Is visiting Oregon on your Bucket List? If so, these are some must-see waterfalls that you, well, must. see. Be careful, though, you
may will fall in love with this stunningly gorgeous state and may not want to leave!
Must See Waterfalls in Oregon
Oregon’s scenery never gets boring: it’s green for a good portion of the year, there are mountains, and waterfalls galore. If you get bored here, you aren’t trying hard enough to find adventure!
Multnomah Falls is probably the most famous Oregon waterfall on this list. I haven’t been in quite a few years, but I remember the “hike” being relatively easy. The walkway was paved, and the view from the bridge is so stunning. Located just about a half an hour outside of Portland, this 611-foot-tall cascade of water displays the beauty of Oregon’s nature up close and personal – without a dangerous, rocky hike. The fact that the walk is paved makes it even better for small children and elderly visitors.
According to Native American lore, Multnomah Falls was created to win the heart of a young princess who wanted a hidden place to bathe. Now that’s some effort to put in!
You may be wondering when is the best time to visit Multnomah Falls. Truth be told, it’s amazing to see year round, but Springtime is probably the “best” if you have a choice (like if you’re a local). The rain and snowmelt push the waterfall to its max volume. The wildflowers and greenery are in full bloom, and the weather is perfect. Some others may say Summertime is best, but it’s always busy during this time so for me, Spring wins; though the falls being encased in ice during the winter sure are a sight to see.
Another super-famous waterfall in Oregon, Toketee Falls is a short (less than a mile) roundtrip hike with lots to see along the way. You’ll need to hop a fence to get there, but it’s worth it. The 113-foot-tall waterfall is the result of the North Umpqua River carving a gorge out of the lava flow. Toketee Falls is one of the waterfalls that flows even through the summer.
With 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor, Toketee Falls is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. This hike isn’t quite as easy as the paved Multnomah, though it’s a well-maintained trail and kid- and dog-friendly. You’ll want to make sure you have your hiking boots/shoes on, and bring a walking stick if you’re unsteady. There are several stairs, too.
Close to Hood River with easy access right off Highway 35, Tamanawas Falls is worth a stop if you’re in the area. Heck, even if you aren’t in the area, it’s worth a drive to see the beauty of Tamanawas.
You’ll want to wear your hiking boots and bring a walking stick on this trail. The hike isn’t super difficult, but the trail is a bit rocky – and it’s a 4-mile round trip. It’s decently shaded and not usually too crowded – often referred to as a “hidden gem”. Pack water and some snacks!
Psst… keep an eye out for the gnomes and fairies! 😉
Bring your binoculars and take a 20 minute drive from downtown Portland to the uniquely breathtaking Willamette Falls. Described as “sometimes angry sometimes peaceful but always interesting”, it’s definitely worth the short drive past beautiful scenery and historical houses to see the jumping fish and the birds. Packed with history, these falls were once a trading spot for many Indigenous tribes, it was a source of electricity for Portland in the 1800s, and it provides passage of annual salmon spawning.
The best viewpoint of Willamette Falls is on Hwy 99E just past Oregon City. There’s a small parking lot and viewing area. You’ll see the best flow in the Winter and Spring, but any day is a good day to visit Willamette Falls! Learned all of this on TripAdvisor!
Willamette Falls kind of reminds me of our visit to Thor’s Well.
Tips for Visiting Oregon Waterfalls
Some waterfalls are tucked away, while others are famous and very touristy. Do your research and visit early morning or late afternoon during the week, if possible. Weekends tend to be the most crowded.
Check road conditions before traveling. If there’s ice on the road, the park or area may be closed due to those weather and/or road conditions.
Some waterfalls dry up during the summer, so check local Facebook groups before you go if you’re really set on seeing the falls.
If you’re hiking, also be sure to check current trail conditions. Sometimes trails are closed due to damage or improvements being made.
Dress appropriately. It gets a little chillier near the waterfalls, and of course, in the winter it’s freezing cold – so bundle up!
Always pack water, even if you don’t plan on being gone for very long. Anything can happen.
Don’t stop exploring just because you reached the waterfall. Many waterfalls have amazing parks, hikes, or other mini-waterfalls to discover along and near the paths you’ve taken. Keep your eyes open and look around for other photo opps. 😉
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