Silver Falls State Park, Scott Mills
Length: 0.8 miles (out and back)
That concludes our list of the 10 best Oregon waterfall hikes! Check out the rest of our blog for more places to go hiking, car camping, and adventuring in the beautiful outdoors.
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