Oregon Nature, Waterfalls May 03, 2022
The Best Waterfalls in Oregon – 24 Local Favorites & Hidden Gems
There’s a reason the Pacific Northwest carries the #pnwonderland hashtag, and that’s because, frankly, this region is the most wondrous and wonderful in the country.
Home to temperate rainforests, old-growth forests, majestic mountains, commanding canyons, and resplendent rivers, the Pacific Northwest is an outdoor paradise for nature lovers. But the region’s most noteworthy natural feature is, hands down, its waterfalls. And of the trio of states that comprises the PNW, the most glorious waterfall wonderland is Oregon.
Best Waterfalls in Oregon
Home to over 200 named waterfalls, Oregon is a waterfall chaser’s paradise. The Columbia River Gorge is home to some 90 waterfalls
on the Oregon side alone , and the Trail of Ten Falls at Silver Falls State Park packs 10 incredible cascades in its 7.4 miles.
The Beaver State has waterfalls on its beaches, and falls in its forests that are so lovely, they look like a scene straight out of a Tolkien tale. And, of course, Oregon lays claim to mighty Multnomah Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the country.
Here at OnlyInYourState, our insatiable appetite for wanderlust keeps us going, and waterfall chasing is easily our most favorite way to satisfy our adventure-seeking souls. And in Oregon, unlimited adventures – and waterfalls – await.
Multnomah Falls Popularity: Very Popular Height: 620 feet Fun fact: Almost a century old, the Multnomah Falls Lodge boasts some of the best views of this natural wonder!
Hailed as The Crown Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia River Gorge is the largest natural scenic area in the United States. The mighty Columbia River serves as the border between Oregon and Washington, and there are all sorts of treasures awaiting you on both states’ sides.
Within this wonderland is the PNW’s most iconic cascade,
Oregon’s Multnomah Falls
. Mighty Multnomah is a vision; a sublime sensory experience.
This 620-foot-tall roaring waterfall is in a league all its own; and while the Columbia River Gorge is home to over 90 waterfalls (on the Oregon side alone), Multnomah truly is its crown jewel. While there are many places to gaze upon this Oregon wonder, there’s nothing like experiencing Multnomah from the
Designed by Samuel Lancaster, a lead engineer and architect for the Columbia River Highway, this footbridge traverses Multnomah Creek between the two cascades of Multnomah Falls, and is a true PNW icon.
South Falls Oregon Location: Silver Falls State Park Accessibility: See it along the Trail of Ten Falls, a 7.4-mile hike. Fun fact: This is one of four walk-behind waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park!
Silver Falls State Park is a vision; a portrait of pure, pristine, perfect Oregon beauty.
This park is breathtakingly beautiful and possesses many of the Beaver State’s unique features and wonders, from a temperate rainforest and old-growth trees to an abundance of jaw-dropping waterfalls.
Silver Falls State Park
is best-known for its waterfalls, in fact, with South Falls the most spectacular.
This beautiful, 177-foot stunner is a force, and visitors who embark on the park’s Trail of Ten Falls get the opportunity to walk behind its massive waterfall curtain.
Seeing the famous South Falls from this unique vantage point is truly a bucket-list experience.
What are the tallest waterfalls in Oregon?
At an impressive 620 feet tall, Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Oregon. But this dazzling natural wonder isn’t the only tall fall in the Beaver State – or even in the Columbia River Gorge! Wahclella Falls and Latourell Falls are two of Multnomah’s Gorge neighbors; and at 350 feet and 249 feet tall, respectively, they’re quite the show-stopping duo. Located on Oregon’s Highway of Waterfalls, Watson Falls is 272 feet of grand glory, and is actually the state’s third highest waterfall.
Munson Creek Falls Height: 315 feet tall Accessibility: The 1.0-mile Munson Creek Falls Trail is considered easy. Fun fact: Munson Creek is a vital salmon habitat, and you’ll often see these boisterous fish spawning at the pool of the falls.
The Oregon Coast often gets left out of the waterfall equation, but it’s actually home to some of the most wondrous waterfalls in the state. Because it’s here where you’ll find the eponymous Oregon Coast Range, a coastal mountain range that houses myriad waterfalls, including the spectacular Munson Creek Falls.
