19 Best Waterfalls in Oregon to Enjoy Nature Relief

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waterfalls in Oregon
Eric Muhr

Did you know that Oregon waterfalls are more than in any other state in the United States? The Columbia River Gorge in Northern Oregon alone has over 90 waterfalls, earning it a spot on Oregon’s 7 Wonders!

This guide will teach you how to find and hike to the best waterfalls in Oregon, as well as professional photography tips.

Those planning an Oregon waterfall road trip should read through our guide and itinerary to the Waterfalls in Oregon’s southern, northern and central regions.

Waterfalls in Oregon Southern Region

This travel guide includes photos and information on the best road trip route to photograph Southern Oregon waterfalls.

waterfalls in oregon
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1. Multnomah Falls

The cherry on top is a bridge that separates the falls, providing a lovely subject for our gaze.

The only drawbacks to visiting the falls are the frequent crowds and limited freedom of movement. It is difficult to achieve a unique composition due to the restrictions.

Nonetheless, putting this magnificent feature anywhere else on the list of Oregon’s best waterfalls would be an outrage. And is ranked among the 7 wonders of Oregon.

Multnomah Falls is one of the well-known waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge and one of Oregon’s most recognizable natural attractions. This magnificent waterfall plunges for more than 600 feet, leaving a lasting impression on the ground below and anyone who visits.
The accessible Benson Bridge, separated by two drops, allows visitors to appreciate Multnomah Falls from above and below.

2. Watson Falls

At nearly 300 feet, Watson Falls is the tallest waterfall in Southern Oregon. Surprisingly, this is still less than half the size of the state’s largest!

This massive drop does make photographing Watson Falls difficult. The ability to frame your photos with the creek that spills into view as your foreground makes for a stronger composition.

The flow of Watson Falls and Watson Creek can vary significantly depending on the season. It is best photographed in the spring when the greens bloom and the creek is filled with seasonal rain and snowmelt.

The falls are only about a half-mile hike from the parking area. The parking area and trailhead have shaded picnic tables and restrooms, making them ideal for a picnic lunch. The nearby Toketee Falls is an equally impressive sight for an easy add-on adventure to the day.

3. Lower South Falls

The quickest route to Lower South Falls is to start at the South Falls Day Use Area. Take the Ten Falls Trail to South Falls and walk for 0.9 miles to reach Lower South Falls.

From here, you can either continue to many of the best Oregon waterfalls or turn around.
This incredible cascade is just one of the stunning waterfalls along Silver Falls State Park’s Trail of Ten Falls. It may, however, be the most beautiful of the bunch.

If possible, plan your visit to coincide with the spectacular autumn foliage. The peak season varies from year to year, but it is usually near the end of October.

waterfalls in oregon
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4. South Falls

Parking in the South Falls Day Use Area and walking the short, 0.2-mile ADA-accessible path to the upper viewpoint is the quickest way to get to South Falls.
You can continue hiking the Trail of Ten Falls from here or do a loop down and around South Falls to see it from the front.

The thing about “Silver Falls” is that it is a State Park with TEN waterfalls along approximately 8 miles of trail. The waterfalls along the aptly named Trail of Ten Falls are all spectacular. South Falls, on the other hand, is a crowd favorite.

A number of the waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park could be included on this list. South Falls, on the other hand, is widely regarded as the most photogenic. Unfortunately, the number of visitors to this park cansometimes makes photography difficult. Arrive early to avoid crowds and to get the best light at silver falls!

A large day-use area surrounds South Falls, and the mesmerizing movement of water is just the beginning of an epic display of stunning waterfalls. The aptly named Trail of Ten Falls is a 7.2-mile National Scenic Trail that begins at South Falls and covers nearly all of the significant waterfalls within Silver Falls State Park.

8. Ramona Falls

Ramona Falls is located in Northern Oregon and is accessible via a 7-8 mile roundtrip hike. The journey, on the other hand, is worthwhile. This cobbled waterfall is one of the most distinctive in Oregon, if not the Pacific Northwest.

