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Best Waterfalls Near Portland, Oregon
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The Pacific Northwest is widely known for its astonishing beauty, and the myriad of waterfalls are some of the greatest attractions in the area. The waterfalls near Portland, Oregon, are remarkably breathtaking and certainly worth a visit while you’re in the region.

Stunning waterfalls line the steep river corridors of Oregon, but the most noteworthy are found within the Columbia River Gorge National Recreation Area. Some of the magnificent waterfalls near Portland even border the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Arguably one of the best places to experience the magic of the incredible waterfalls near Portland is at the Columbia River Gorge. Since 2022, visitors have been required to reserve a permit to spend time at some of the waterfalls at the gorge, including Multnomah Falls.

Obtaining such a permit is undoubtedly worth the effort, as the Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls are some of the most awe-inspiring sights you’ll ever find.

However, there are plenty of other sites that offer stunning waterfalls and even an outdoor adventure or two, including Mount Hood National Forest and Silver Falls State Park.

Since there are so many beautiful waterfalls near Portland, newcomers don’t always know where to start their journey. Therefore, we present you with a list of the best Portland waterfalls, so you are guaranteed an experience like no other.

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Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls

The Columbia River Gorge comprises the designated National Scenic Area, which reached depths of 4000 feet at some points.

The canyon stretches more than 80 miles westward and is famous for its wide selection of beautiful waterfalls. So if you’re in Oregon, The Columbia River Gorge is one of the best areas to view some of the best waterfalls near Portland.

The list below highlights some of the most noteworthy Columbia River Gorge waterfalls.

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Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls is set on the old site of a lumbar mill and showcases an immense waterfall of a hundred feet plummeting onto granite rock formations.

If you’re in the area, it is best to visit Bridal Veil Falls, Latourell Falls, Wahkeena Falls, and Multnomah Falls in one go to fully experience what the area has to offer.

Bridal Veil Falls offers a wonderful opportunity to see more of the Columbia River Gorge with a mild and easy waterfall hike through scenic surroundings.

The trailhead is adjacent to the Historic Columbia River Highway and goes down a steep slope to a stunning viewpoint, where the two-tier Bridal Veil Falls will keep you captivated for hours.

There are also two other hiking trails just off the Historic Columbia River Highway, of which one, the Overlook Trail, exposes mesmerizing views of the Columbia River Gorge.

As the setting around Bridal Veil Falls is an old lumber mill, you’ll still find some remnants of this time, but most have been consumed by nature.

Pack a picnic and lounge out by Bridal Veil Falls all day if you like. The view will certainly never cease to amaze.

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Imaged sourced from Flickr – Scott McCracken

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls has been described as the crown jewel of Portland waterfalls. This captivating waterfall is 620 feet tall and features two tiers.

Multnomah Falls is located in the Columbia River Gorge and can easily be reached from Portland, which is a mere 30 miles away.

Multnomah Falls draws over two million visitors annually, being the tallest waterfall near Portland and all of Oregon. Multnomah Falls is the most famous waterfall in the Pacific Northwest because of its sheer immensity and pure beauty.

The gorgeous pacific Northwest landscape just adds to the euphoria of Multnomah Falls, and with the lovely Benson Bridge and historic architecture in the background, it’s easy to see why this waterfall near Portland is so highly regarded.

Beyond the aesthetic elements of this waterfall, Multnomah Falls Lodge is a great place to stay and frequent the gift shop, restaurant, and coffee shop.

If you want to learn more about Multnomah Falls and the neighboring ecology, there is an interpretive center on-site that shares some valuable insights on the area.

Free People at the Benson Bridge Looking at the Multnomah Falls Stock Photo

Ponytail Falls and Horsetail Falls

Ponytail Falls and Horsetail Falls are two of the most popular waterfalls near Portland, and it’s easy to see why.

Both waterfalls are widely praised for their impeccable beauty and comfortable accessibility. Ponytail Falls is particularly extraordinary because it allows visitors to walk behind the waterfall.

Horsetail Falls can be seen falling to the earth at the Waterfall Corridor of the Historic Highway of the Columbia River Gorge.