At 315 feet tall,
Munson Creek Falls
is the tallest waterfall in the Oregon Coast Range, and it’s a portrait of sublime and beguiling beauty. The trail to discover this hidden waterfall is as magical as the falls themselves, winding through a verdant-green, old-growth forest.
And at just one mile round-trip, the eponymous Munson Creek Falls Trail is easily one of the easiest and most rewarding waterfall hikes in Oregon.
Top Waterfall Hikes in Oregon
Waterfall chasing is more than just a hobby; it’s a worldview and way of life. And while most waterfall chasers would happily take this activity on as a full-time job, there’s the pesky business of actual full-time jobs, and other adult responsibilities.
Not to fear, however, as many of
Oregon’s waterfall hikes are perfect day-long treks or even easy afternoon adventures.
Some, like mighty Multnomah, require no hiking at all to view! The state’s myriad waterfall trails vary in length and accessibility, but you’ll find that many of the state’s finest falls are well within reach for adventurers of all ages and abilities.
Trail of Ten Falls Length: 7.4 miles Popularity: One of the most popular waterfall hikes in Oregon. Location: Silver Falls State Park, considered the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks.
With over 230 falls in Oregon, there are certainly ample opportunities for waterfall chasing, but the
Trail of Ten Falls
is on a whole other level entirely.
As its name suggests, this trail features 10 glorious waterfalls that hikers can walk past, under, and around, for a wholly immersive experience unlike any other. Clocking in at just over seven miles, the Trail of Ten Falls is certainly an all-day hike, but it’s worth each and every mile.
You'll encounter no less than 10 falls on this route through the lush foothills of the Cascades, including South Falls, North Falls, and Middle North Falls, all three of which exceed 100 feet in height and allow hikers to walk beneath their waters.
If you’re looking for the best waterfall hike in the country, this is it.
Drift Creek Falls Popularity: Very Popular Location: Drift Creek Wilderness area of the Siuslaw National Forest Fun Fact: These falls can be viewed both from their base and from above via a 240-foot-long suspension bridge.
Drift Creek Falls is proof positive that the journey is just as marvelous as the destination. Featuring verdant, old-growth forests, a 240-foot swinging bridge, and a 75-foot waterfall, the
Drift Creek Falls Trail
is a triple threat of a trek.
At just three-mile round-trip, this trail is the Goldilocks of hikes, too: not too short and not too long, not too steep and not too advanced.
It’s the perfect morning adventure, especially after a healthy rain when the falls are at their most rushing and resplendent. And if you can stomach the 100-foot-tall swinging bridge, you’ll be rewarded with the very best views of the majestic Drift Creek Falls.
Tamanawas Falls Location: Mt. Hood National Forest Accessibility: This 3.8-mile trail is rated moderate. Fun Fact: “Tamanawas” is a Chinook word that means “friendly guardian spirit”
The Tamanawas Falls Trail is located in one of the most glorious parts of Mt. Hood National Forest, and it runs parallel to the Hood River in the majestic Cascade Mountains.
This 3.8-mile trail follows Cold Spring Creek through verdant forest landscape that looks like something conjured up by Tolkien, complete with a charming footbridge, sun-soaked tree canopies, and moss-covered rocks. The trail passes several small falls, culminating in the glorious 100-foot-tall, 40-foot-wide waterfall known as
A Chinook word translated as “friendly guardian spirit,” Tamanawas is a reassuring and resplendent sight that’s simultaneously inspiring and grounding.
Easy Waterfall Hikes In Oregon
Waterfall chasing is a popular activity in the Beaver State, but if you’re not up for a lengthy chase, there are plenty of easy and
accessible waterfall hikes in Oregon for beginners and those who don’t have days to devote to the trails.
The following are some of the most easy and accessible waterfall hikes in Oregon; these are scenic treks, wondrous falls, and some of the most bucket-list-worthy adventures in the PNW.