The waters of Ramona Falls bump gently down the staircase of protruding rock on their way to a small pool below rather than pouring over in a large flow.

Landscape photographers will revel in the opportunities for unique compositions that highlight the waterfall’s complexities and distinct features.

9. Punch Bowl Falls

Punch Bowl Falls, another famous waterfall in Oregon, can be reached via the Eagle Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge.

Punch Bowl Falls, named after the massive pool formed by the rushing water from above, is not only a beautiful sight but also a popular swimming hole during the summer. Punch Bowl Falls attracts numerous locals, tourists, and families, especially on weekends.

Punch Bowl Falls is just one of many attractions and water features on the Eagle Creek Trail. Long-distance hikers can continue on the Eagle Creek Trail to reach Tunnel Falls, an impressive feat of trail engineering. This steep canyon pathway is always popular and easily earns its place as one of Portland’s top day trips.

waterfalls in oregon
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10. Tamanawas Falls Hike

The trail to Tamanawas Falls is a pleasure in and of itself, following the tumbling waters of Cold Spring Creek for more than 1.5 miles. The trail along Cold Spring Creek traverses a lush, forested environment on Mount Hood’s east side, passing several large and larger drops that foreshadow what’s to come.

When you arrive at Tamanawas Falls, it’s difficult not to tilt your head back in awe as you take in the plunging water gracefully leaving the 150-foot lava cliff above.

The numerous vantage points and sitting areas surrounding Tamanawas Falls can keep you entertained for hours, and the never-ending mist from the falls helps keep the area cool in the summer.

11. Munson Creek Falls

Munson Creek Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in Oregon’s and is easily accessible from the Oregon Coast Highway. The Oregon waterfall area offers a variety of hiking opportunities for the whole family.

A half-mile Lower Falls Trail leads to the base of the tiered waterfall, which drops more than 300 feet. The Lower Falls route gains less than 100 feet in elevation and is suitable for hikers of all abilities. The Upper Trail, which is more difficult, offers different perspectives and dense coastal forest surroundings.

Massive western red cedars and Sitka spruces line the trail and define much of the landscape, adding to the grandeur of the falls. Munson Creek Falls is also great to take a break while driving down the 101.

12. White River Falls

White River Falls is a must visit waterfalls in Oregon and is located thirty miles south of The Dalles and the Columbia River, in an otherwise dry and remote landscape, and plunges for more than 90 feet into a stunning pool of icy cold water.

As a result, during the hot summer months in this part of the state, White River Falls is a popular place to cool off. It’s also a popular hike during the shoulder season when the weather cools down.

The falls are visible from a viewing platform near the parking lot. A half-mile round-trip hike provides a much closer look. The path is a little steep and contours towards a century-old hydroelectric plant that once used the rushing water.

The additional side trail leading down to the pool of water where you can soak your feet is a real draw of this tucked-away waterfall.

waterfalls in oregon
Photo by Cole Keister/Unsplash. Copyright 2022

13. Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls is a family-friendly waterfall on the Historic Columbia River Highway near Multnomah and Latourell Falls. Visitors can take two trails beginning at the ample parking area to gain some unique perspectives of the area.

Along the Upper Trail, interpretive information is available alongside panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge. The Lower Trail leads to Bridal Veil Falls, a double cascading waterfall that resembles its namesake when water levels are high. The total distance traveled by both trails is less than two miles.

At the base of the falls, there is a small viewing platform as well as a large rock feature that is a popular photo location.

14. Hug Point Falls

Waterfalls in Oregon are always more appealing in lush settings, and the small waterfall at Hug Point on the Oregon coast is no exception.

The breathtaking ocean environment that surrounds this seasonal waterfall is a small slice of heaven and one of the best beaches on the Oregon coast. Access to the beach is via a nearby parking lot or a beach walk at low tide.

The falls are located five miles south of the popular Cannon Beach and are ideal for exploring with the entire family. Other activities at Hug Point include sea caves, tide pools, and the never-ending pounding of the Pacific Ocean on the shore.