The scenic roadside waterfall of Horsetail Falls can only be enjoyed if you apply for a permit in advance, and the massive pool fed by the majestic waterfall can even be seen from the parking lot. Set up your picnic on one of the provided tables next to Horsetail Falls for a delicious meal in breathtaking surroundings.

Horsetail falls also offers one of the best waterfall hikes you could hope for. Immediately adjacent to the water pool is the trail leading to Ponytail Falls, which is the upper region of the larger Horsetail Falls.

You can enjoy a short hike of less than half a mile to reach Ponytail Falls, which takes you on a journey through a half basalt tunnel.

File:Horsetail Falls (Multnomah County, Oregon, USA) 6 (20033458141).jpg

James St. John, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Latourell Falls

Latourelle Falls certainly deserves a spot on the list of the best waterfalls near Portland. Because it is set in the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge, you can expect nothing but world-class scenery.

As you move east from Vista House on the Historic Highway of the Columbia Gorge, you’ll come across the first noteworthy waterfall. A big perk of Latourell Falls is that you don’t require a permit to visit it as it’s not situated in the Waterfall Corridor Permit Zone like Multnomah Falls.

The scenery from the parking lot is already so mesmerizing that you’re advised to arrive early to get a spot amongst hundreds of other curious explorers.

A short hike will take you to the stunning lower falls, but if you’re up for a challenge, there is another hiking trail leading to Upper Latourell Falls, an area drenched in lush foliage.

Hiking to Upper Latourell Falls entails an elevation gain of 600 feet and opens to a world of wonder. You will find charming picnic areas and another parking lot when you follow the Latourell Falls Trailhead, which forms part of the Guy W. Talbot State Park.

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sightalks, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Fairy Falls and Wahkeena Falls

A short drive west of Multnomah Falls sits the majestic Wahkeena Falls, another fantastic waterfall off the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Most visitors opt for a trip to both Multnomah Falls and Wahkeena Falls in one visit, which can be done by driving down to the connecting trail or hiking the loop trail.

The incredible falls plunge down the whole mountainside, and the force of the Wahkeena falls can even be appreciated from the parking lot. You can experience Wahkeena Falls along with the smaller Fairy Falls by hiking less than half a mile up the hiking trail, where you’ll encounter a charming bridge perfect for some photo-worthy moments.

The hiking trail winds past the Wahkeena and Fairy Falls and concludes at the beautiful Lemmons Viewpoint, where you can take in the scenic views of the Columbia River Gorge.

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Image sourced from Flickr – U.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region

Dry Creek Falls

Dry Creek Falls plummets down the immense rock formations for 75 feet and can be reached by hiking up a beautiful section decorated with wildflowers and woods.

The unrivaled waterfall hiking trail starts at the Cascade Locks’ famous Bridge of the Gods and crosses paths with the Pacific Crest Trail.

Meandering along Dry Creek, the trail takes you to Dry Creek Falls, which is the ideal location for those seeking some tranquility and shaded grasslands. If you want to save yourself some time and effort, drive to the end of Dry Creek Road, which connects with the hiking trail.

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Matt Aden, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Punch Bowl Falls

Set on the lush Eagle Creek Trail, Punch Bowl Falls is one of the most beautiful and loved waterfalls near Portland. Although it only reaches 35 feet in height, the power and incredible beauty of Punch Bowl Falls attract thousands every year.

The awe of Punchbowl Falls is partly attributed to the Eagle Creek Trail itself, as this amazing waterfall hiking trail features several cliffside miles and connects with Wahtum Lake’s Pacific Crest Trail.

Holding a moderate elevation gain, Punch Bowl Falls is less than a two-mile hike up this trail. Once you reach Punch Bowl Falls, follow the Lower Punch Bowl Trail to get your share of creek beauty. You can also follow the Eagle Creek Trail to reach the impressive view of Punch Bowl Falls from a bit farther away.

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The original uploader was Onething1985 at English Wikipedia., Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

Waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park

Silver Falls State Park is set a mere hour away from Portland and plays host to some of the most extraordinary waterfalls you’ll ever find. The name is true to the reputation of Silver Falls State Park, as its waterfall selection is quite impressive.