Bridal Veils Falls Popularity: Very Popular Height: This two-tier cascade is 118 feet tall. Location: The Bridal Veil Falls Trailhead is located just off the Historic Columbia River Highway. Heading east on Interstate 84, take exit 28 and then make a right turn onto the Columbia River Highway. Drive for about 0.3 miles, and on the right side of the road you'll see the parking lot and trailhead
Another Columbia River Gorge wonder (of course!), beautiful
Bridal Veil Falls
is the perfect destination for beginner waterfall chasers.
The hike to this falls clocks in at just a half-mile long and is well-paved and easy to navigate. A viewing platform located in front of the cascade provides the perfect vantage point of Bridal Veil Falls, an 118-foot-tall natural wonder that drops in two perfect cascades.
While Bridal Veil isn't the tallest in the Gorge, the payoff for such a short hike is pretty extraordinary!
Henline Falls Popularity: Hidden Gem Location: Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area Accessibility: Take the Henline Falls Trailhead, which winds along a lovely old forest road through a dense, emerald green forest. You'll keep left to branch onto the Henline Falls Trail #3348.
Dark and mysterious, the
hike to Henline Falls
follows a forest trail that’s straight out of a Brothers Grimm fantasy. Tucked away in the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area is the little-known Henline Falls Trail, a 1.8-mile out-and-back trail that leads to a stunning waterfall of the same name, as well as the abandoned Silver King Mine.
Intrepid explorers can duck into this eerie, fascinating gold mine, although there is a closed metal gate blocking off the tunnel after about 60 feet. It’s an unsettling relic of a bygone time that only adds to the allure of this adventure.
Back on the trail, verdant, mossy forest and old-growth trees form a canopy that’s eerily quiet and a bit uncanny, yet positively sublime.
Happening upon Henline Falls, a commanding 125-foot cascade, is a wondrous experience that should be enjoyed slowly before turning back.
Oregon's Niagara Falls Popularity: Very Popular. Avoid the crowds by visiting early in the morning or mid-week. Dog Friendly: Yes! There are even some off-leash areas along the trail. Accessibility: This 1.4-mile, out-and-back trail is rated “moderate” due to some challenging terrain.
By now it’s abundantly clear that one need not venture to New York’s Niagara Falls to behold the country’s most wondrous waterfalls; you’ll find falls aplenty in Oregon!
The Beaver State is even home to its very own Niagara Falls, which you’ll find hiding in the Siuslaw National Forest along the Pheasant Creek Falls and
Niagara Falls Trail
. This 1.4 mile long, out-and-back trail leads to not one, but two fabulous falls, each over 100 feet in stature.
Even with this dynamic duo, this is a trek where the journey is as amazing as the destination, with the trail winding through old-growth forests and crossing over four wooden footbridges.
As for the cascades, the falls are located within striking distance of one another; often confused, Pheasant Creek Falls comes first, with Niagara Falls found near the end of the trail.
Are There Any No-Hike Waterfalls in Oregon?
For those who simply want to behold one of Mother Nature’s most dazzling wonders – without any sort of trek – there are some breathtaking
waterfalls in Oregon with no hiking required
In addition to mighty Multnomah Falls, the
Columbia River Gorge
is home to numerous no-hike waterfalls, including Wahkeena Falls and Shepperd’s Dell Falls. And hiding on the McKenzie River,
is a 100-foot-tall stunner that’s sure to take your breath away.
Looking for more no-hike falls in Oregon? Read on…
Salt Creek Falls Location: Willamette National Forest Fun Fact: At 286 feet tall, Salt Creek Falls is Oregon’s second tallest waterfall! Accessibility: Very; the viewing platform to see these falls is just a 50-foot stroll from the parking area. The path and platform are wheelchair-accessible and the railings were designed with wheelchair sight lines in mind.
One of the tallest and most impressive waterfalls in Oregon is also one of the most accessible. Located in the wondrous Willamette National Forest,
Salt Creek Falls
is a 286-foot stunner that tumbles in a freefall into a cobalt pool below.
It’s a magnificent display of Mother Nature’s prowess that’s sure to fill visitors with total awe and wonder. And the best part is, this breathtaking beauty is truly accessible to all; it’s just a 50-foot walk to the wheelchair-friendly viewing platform, where a dazzling display unfolds before your eyes.
The observation site here also offers restrooms and picnic tables, so stay and enjoy this sublime experience as long as you feel so inclined.
