25 Incredible Oregon Waterfalls You Must Explore

0
262
Oregon Waterfalls
Photo by 12019 on Pixabay Copyright 2022

Did you know that Oregon has more waterfalls than any other state in the United States? This small state is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country, with over 200 to choose from.

The top best Oregon waterfalls list highlights our favorite waterfall hikes in Oregon and shows you how to visit them. Those planning an Oregon waterfalls road trip should read through our guide and itinerary to the Waterfalls of Oregon.

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

1. Multnmoh Falls

Multnomah Falls, located in the Columbia River Gorge, is Oregon’s most famous and best waterfall. This natural wonder drops an incredible 620 feet, making it the tallest waterfall in the state.

The accessible Benson Bridge, separated by two drops, allows visitors to appreciate Multnomah Falls from both above and below.

Multnomah Falls is the Pacific Northwest’s most visited natural recreation site. With 2 million visitors per year, this summer destination necessitates timed reservation tickets.

A viewing platform and hiking trails are available at Multnomah Falls Lodge, which was built in 1925. Consider walking the quarter-mile paved trail to Benson Bridge, a footbridge connecting the lower and upper cascades.

2. Wahkeena Falls

Wahkeena Falls is a day-use area and trail located at the base of the beautiful Falls on the Historic Columbia River Gorge.

The waterfall differs from nearby Multnomah Falls in that the water does not fall directly to the ground.

It is located about 13 miles east of Troutdale, Oregon on the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Wahkeena Falls
By welcomia from DepositPhotos

These 242-foot falls can be viewed from an accessible platform or hiked up Wahkeena Trail, which includes some switchbacks.

As you near the end of the trail, the trail begins to switch back downhill to the base of Falls, providing stunning views of the sweet creek. Continue on the Larch Mountain Trail, where you’ll encounter a series of smaller Oregon waterfalls.

3. Toketee Falls

Toketee Falls is located in Douglas County in south-central Oregon. If you’re here, you should go hiking at Toketee Falls.

The Toketee Falls Trail, located less than three miles from Watson Falls in the Umpqua National Forest, is a short out-and-back best waterfall hike suitable for the whole family.

The elevation gain to the Toketee falls is only about a mile long.

4. Proxy Falls

Proxy Falls is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Oregon. This is the fourth waterfall on the list, and it is unquestionably the most impressive. It can be found on McKenzie Pass.

Proxy Falls Loop Trail is ideal for those looking for a quick, gentle stroll through the beauty of Central Oregon. This hike will take you through beautiful forests, with several Oregon waterfalls along the way.

Proxy Falls
By davidgn from DepositPhotos

The entire hike to see both the upper and lower proxy falls is only 1.6 miles long. To see the lower falls, you’ll have to scramble down a rough, slick path.

The upper proxy falls are the same, though the path is much easier; you just need to climb over a large tree root and a few rocks to get a better view.

5. Abiqua Falls

Abiqua Falls is close to Silver Falls State Park. It is framed by basalt rock that resembles fossilized trees, much like Toketee Falls, which is near the top of this list of the best  Oregon waterfalls.

The waterfall hike to Abiqua Falls is brief, but the reward is one of Oregon’s most beautiful waterfalls.

The Abiqua Falls Trailhead parking lot is about 35 miles east of Oregon’s capital, Salem, or 11 miles south of Scott’s Mills.

6. Tamanawas Falls

Tamanawas Falls is located east of Mount Hood, which is covered in snow.

Tamanawas Falls was formed when Cold Spring Creek thunders over a 110-foot lava cliff near Mount Hood, and the results are stunning.

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

This 100-foot-tall, 40-foot-wide cascade is accessible via a 1-mile hike from the Tamanawas Falls Trailhead.

The trail follows Cold Spring Creek, which can be slippery in places, particularly in the spring with recent snowmelt.

The closest campsites to the Tamanawas Falls Trailhead are at Sherwood Campground on Highway 35, which has spots for both tents and RVs.

7. Munson Creek Falls

Munson Creek Falls, a 319-foot-drop waterfall on the Oregon coast, is easily accessible from the Oregon Coast Highway.

Massive western red cedars and Sitka spruces line the trail and define much of the landscape, adding to the grandeur of the Munson creek falls.

