The Columbia River Gorge In Oregon Has More Waterfalls Than Anywhere Else In The Country
If you don’t know of the Columbia River Gorge, you may not be a true Oregonian. This enormous canyon cuts through the Cascade Mountain Range and forms our northern state boundary with Washington along the Columbia River. Along this beautiful stretch of river, there are hundreds of microclimates that create and support an incredibly diverse natural landscape.
The Columbia River that flows through this stretch is internationally famous for the excellent conditions for windsurfing and kitesurfing, due to the fast-moving air funneled between the steep cliffs. The Gorge is undeniably one of the most beautiful places in the state, perfect for hikers, bikers, and explorers of all types. But there is one feature that makes this beautiful natural area truly unique: the amazing waterfalls. In fact, there are so many amazing waterfalls – 90 on the Oregon side of the river alone – that the Columbia River Gorge is considered to have the highest concentration of waterfalls in the entire country, including many of the best waterfalls in Oregon!
If you take a drive down the Historic Columbia River Highway, it won’t be long before you see the first one … a second … a third … and so on. Many are hard to miss from the road, while others are hiding a bit inland and require a stop or a short hike to see the falls. But, we have yet to find a waterfall that isn’t jaw-droppingly beautiful.
Of course, you will see the most famous Multnomah Falls along this highway and this one is definitely worth a visit … if you plan ahead. The crowds here during the summer months can be a nightmare, especially when it comes to finding a spot to park. We suggest waiting until the cooler fall months, once the kids go back to school and summer vacations come to an end. Not only do the crowds of tourists thin out significantly, but you will also get the extra treat of seeing the surrounding area ablaze with the bright reds, oranges, and yellows of the autumn leaves. It is quite a stunning sight.
Here’s a map from the U.S. Forest Service of a few of the larger falls along the Historic Columbia River Highway:
These represent just a handful of the popular falls to visit in the Columbia River Gorge — there are so many more to discover!
This video was shot and shared on YouTube by Amazing Places on Our Planet. This is one channel you definitely need to check out. There are hundreds of other beautiful, high-quality videos from around the world!
Looking for more “waterfalls near me” in the Columbia River Gorge region? It’s a veritable treasure trove! Here are some of our favorite falls for chasing on the Oregon side of this PNW wonder.
Waterfalls Near Me
In addition to the Columbia River Gorge, what are some other areas for waterfall chasing in Oregon?
Just because the Columbia River Gorge boasts the highest concentration of waterfalls in the entire country, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only place for waterfall chasing in Oregon. Quite the opposite! All across the state, you’ll find a marvelous array of cascades on our beaches, in our forests, and even in the so-called high desert!
One of our favorite places to view waterfalls in Oregon, outside of the Columbia River Gorge area, is Silver Falls State Park. This isn’t just one of the most beautiful state parks in the state — and often called the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks system — it’s also home to the Trail of Ten Falls, an amazing hike that leads to (you guessed it) no fewer than 10 fabulous falls! This beautiful trail makes a 7.2-mile loop through the beautiful old-growth forests of the Cascades. Along the way, you’ll pass by some of the most stunning waterfalls in the state (and country, to be honest), with South Falls the most spectacular, and the smaller North Falls and Middle Falls also oft-visited. Bring your camera and be prepared to get a little wet — you can actually walk behind several of the waterfalls along this trail, making for one of the most amazing waterfall chasing experiences of your life.
How many waterfalls are there in Oregon?
With more than 230 waterfalls in Oregon, you could spend years exploring all of them, and that’s a challenge we’d happily accept. As such, we’ve put together a few different guides to help you tackle your adventures here in the Beaver State. This road trip is a fun one that visits the best of the best falls across Oregon, and this adventure focuses on waterfall chasing in the Columbia River Gorge only.