Ponytail Falls Location: Columbia River Gorge Alias: Upper Horsetail Falls Popularity: Given the accessibility of this waterfall, it can be quite crowded, so we advise going early during the week for a quieter experience.
What if we told you that there was a waterfall in Oregon that you could walk behind… and accessing it required little more than a half-mile walk?
This is the magic of Ponytail Falls, a beguiling cascade nestled in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge. This equine-named wonder is a magical waterfall with a trail circling behind it, providing explorers with the unique opportunity to stand directly behind this 75-foot waterfall curtain.
requires little more than a half-mile trek that’s truly more “stroll” than “hike.” Once you’ve sufficiently ogled this stunning scene, simply turn back and retrace your steps to the Horsetail Falls Trailhead.
Of course, for those who feel compelled to continue on, the full 2.6-mile loop trail is quite lovely.
Oregon Waterfalls You Can Swim In
In Oregon, chasing waterfalls is quite literally an immersive experience. Because the waterfall adventures aren’t limited to the trails; there are myriad waterfalls in Oregon wherein intrepid explorers can actually swim in the basins.
And during the dog days of a PNW summer, there’s simply nothing more refreshing than taking a dip in Mother Nature’s most glorious natural pools.
From rushing, rapid-filled whirlpools to calm and placid pools,
swimming in Oregon’s wondrous waterfalls is truly an adventure for your bucket list. Toketee Falls Fun Fact: Toketee is the Chinook word for “graceful” Accessibility:Very. The entire loop hike is less than a mile, and one of the most accessible waterfall trails in Oregon. Getting there: The trailhead for Toketee Falls is located near Roseburg, Oregon. Take Highway 138 and turn north at milepost 58.6 onto Forest Road 34 (AKA Toketee-Rigdon Road). Once you've crossed the first bridge, you'll see the Toketee Falls Trailhead parking lot on the left.
A wonder of intense grace and grandeur,
is located on the North Umpqua River in the Umpqua National Forest, carved through ancient black basalt adorned with emerald-green leaves.
The falls themselves feature a 28-foot upper tier which plunges into a pool flanked by a deep alcove, followed by an 85-foot plunge where the water pours endlessly into a large pool. The entire scene unfolds in something of a dream sequence; and accessing this enchanting oasis requires a quick-and-easy hike that’s less than a mile long, round trip.
After just about half a mile, you'll reach the observation platform, which offers stunning views of the waterfall. And if you feel inspired to take the plunge, the basin of Toketee Falls is cold and refreshing; an experience you won’t likely forget!
White River Falls Location: White River Falls State Park Popularity: Not crowded. This is one of the lesser-known Oregon State Parks, and it’s definitely a hidden gem! Fun Facts: White River Falls (and the river for which it’s named) is the site of a former hydroelectric plant.
The sheer, unbridled power of nature is something that will take you by surprise, and it’s often associated with destructive disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes. But in White River Falls State Park, Mother Nature’s prowess is on full display in the most sublime of ways, with the headlining
pouring out into the eponymous North Oregon river.
White Falls plunges 90 feet over black basalt cliffs, thundering into the river below with a force that can be seen, heard, and felt. This natural wonder caught the attention of Pacific Power and Light Company in the early 20th century, with it providing hydroelectric power to Wasco and Sherman counties from 1910 until 1960. Parts of the abandoned plant still remain, adding to the allure of the excursion to the falls.
Be prepared to get wet on this 0.8-mile hike -- and not from swimming; the trail follows the White River straight into the cerulean pool at its base. Powerful and commanding, this is one waterfall in Oregon worth chasing!
Steelhead Falls Location: Central Oregon’s High Desert, along the Deschutes River How to Find: Steelhead Falls can be a bit tricky to find, but it’s well-worth the effort. The falls are located north of Terrebonne, Oregon, on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The Steelhead Falls Trailhead and Campground are located at SW River Rd, Terrebonne, OR, 97760. Park Info: This park is open year-round with no fees. Overnight camping sites are available year-round on a first come, first served basis. Pets are permitted here, too.
This beautiful gem near Bend is a prime example of Oregon’s “high desert” falls; it’s a resplendent natural wonder that will challenge your very definition of a “desert.”