15. Latourell Falls

Latourell Falls, accessible via the Historic Columbia River Highway, is one of the first major waterfalls in Oregon along the Columbia River Gorge coming from Portland. This breathtaking Latourell falls trailhead drops more than 200 feet to form a long ribbon of rushing water and mist.

Expect to share the view with other hikers, especially during the summer, which is also a good time to cool off with the icy cold spray and pool at the base of the falls.

A good strategy is to end your exploration of Latourell Falls at Guy W. Talbot State Park, where a large day-use area is ideal for a picnic and a break from the crowds.

waterfalls in oregon
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16. Abiqua Falls

The Oregon waterfall hike to Abiqua Falls is brief, but the reward is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Oregon. The trail itself may be difficult to find and is not well marked.

Return down the dirt road from the parking lot until you reach the forest. Follow the dirt path down to the creek, using the strategically placed rope to help you upstream until you reach the falls.

Prepare to clamber over a few logs and boulders as you get closer to the tumbling water, but you’ll soon come across the 92-foot-tall Abiqua falls that freefall into the pool below. The road down to the trailhead is rough, rocky, and steep, so make sure you have a car capable of handling it or park earlier and walk.

17. Upper Proxy Falls

Upper Proxy Falls is a peaceful and serene location and counted among the best waterfalls in Oregon. The falls here aren’t as large as the lower falls, but they flow into a pool that reflects the scenery, making for a beautiful photo opportunity.

Upper Proxy Falls require a little scrambling to get the best view, but nothing compares to lower proxy falls.

18. Horsetail and Ponytail Falls

Horsetail and Ponytail Falls, “located in the Columbia River Gorge, can be seen on this Oregon waterfall hike. Horsetail, at 176 feet, and Ponytail, at 125 feet, are both glistening streams of water down the rock.

The trail starts at Horsetail Falls and immediately starts climbing up a series of switchbacks. It’s not long before you reach the smaller Ponytail Falls, with the trail leading directly behind it into the cavernous area eroded beneath a lava flow.

The trail then remains level for a while before beginning to descend, all the while providing breathtaking views of Oneonta Creek and Oneonta Gorge. You’ll also see some other falls along the way, including Middle and Lower Oneonta Falls.

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19. Upper Downing Creek Falls

upper downing creek falls is the second of at least three significant waterfalls known to exist along the spring-fed Downing Creek’s length.

The falls drop 32 feet over a distinct cube-shaped basalt outcrop, pouring in three to four side-by-side channels depending on how much extra snow melt water is present, with up to a dozen small streams of water dribbling out of the adjacent cliff and falling parallel to the falls in tandem.

The creek is large enough to produce a consistent cloud of mist at the base of the falls, which helps ensure the forest and cliffs all around the falls are liberally covered head to toe in a thick blanket of moss.

Oregon Waterfall Hikes

Here are some best waterfalls in Oregon hikes to enjoy with your friends.

1. Tumalo Falls

Tumalo Falls is visible from the parking area and does not require any hiking. The Tumalo Falls trail, on the other hand, is a 6.50 mile out and back path that starts at Tumalo Falls and passes by many other photogenic waterfalls in Oregon.

The majority of the state’s most beautiful features can be found in Central Oregon. Central Oregon has it all: mountains, caves, desert, you name it!

Tumalo Falls is the region’s most famous and spectacular waterfall. A raging torrent of water splits an open rock face before racing downstream through the pines. Aside from the featured Tumalo Falls cascade, a trail follows the river and loops back around a small creek. This trail is dotted with double-digit smaller waterfalls.

The Tumalo Creek Trail, which leads users through the small canyon and up to the top of the falls for a different perspective, is recommended from here. Tumalo Falls are popular all year, but the best times to visit are mid-week and early in the morning.

2. Sweet Creek Falls Creek

Sweet Creek Falls, is among the must-visit waterfalls in Oregon which cascades 70 feet over four distinct tiers, is an impressive fall located along Sweet Creek Trail.

The trail is divided into four distinct segments, each with its trailhead and parking lot. Start at the Homestead Trail for the full hike.