A nice picnic area where you can enjoy your lunch while admiring the falls and the canopy of big-leaf maple trees.

Those who have come to see the falls can simply turn around and return the way they came, but there is much more to discover in this scenic state park.

8. Ramona Falls

Ramona Falls
By kamchatka from DepositPhotos

Ramona Falls is about 50 miles east of Portland in the Mount Hood National Forest. It takes a long 7-8 mile roundtrip hike to find it.

Ramona Falls’ waters flow gently down the staircase of protruding rock to a small pool below.

This cobbled waterfall is one of Oregon’s, if not the Pacific Northwest’s, most distinctive.

Ramona Falls is a 3.5-mile hike from the Ramona Falls Trailhead. You’ll walk along the Sandy River Trail, which includes a bridgeless crossing of the Sandy River. The journey is very worthful.

The trail can get crowded during the summer months because the forest cover provides a cool respite from the heat.

9. Horsetail Falls and Ponytail falls

Horsetail and Ponytail Falls, are both located in the Columbia River Gorge. Both Horsetail (176 feet) and Ponytail (125 feet) are glistening streams of water down the rock.

Horsetail Falls requires no hiking and there is plenty of parking. It has more water volume but isn’t as photogenic as Ponytail Falls.

Ponytail Falls is only a 4-mile hike from the parking lot, but it is a steep one.

10. McDowell Creek Falls Loop

 

This McDowell Creek Park has three waterfalls, Lower McDowell Falls, Royal Terrace Falls, and Majestic Falls.

When you arrive at the first parking lot, you will hear the falls. Royal Terrace Falls is a triple-decker cascade that drops approximately 119 feet.

The McDowell Creek Falls Loop is an excellent choice for a moderately difficult hike. This 1.8-mile loop will not disappoint, and it is also suitable for children.

Thanks to a series of wooden stairs, platforms, and walkways, this 39-foot-tall waterfall can be seen from all angles.

Cross McDowell Creek Road and continue through the forest for 0.3 miles to reach the Majestic Falls Trailhead. A short trail leads down above Majestic Falls to a slick wooden staircase leading up for more views of the falls.

11. Drift Creek Falls

Drift Creek Falls, the beautiful coastal range forest, and a massive suspension bridge are all highlights. It is a waterfall in Lincoln County, Oregon, located west of Valley of the Giants and east of Lincoln City.

The trail begins by contouring down a forested slope beneath the trailhead. The trail is forested with 70-year-old Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and a few Sitka spruce.

The route makes a cute little U-turn with a couple of tiny bridges over trickling, seasonal creeks as it heads back down the other side of the valley. You may hear people coming from the opposite direction as you do this.

The trail follows the North Fork of the river before crossing it on a footbridge. There’s a bench on the other side of the creek, and it’s a reasonably safe place for kids.

There is a picnic area here, but the best view of the falls is about a quarter mile further down the trail, where the trail switchbacks down to a photogenic view of sweet Creek Falls.

The trail continues beyond the footbridge over Drift Creek, passing a few large trees and more recovering forests of young conifers draped in moss and lichens.

You can take the main trail back instead of the North Loop. The trail ascends above the North Fork of Drift Creek.

12. Steelhead Falls

This fall is a hidden oasis formed millions of years ago. The 20-foot waterfall, surrounded by colorful 25-foot cliffs, cascades into a deep canyon formed around the same time as the waterfall.

To get to Steelhead Falls from Redmond, take US Highway 97 north for 6 miles, then turn left in Terrebonne onto Lower Bridge Market Road, then right onto Northwest 43rd Street, and finally, follow the signs through Crooked River Ranch to the trailhead parking area and campground on the riverside road.

13. Golden Falls and Silver Falls

The Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area near Coos Bay, Oregon, shared the same reserve as Silver Falls.

Silver Falls is 259 feet tall, and Golden Falls is only 254 feet taller, making them the second and third highest waterfall of Oregon in the coast range.

14. Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls

These two-tiered waterfall cascades are near each other along the scenic McKenzie River in the Willamette National Forest. Both a short out-and-back hike and a 2.4-mile loop trail through the old-growth forest are available.