A one-mile (round trip) trail will take you to
, a breathtaking beauty that plunges into a cobalt blue pool in the Deschutes River. In the spring, the wildflowers surrounding the falls are spectacular; in the summer, Oregonians love going for a dip in this natural waterfall swimming pool, which is the most glorious and wholly real “desert mirage” you’ll ever experience.
Though finding the trailhead is a bit tricky (directions are available through the BLM), the trail to the falls themselves is just a half-mile long, and it's a fairly easy and accessible hike.
Best Road Trips To Oregon Waterfalls
America is a country of explorers. This spirit of adventure runs deep here in the U.S., a place comprised of 50 wholly unique states each boasting spectacular scenery and incredible natural wonders.
This drive to explore is quite literally a drive to explore, too, and the combination of a scenic road trip and waterfall chasing adventure is something everyone should experience.
In Oregon, there are some scenic routes (and even an official Highway of Waterfalls!) where one can visit myriad majestic falls in one fell swoop.
The following are some of our favorite
Oregon waterfall road trips, designed to take full advantage of the Beaver State’s waterfall wonderland. Highway of Waterfalls Alias: “Oregon’s Highway of Waterfalls” is actually the nickname for Highway 138. Length: This scenic adventure spans 172 miles through South-Central Oregon between Roseburg and Diamond Lake. Fun Fact: You’ll discover more than 15 waterfalls along this scenic highway!.
For a scenic tour de force of some of the finest falls in Oregon, you’ll want to hop on what’s quite literally known as the
Highway of Waterfalls
Highway 138 is a gorgeous road that traverses South-Central Oregon alongside the North Umpqua River, winding past dozens of hiking trails, campgrounds, and, of course, waterfalls. Pullouts abound along this 172-mile stretch of road, providing epic viewpoints for some of the state’s most incredible cascades.
Trip highlights include Toketee Falls, which cascades 120 feet into a gorgeous blue basin and is accessed via a short walk to a viewing platform; Watson Falls, a 272-foot-tall stunner; and the hidden Susan Creek Falls, which is found at the end of a 0.75-mile hike.
Whether you drive part or all of this scenic highway, you’ll bear witness to some of Oregon’s very best waterfalls.
Columbia River Gorge By the Numbers: A treasure trove of falls, there are over 90 waterfalls on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge! Accessibility: Many of the waterfalls in Columbia River Gorge require little-to-no hiking to access; visitors can see Multnomah Falls from the eponymous lodge parking lot and beautiful Bridal Veil Falls requires just a half-mile hike to view. Popularity: Very Popular. Showstoppers such as Multnomah can be incredibly busy, so it’s best to visit mid-week and/or in the morning, or explore some of the Gorge’s lesser-known falls such as Dead Point Falls and Punchbowl Falls.
For those with an insatiable waterfall wanderlust, there’s nowhere better than the Columbia River Gorge. A grand, 90-mile expanse that’s widely considered one of the most pristine places in the PNW (and planet), the
Columbia River Gorge
is an area with immense historic, cultural, and scenic significance.
The largest designated National Scenic Area in the country, there’s no better place to go waterfall chasing. It’s the very definition of a #pnwonderland; bisected by a commanding canyon and resplendent river, this PNW paradise is flush with forests, foliage, and falls.
Lots and lots of waterfalls. From Latourell Falls and Bridal Veil Falls to Wahclella Falls and (of course) Multnomah Falls, one could easily spend days exploring the 90+ falls found on Oregon’s side of the Gorge – and that’s a task we’d happily take on.
Given this region’s resplendent reputation, many of the waterfalls are quite popular; as such, we recommend planning trips to individual waterfalls during the week and/or early mornings.
Cavitt Creek Falls Directions: From Roseburg, head east on Hwy 138 for 16.5 miles. Turn right on Little River Road, then head south for 6.7 miles. From here, turn right onto New Bridge Road, which turns into Cavitt Creek Road, and continue three miles to the recreation site. Know Before You Go: Pets are not allowed in the swimming areas, but can stay in the campground area, provided they are leashed. The natural pool is open year-round, and the campground is open between late May and late September. Popularity: This waterfall-fed pool is very popular during the summer. If you’re into fishing, it’s a wonderful and relatively quiet place to drop a line in the winter.
