My top 10 waterfalls near Portland

I’m really missing Portland right now and all of its amazing-ness. We were lucky enough to spend 6 months there, we watched Spring turn into summer and then into fall. We really made the most of our time there and tried to see as much as we could. Between the breweries, visits from friends and family, and the hiking, we kept pretty busy. With the Colombia river gorge being only 45 mins away we saw a lot of waterfalls so here are my top 10 (all but 2 of these are in the gorge)…


10. Bridal Veil Falls

This one I visited with my sister. It a pretty one but the view is from above. If you want to go in you have to climb down some rocks. The trail is pretty short and is downhill on the way there and all uphill the way back. This one is pretty popular because it’s so short and it’s easy to get to.


9. Latourell Falls

This one I liked because you could get in the water easily and even if you weren’t in the water, you were still getting sprayed. There are 2 trails- up and down. The way down was real short, we didn’t go up.

8. Horsetail falls

This one I saw a bunch of times, it’s right off the road so I drove by it on the way to the Oneonta gorge and Multonomah falls. I took my aunt there, she wasn’t able to walk around, but she could see it pretty well from the road! This one is especially nice for someone who cannot walk long distances. There is a parking lot right across the street, there is actual stone pathway, and even benches. If they can walk down a few stairs, they can even put their feet in the chilly waters. I went swimming in this one and believe me the water is always cold.


7. Butte creek falls

This one about an hour and a half south of Portland. It was a tough one to find, and a steep dirt road to get there. My cousin and his friends actually told us about it, we were supposed to meet there but they ended up getting really lost, we passed them on the way out. I liked it because it was so secluded, there was only 1 other car there. It’s a 1 or 2 mile hike and there are 2 different waterfalls you see. This is a nice one to get your feet wet in, Wiles enjoyed splashing around in it.

6. Pony tail falls

This one is on a hike from Horsetail falls. It’s not a large waterfall but I loved that you could walk behind it!

5. Punch bowl Falls

The hike was about 2 or 3 miles with beautiful views. At one point the trail gets narrow on an edge of a cliff and there is a chain rail on the rock to hold onto. This would have been a great one to swim in, if it had been a tad warmer outside.

4. Elowah Falls

This one was great, easy to get to and not a lot of people. We took this one slow and just really enjoyed it. When we got close to the waterfall Wiles heard it and got so excited. I let him off leash and he ran right in!

3. Sawmill falls (opal creek)

OMG this whole place is amazing! I could have spent a week there (actually you can, there are cabins there). Crystal clear turquoise water everywhere, lots of waterfalls and hiking. We went out to opal creek and it was like a 6 mile round trip hike. This area does get pretty busy, we had to walk like a half mile to the car, but it’s such a large area that it doesn’t really feel crowded. We were actually the only ones when we got to Sawmill falls. Also in this area is a waterfall you can waterslide down! Sawmill falls is kinda tucked away off the main path, if we didn’t have a map, we would have missed it. There are a lot of rocks to climb down to get a good view but we were fine with the dog too. I wanted so badly to jump in this one but it was just the start of the hike and I didn’t want to get wet yet. I waited until the waterfall slide and opal creek.


2. Wahclella Falls

Dan refers to this waterfall as “Jurassic Park”. This area really looked like it was from the movie. We went in fall and everything was so green and covered with moss! This was the last waterfall we saw during our stay in Portland. I didn’t want to leave!


1. Oneonta gorge

Oh the Oneonta gorge! This spot will forever hold a special place in my heart. Now I know this place gets crazy busy in the summer but it’s no wonder why. It starts by climbing over a large log jam, which is pretty intimidating at first. Then a half mile hike through a stream, at one place is up to your chest (of course it’s worse in the spring and fall). And finally at the end you are rewarded by a gorgeous waterfall! This was our go-to hike for taking visitors because of how breathtaking this is! Dan and I took 3 people here, and each time it was different. I prefer to go in the fall, as this place just gets more magical when you aren’t surrounded by people (and you get used to the cold pretty fast). When you leave the gorge, you come out with such a rush of endorphins. You get wet, you get muddy, you feel victorious after conquering the log jam… can’t beat this hike.




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