Oregon Waterfalls
Photo by Photoman from pixabay. copyright 2022

Along the Mckenzie Pass, Koosah Falls is accessible via the same trailhead as the Sahalie Falls. Because of the beautiful green channel that frames it, this stunning waterfall is much higher than its sister falls.

Sahalie falls is the larger of the two waterfalls, though Koosah falls is the more popular of the two. Both have their parking lots and viewing platforms.

The falls are a 70-mile drive from Eugene and a 60-mile drive from Bend.

15. Pheasant Creek Falls and Niagara Falls

Pheasant Creek Falls and Niagara Falls are two Oregon waterfalls located across from each other at the head of a gorge formed by the confluence of Pheasant and Niagara Creeks.

Both of these have a 100-foot drop and are quite impressive. They fall from a cliff in the Siuslaw National Forest.

Oregon Waterfalls
Photo by ataribravo99  on  pixabay copyright 2022

Because of its obscurity, this hike deep in the coastal range set back from the Oregon Coast near the small town of Beaver in the Siuslaw National Forest was an exercise in peace and tranquility.

The hike is short enough to reach both falls, but it is all downhill, so you will have to climb a series of switchbacks on the way back.

The trail would continue to descend through this scenery, navigating the odd muddy patches, especially since this area is prone to heavy rain.

16. Kentucky Falls

Kentucky Falls is a fantastic short and easy hike that is less than 5 miles long and ideal for a rainy Oregon day. It’s Natural Area contains three of Oregon’s best waterfalls, all accessible via the same well-graded trail system.

The lightly traveled trail to Kentucky Falls is a slightly difficult waterfall hike, so expect the unexpected, from mudslides to fallen trees.

Upper Kentucky Falls, at 88 feet tall, is reached after the first 0.6 miles. These falls fall like a thin wispy curtain in the summer.

Photo By USA-Reiseblogger from pixabay  copyright 2022

The falls will be too high in the winter and early spring, and you will be unable to access the rocks. After exploring Upper Kentucky Falls, continue hiking for another 1.1 miles until you reach a fork in the trail.

If you’re looking for a swim on a hot summer day, hike 0.6 miles down the North Fork Smith River Trail and you’ll find a beautiful blue/green pool, which is one of the best swimming holes.

17. Tumalo Falls

Tumalo Falls is massive, and it’s one of that Oregon waterfalls that you’ll hear before you see.

The first viewpoint is only a few minutes walk from the car park, but we preferred the view from above.

Oregon Waterfalls
Photo By 15079075 on pixabay  copyright 2022

Tumalo Falls is a 97-foot cascade that can be reached via a short walk from the Tumalo Falls Trailhead.

From here, take the Tumalo Creek Trail, which takes you through the small canyon and up to the top of the Tumalo falls for a different perspective.

18. South Falls and North Falls

Silver Falls State Park has 10 waterfalls along an 8-mile trail. The aptly named Trail of Ten Falls is a 7.2-mile National Scenic Trail that begins at Lower South Falls and covers nearly all of the significant Oregon waterfalls within Silver Falls State Park.

Silver Falls State Park is located about 25 miles east of Salem in northwest Oregon.

All of the stunning Oregon waterfalls along the Trail of Ten Falls are breathtaking. The crowd favorite, however, is South Falls, which plunges more than 175 feet into a dark pool.

south falls
By davidgn from DepositPhotos

The North Falls are the Trail of Ten Falls’ next most dramatic falls, and you can hear them roaring from a long distance away. The view of upper North Falls from its base is unrivaled in its beauty.

Narrowing down the best waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park is difficult because at least half of those along the Trail of Ten Falls could be considered.

19. White River Falls 

White River Falls is a popular place to cool off during the hot summer months in this part of the state.

White River Falls drops 90 feet over a basalt shelf, a testament to the violent geological forces that carved the region millions of years ago.

White River Falls 
By jpldesigns from DepositPhotos

White River Falls State Park is located in north central Oregon. It is 35 miles (56 km) south of The Dalles and 4.5 miles (7.2 km) east of Tygh Valley. 

The falls, where the wild and scenic White River plunges 90 feet (27 meters) from a basalt shelf, is the park’s focal point. The ruins of a hydropower plant that supplied electricity to north central Oregon from 1910 to 1960 can be found near the falls.

The waterfall’s thunderous flow is best seen in the spring; by fall, it has slowed to a few trickles.