One of our favorite hidden gems in Oregon,
Cavitt Creek Falls
is a stunning recreation site that’s known for its pristine waters, which include a swimming and fishing hole, babbling swimming stream, and show-stopping falls.
The natural pool at Cavitt Creek is actually fed by a series of small waterfalls, in fact, and these gentle and crisp waters are perfect for swimming on a hot day in the PNW. This site is so beautiful that you’ll find yourself unable to leave; happily, there are 10 non-reservable campsites nearby that are just $10 per night.
Campsite amenities include an area with tables and a grill, drinking water, vault restrooms, and a stairway to the swimming area.
If you’re looking to explore more of this sublime site, the nearby 1.2-mile Wolf Creek Falls Trail follows a picturesque stream through an old-growth forest and culminates at a two-tier cascade.
What are some campgrounds with waterfalls in Oregon?
For those who simply can’t pull themselves away from the enchanting waterfalls of Oregon, there are numerous campgrounds in the state that offer a place to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. One of the best examples of this is Silver Falls State Park, which at 9,000 glorious acres, is the largest and most popular state park in Oregon. Home to the iconic Trail of Ten Falls, this state park also has an abundance of amazing accommodations. The camping at Silver Falls State Park is spectacular – if you're into pitching a tent and having an authentic experience in Oregon nature, this is the place to do it. More into glamping? Revel in this waterfall wonderland at one of the park’s 14 charming cabins.
Best Waterfalls near Portland
Located within striking distance of the Columbia River Gorge, Portland is well-positioned for epic PNW waterfall chasing.
But the Gorge isn’t the only waterfall wonderland near Portland, some of the state’s most extraordinary falls are within striking distance of Oregon’s biggest and most bustling city – including some incredible coastal cascades, too.
Some of the
best waterfalls to visit near Portland are the oft-overlooked wonders, including Tunnel Falls and Ramona Falls. Mighty Multnomah, of course, is the most popular waterfall near Portland, and while it draws major crowds, it’s definitely one for your bucket list. Latourell Falls Directions: The Latourell Falls Trailhead is located just off the Columbia River Highway. Accessibility: This waterfall is one of the easiest to access in the Gorge, requiring little more than a two-mile hike that’s well-paved. Trivia: At 249 feet tall, Latourell Falls is the third tallest waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge, after Multnomah Falls (620 feet) and Elowah Falls (289 feet).
In terms of proximity, Latourell Falls is the closest waterfall to Portland, and you'll find it located in the wondrous Columbia River Gorge.
It's just a 2.4-mile loop to check out this astonishing vision; and if you have a soft spot for charming footbridges, the Latourell Falls Loop Trail boasts four different wooden bridges, making for an enchanting afternoon adventure that’s fairy-tale perfect. \
Given the brevity of this waterfall hike and accessibility of its trailhead, Latourell Falls can draw rather large crowds – so if this is something you’d like to avoid, it’s best to visit during the week or early on the weekends.
Willamette Falls Did You Know: Did You Know? Willamette Falls is the second largest waterfall in the U.S. Accessibility: Very; there are two viewpoints alongside Interstate 205 or Highway 99E that provide perfect panoramas of the falls. History This falls has served as the site of myriad PNW industries. From the Willamette Falls Electric Company and original Oregon City Paper Manufacturing Co. to the most recent Blue Heron Paper Company, which closed in 2011, the power of Willamette Falls has long been recognized and harnessed.
If you’re searching for an off-the-beaten path waterfall to chase near Portland, Willamette Falls is a true hidden gem. Located in Oregon City,
is a horseshoe-shaped waterfall over 1,500 feet wide and 40 feet high, making it one of the largest in the country.
Its sheer strength attracted the attention of the Willamette Falls Electric Company in the 20th century, which built a hydro-electric generation facility at the falls to harness its power.
Two viewpoints provide expansive views of the falls, and an on-site museum lets visitors learn all about this historically significant and superlative cascade.