Spread over 9000 acres, Silver Falls State Park is home to lovely campsites, picturesque wilderness, and idyllic hiking trails scattered among the pristine waterfalls.

The list below highlights some of the best waterfalls near Portland you’ll find in Silver Falls State Park.

File:Nature trail in the Silver Falls State Park campground.jpg

RickObst, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Trail of Ten Falls

Veteran explorers consider the Trail of ten Falls to offer some of the best Waterfall hikes in the state as it winds past ten breathtaking waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park. If you’re looking for a way to see as many waterfalls near Portland as possible, the Trail of Ten Falls is your best bet.

Most claim that South Falls is this trail’s crown jewel as it is the largest of all the waterfalls showcased on the Trail of Ten Falls.

Most visitors make use of the South Falls day usage area before moving on to the next waterfall. If you’re not up for a strenuous hike, Lower South Falls offers enough beauty to keep you inspired for hours.

Along the 7.8-mile Trail of Ten Falls, you’ll also encounter Middle North falls, Double Falls, and Drake Falls, which are all sure to impress.

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Crimsonmuse, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Abiqua falls

Abiqua Falls is one of the most exquisite waterfalls near Portland, as it features a very unique sight. Ancient lava flows settled to form large charcoal columns around the waterfall to make it look like an amphitheater, with Abiqua Falls as the star of the show.

A moderate 8-mile hike or a short drive will take you to this impressive waterfall, where you can spend hours reviving your body and mind in the peaceful surroundings of Abiqua Falls.

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Andy Witchger, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Waterfalls in Mount Hood National Forest

Stretched over thousands of acres of pristine wilderness landscape, Mount Hood National Forest is a wonderful base from which to visit some of the best waterfalls near Portland.

Mount Hood is a majestic mountain that towers over Mount Hood National Forest, home to countless incredible waterfalls you’ll be glad you visited.

Below are some of the must-see waterfalls situated in Mount Hood National Forest.

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Andy Barrett (User:Big Smooth), CC BY 2.5 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Ramona Falls

Romona Falls is situated close enough to the city to allow for easy access but far enough to ensure a relaxing trip of solitude and natural beauty.

Reaching this beautiful waterfall requires a hike through the dense wilderness, which is not recommended for those with poor fitness.

On the west end of Mount Hood, you’ll find the Ramona Falls Trailhead, located around 90 minutes from downtown Portland. Once you commence the hike, a lollipop loop will take you through vibrant forests to the Ramona Falls base, set on the Upper Sandy River.

The scenic Sandy River contributes to the challenging nature of the hike, as the unpredictable waters surge at varying forces depending on the season.

If you want to take on the hike to Ramona Falls, you’ll need to cross this fierce river, so this trail is not for the fainthearted but rather for avid adventure seekers.

File:Ramona Falls at Mount Hood Wilderness in Oregon 1.jpg

Jeffhollett, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Tamanawas Falls

Although the hike up to Tamanawas Falls is one of the easiest in Portland, expect the trail to surprise you as you near the end. This immense waterfall drops over a hundred feet to create a captivating curtain of water where the Cold Spring Creek plummets over a bed of rock to the base of Mount Hood.

Tamanawas Falls is particularly striking because visitors can walk behind the water and be immersed in the sheer power of the waterfall as they reach the grotto at the back.

To reach Tamanawas Falls, one must hike the trail of the Mount Hood National Forest, which spans across the Hood River and through the lush forest, to reveal this mesmerizing waterfall.

File:Cold Spring Creek at Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon 2.jpg

Jeffhollett, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

In Closing

It’s easy to see why Portland, Oregon, is considered such a national treasure when it comes to natural beauty.

Beyond the epic waterfalls that made this list, Portland is brimming with various other water giants, including Triple Falls, Tunnel Falls, Elowah Falls, and Wahclella Falls, which all offer their fair share of awe.

However, if you’re only in town for a couple of days and want to make the most of it, the Portland waterfalls mentioned above guarantee an unforgettable experience among some of nature’s best work. Hopefully, you have enough information to plan an unparalleled trip to Portland you’ll look back on with nostalgia and appreciation.