The park is open all year, though the main parking lot and flush toilets are closed during the winter.

20. Punch Bowl Falls

Punch Bowl Falls is a waterfall on Eagle Creek in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

The Eagle Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge leads to the Punch Bowl Waterfalls of Oregon.

The Eagle Creek to Punch Bowl Falls hike is one of the shortest and perhaps most popular options for experiencing the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge, taking in three of the ten major waterfalls found along the creek and its tributaries.

There is some mild cliff exposure throughout the hike, as several sections of the trail clung to narrow ledges.

Punch Bowl Falls is not only a beautiful sight, but it is also a popular swimming hole in the summer. Punch Bowl Falls attracts many locals, tourists, and families, especially on weekends.

This place became a festive scene as some people brought radios and other groups of people including entire families with small children and elders.

The more daring teenagers and twenty-somethings even did cliff jumps over Lower Punch Bowl Falls, which is just downstream of the viewing area.

In addition to Metlako and Punch Bowl Falls, the Eagle Creek Trail includes many more waterfalls in Oregon. Tish Creek has more waterfalls upstream, including a dramatic one called Tunnel Falls.

21. Salt Creek Falls

Salt Creek Falls in Willamette National Forest is the state’s second tallest waterfall, standing 286 feet. With an average flow of 50,000 gallons per minute, they are one of the most powerful falls in the state.

Oregon Waterfalls
Photo By 12019 on  pixabay  copyright 2022

During the summer, a large parking lot accommodates the crowds that also visit nearby Waldo, Odell, and Crescent lakes, as well as the Pacific Crest Trail. The road to that parking lot is closed in the winter.

In the winter, those trails can become covered in snow and ice, making hiking dangerous.

The pet-friendly and budget-friendly Oakridge Inn & Suites in nearby Lane County offer complimentary breakfast to guests.

Shelter Cove Resort & Marina on Odell Lake, which has family-friendly log cabins and RV sites, as well as a casual restaurant, is another option to the southeast.

22. Clearwater Falls

Clearwater Falls is situated in the Umpqua National Forest. Its clear water flows gracefully between moss-covered stones and fallen pine.

The waterfall itself is only about 30 feet tall, which is considered modest. However, don’t let the size of the falls deter you from going.

While Clearwater Falls is not the largest or most imposing cascade in Oregon, the vibrant greens and tumbling water make for a pleasing overall composition. It’s a fascinating little spring-fed Oregon waterfall that runs all year.

Clearwater Falls
By kwiktor from DepositPhotos

This half-mile roundtrip hike to Clearwater Falls is a quick way to see this beautiful waterfall. The hike has a low elevation gain and is accessible via a nearby parking lot.

23. Latourell Falls

Latourell Falls is one of the first major waterfalls in Oregon along the Columbia River Gorge coming from Portland, and it is accessible via the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Latourell falls consists of two falls: the lower falls, which are massive, and the upper falls, which are smaller and more intimate.

Guy W. Talbot State Park contains these Latourell falls. The trailhead is just off the highway, and it’s a short walk to the base of the 224-foot falls, where you can admire the bright yellow-green lichen on the cliff face.

24. Fall Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls is a three to four-drop waterfall on the North Umpqua River in Douglas County, Oregon, on the western edge of the Umpqua National Forest.

Falls Creek Falls is a short and sweet beautiful waterfall hike in Southern Oregon off of beautiful OR-138.

You will immediately cross a bridge from the parking lot, and there are restrooms with flushable toilets on your right. One of the first cool things about this trail is that it suddenly comes to some semi-truck-sized boulders that you have to walk through.

25. Upper Downing Creek Falls

The only risk on the simple trail to these falls is that the rocks can be slippery. It’s a great place to take kids because the round trip is only about a half mile.

Water cascades from a rock that forms a cube, with cascades falling on all four sides at times.

The flow is 32 feet high, with the strongest flow occurring after the snow melts in the spring. Even in the height of summer, they will not completely dry out.

Conclusion

A waterfall hike is always a fun thing to do, whether you are a first-time visitor or a long-term resident of the state. You can plan your outdoor adventures with our list of the top Oregon Waterfalls.

Also read: How Tall is One World Trade Center

Author

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here