Wahkeena Falls Height: Wahkeena Falls is 242 feet tall, making it one of the tallest in the Columbia River Gorge. Popularity: At just two miles long and located within the Gorge, Wahkeena Falls is a much-visited attraction. Directions: Take the Wahkeena Falls Trail, a two-mile trek that leads to two waterfalls!
Deep in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, the Wahkeena Falls Trail is a veritable waterfall twofer; an accessible, two-mile trek that leads to both the eponymous
and the enchanting Fairy Falls.
It’s a wonderfully immersive experience, with the trail winding through old-growth forest and getting so close to the cascades that the powerful spray of the falls can be felt much of the year.
Once you reach Wahkeena Falls, there’s a bench that provides a wonderful viewpoint and spot to catch your breath. From here, you’ll navigate a series of switchbacks (and some incredible views!) as you ascend the trail’s 800-foot elevation gain. At the top viewpoint, the trail turns to dirt and travels through a narrow canyon; and from here, you’ll hear and then see the fantastic Fairy Falls.
This trail is a real-life fairy tale, and it’s just a stone’s throw from Oregon’s largest city.
Oregon Coast Waterfalls
The Oregon Coast often gets left out of the waterfall equation, but it’s actually home to some of the most wondrous cascades in the state. This region where earth and land meet is absolutely breathtaking, with the tempestuous Pacific waters and ancient volcanic cliffs a scene that’s truly sublime.
On these rough and rocky beaches, water flows and sprays every which way and direction, creating tide pools, whirlpools, churning inlets, and perpetually flowing, gloriously cascading waterfalls.
Hug Point Falls Popularity: This is one of the most popular summertime destinations on the Oregon Coast. During the colder months, however, it’s equally lovely and much less crowded. Directions: Located just five miles south of Cannon Beach, Hug Point State Recreation Site boasts easy access to the beach, as well as a designated parking lot, restrooms, and picnic area. Fun Fact: Once accessible only by stagecoach, visitors can actually visit the old stagecoach trail, which also boasts an incredible view of Cannon Beach’s iconic Haystack Rock!
The state of Oregon is known for its abundance of waterfalls, as well as 363 miles of pristine Pacific shoreline rife with some of the best beaches in the country.
But you generally don’t find these two wonders together.
Generally. But this is Oregon we’re talking about, a place of almost incomprehensible natural beauty. So of course, if there’s a waterfall beach that exists, you’ll find it in Oregon.
And that’s exactly what awaits at Hug Point State Recreation Site:
Hug Point Falls
, a winsome waterfall located on its very own slice of the Oregon Coast. This Oregon State Recreation Site is one of its most incredible treasures: a real-life beachside oasis with sea caves and an incredible coastal cascade.
Within this fantasy, Hug Point Falls is a 15-foot waterfall that gently cascades down a sandstone drop-off. What makes this waterfall even more unique is that its viewing is limited by the ocean tides; the falls can only be safely accessed at low tide, so be sure and check the Oregon State Parks website’s tide chart before you go.
It’s worth the advanced planning, however; during low tide, you'll discover pools teeming with ocean treasures: sea anemones, starfish, muscles, and even crabs!
Short Sand Beach Falls Location: Short Sand Beach is located within Oswald West State Park, named by Travel + Leisure as one of the 50 Best Parks Around the U.S. Fun Fact: During high tide, the waterfall at Short Sand Beach empties straight into the ocean. Directions: Drive to the parking lot at Oswald West State Park, Arch Cape, OR, 97102. The Short Sand Beach Trail is an easy half-mile stroll from the parking lot to the beach.
You’ll find the glorious oasis that is Short Sand Beach at Oswald West State Park, a stunning spot on the northern Oregon Coast. With 2,484 acres stretching four miles along the coastline, this park has a lot to offer, though it often gets overlooked for its neighbor to the south, Cannon Beach.
Don’t overlook it, however, as
Short Sand Beach
is home to the beguiling Blumenthal Falls, a coastal cascade that trickles down the moss-covered cliff sides of the Oregon Coast. Visit after a heavy rainfall, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by a rather impressive and rushing stream; at high-tide, the waterfall empties straight into the ocean.
No matter when you visit, though, this cascade at Short Sands Beach is the best kind of hidden treasure.