The trail is short and easy, making it ideal for beginners and families. A series of fun bridges and metal walkways that skirt the creek are also highlights of the route.

waterfalls in oregon
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3. Niagara Falls

Among the most famous waterfalls in Oregon Pheasant Creek Falls and Niagara Falls both have a 100-foot drop and are quite impressive. They cascade from a cliff in Siuslaw National Forest.

Although the hike is short enough to reach both falls, it is all downhill, so you will have to climb a series of switchbacks on the way back. At this point,t you may be thankful for the trail’s short length. Despite being roughly the same height, the two falls are quite different. After you’ve turned a corner, you’ll see the Oregon waterfalls and be able to walk right beneath them.

4. Salt Creek Falls

Salt Creek Falls is one of the largest single-drop waterfalls in Oregon, plunging more than 280 feet into a beautiful waterfall basin. Almost anyone can appreciate this remarkable feat of gravity, thanks to the universally accessible boardwalk and viewing platform located 50 feet from the parking area.

The salt creek falls are located in the Willamette National Forest, about 60 miles east of Eugene. The drive follows the paved Willamette Highway the entire way, increasing the accessibility of the waterfall.

An interpretive trail and a steeper spur trail that leads to the base of the falls are two other ways to enjoy this “wow”-inducing waterfall. In the winter, properly equipped explorers can park less than a half-mile away at the Salt Creek Sno-Park and make the easy trek to an impressive sight surrounded by snow.

5. Sahalie Falls

Sahalie falls caters to all adventure levels by providing an easy-access viewing platform and an optional trail system.

Both waterfalls are located on the beautiful McKenzie River. It’s highly recommended that you connect the two via a 2.6-mile hiking loop that follows a small section of Oregon’s waterfalls and the best hiking trail, the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail.

6. Proxy Falls

Proxy Falls is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting waterfalls in Oregon. This is the third waterfall on the list and is unquestionably the most impressive. It is located on the Mckenzie Pass.

It is both simple and difficult to photograph here. Those attempting to capture the scale and grandeur of Proxy Falls will have a difficult time, whereas the creatively inclined will find plenty of unique compositions to take home.

Proxy Falls, like Ramona Falls and the smaller Clearwater Falls already mentioned in this guide, are visually appealing due to the water’s unique paths on its descent. The protruding rock appears to divide this single waterfall into multiple miniature cascades.

waterfalls in oregon
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7. Toketee Falls

Toketee means graceful and pretty, and that is exactly what you will feel when standing on the viewpoint.

A short hike takes visitors to one of the most photogenic views in the entire state, hidden deep within the Umpqua National Forest. This basalt rock is the result of ancient volcanic activity.  At first glance, it appears that a waterfall is gushing from a massive, fossilized tree.

The columnar basalt framing gives Toketee Falls a distinct color and texture, making it a photographer’s dream. In the fall, golden yellow leaves add a touch of enchantment to the typically green scenery.

If you’re going to Toketee Falls, check out our guide to Southern Oregon Waterfalls next. This guide reveals a plethora of other hidden falls on the way to and from this one. It also mentions the nearby Hot Springs, which are a must-see on any Southern Oregon road trip!

Toketee Falls is a magnificent waterfall to hike to if you are in central Oregon. The waterfall is best known for the columnar basalt formation that frames the two-stepped falls, where the North Umpqua River carved a gorge out of the lava flow, resulting in an impressive 113-foot drop. It has a beautiful flow all year.

Conclusion

Nothing beats the rushing display of gravity that a waterfall provides. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a long-term state resident, a waterfall hike is always fun.

One of the most popular waterfall-lined places to visit is the Columbia River Gorge near Portland. Several waterfalls can also be found in Oregon’s national forests. And, whether you’re looking for a plunge, a punch bowl, or a collection of cascading drops, each season brings a new perspective and reason to visit. Plan your trip with our listed waterfalls in Oregon.

Some waterfalls in Oregon, such as Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, are easily accessible by vehicle. Others, such as Tamanawas Falls in the Mount Hood National Forest, are more difficult to reach. Always check local conditions before travelling.

I hope you this article will help enjoy vacation at waterfalls in Oregon!

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