Top Waterfalls near Bend
Central Oregon is a resplendent region full of mountains, forests, and rivers, making it an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. And Bend certainly benefits from its killer location at the heart of it all.
The mighty Deschutes flows quite literally through the town itself, providing some of the best kayaking and river floating in Oregon – and also, as it were, some amazing waterfalls to chase.
The Deschutes National Forest envelopes Bend like a hug, and within this region there are some truly epic waterfalls to chase; these are falls that give some of the Columbia River Gorge’s finest a run for their money! And in the spring when heavy rains douse the PNW, Bend’s falls flow faster and more picturesque than ever.
Tumalo Falls Location: The Tumalo Falls Day Use Area within Deschutes National Forest. From Bend, you’ll travel 11.6 miles west on Skyliner's Road (4601), then 2.6 miles west on Forest Road 4603. Know Before You Go: This is a very popular site that offers beautiful views of Tumalo Falls just minutes from the trailhead. There are places for picnicking and access to hiking and mountain biking trails, but the area can be quite crowded on nice days. The Day Use Area requires a $5/vehicle permit, which can be purchased on-site. Stats: The Tumalo Falls Trail features several beautiful waterfalls and scenic overlooks.
While the Columbia River Gorge tends to steal the spotlight in terms of waterfall chasing in Oregon, the Deschutes National Forest is another waterfall treasure trove. Located in Central Oregon, this #pnwonderland spans 1.6 million acres and includes a variety of landscapes, ecosystems… and waterfalls.
In fact, it’s here where you’ll find a two-mile trail that leads to a double waterfall and scenic overlook, not to mention one of the best-known falls in the state:
. This Oregon waterfall is a striking, 97-foot wonder that pours into Tumalo Creek in a thunderous, roaring rush. In addition to being a staggering beauty, Tumalo Falls is one of the state’s most accessible waterfalls, too, as it’s visible just a quarter of a mile from the trailhead.
For those not seeking a strenuous hike, there is a scenic overlook at the start of the trail that offers jaw-dropping views of this glorious cascade… and phenomenal photo ops, too. However, if you are up for exploring, you'll find additional falls upstream along Tumalo Creek and its tributary, Bridge Creek, making this a veritable “choose your own” waterfall chasing adventure in Oregon.
Paulina Falls Location: The heart of the High Desert of Central Oregon. Did You Know: Paulina Falls is actually two separate waterfalls. Know Before You Go: The Paulina Falls Trail is open seasonally beginning in June, and you’ll need to purchase a vehicle permit ($5) before visiting; permits are not sold on-site.
Another glorious cascade found in the Deschutes National Forest,
might be the biggest surprise in the High Desert of Central Oregon. Because not only does this waterfall seem to materialize in the midst of volcanic cliffs and severe geological formations, but it also consists of a duo of falls that rushes 80 feet off a jagged outcrop and into the rocks below.
A half-mile hike leads to a marvelous overlook for viewing the falls, but you’ll want to time your visit for when the path is actually accessible; it’s a seasonal trail that’s open beginning in June.
Don’t miss your chance to view this hidden gem, however; it’s a stunning scene in a stunning place, and easily one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Oregon's High Desert.
There’s no place in the world like Oregon; this PNW state really does have it all. Between its incredible wonders, diverse geography, mild weather, and immense natural splendor, Oregon is the poster child for Mother Nature.
And wrapped up in all of this wonder, touching literally every part of the state, are waterfalls.
Showstopping, superlative, stop-you-in-your tracks waterfalls.
So whether you’re looking to explore the Oregon Coast or Columbia River Gorge, High Desert or old-growth forests, one of these epic waterfall chases awaits you in Oregon!
Multnomah Falls South Falls Munson Creek Falls Trail of Ten Falls Drift Creek Falls Tamanawas Falls Salt Creek Falls Horsetail Falls Bridal Veil Falls Henline Falls Niagara Falls Toketee Falls White River Falls Steelhead Falls Highway of Waterfalls Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Cavitt Creek Falls Latourell Falls Willamette Falls Wahkeena Falls Hug Point Falls Short Sands Beach Falls Tumalo Falls Paulina Falls