Have you ever been to a place that kept pulling you back? You visit again and again and never get sick of it. It constantly shows you new things, there are new surprises, and you uncover something else you love about it with each visit?

One of those places for me is Oregon. I will be honest—I accidentally fell in love with Oregon. I’ve always been more fascinated with places outside of the US. Traveling the US was reserved for when I was old and gray and couldn’t do long haul flights anymore. Then I met my boyfriend, an Oregonian, and I fell in love. Twice. With him and his State.

Being from Florida, when I thought of Oregon, I thought of crappy gloomy weather and that’s about it. But there’s so much more now that I’ve spent three summers in a row visiting, with more visits planned each year (van life road trip is coming up soon!).

We explore Oregon for a few months each year and are blown away by the beauty and adventure each time. We love the State so much, we started an Oregon adventure website to share everything we do with anyone else wanting to visit. Gloomy ‘ol Portland doesn’t even scratch the surface when thinking about visiting!

So let’s get down to one of the incredible things on offer here, Oregon waterfalls! I mean, who doesn’t love a good waterfall, right?

Here are some of our favorite waterfalls to visit in Oregon, all of them requiring a bit of a hike to get to. So grab your hiking shoes, a bottle of water, and maybe a raincoat too, and let’s go!

Best Waterfalls in Oregon Near Portland

Portland is a great place to base yourself for exploring the Mount Hood, Bagby Springs, and Columbia River Gorge area. There are a million places to stay and you’ll be in the thick of it in one of the country’s weirdest cities. Despite being a megacity, there are tons of opportunities to immerse yourself in nature and hike around Portland.

It has everything from grungy hostels to luxury hotels.

BUT there are also much cooler places just outside of Portland that offers a better location in terms of being closer to the waterfalls and other natural spots the State offers.

A cool and quirky place we stayed in was in a yurt at the base of Mount Hood. Camping is also a great option, it’s so much cheaper and you won’t have to be driving in and out of the city every day. Check availability here

Note: Before exploring any of the waterfalls and trails in the Columbia River Gorge, it’s important you check the status of the trails. There was a tragic fire in 2017 and the area has yet to fully recover. You can check for trail info here. The hikes below were open at the time of writing but there may be detours and side paths that have not reopened yet.

1. Wahkeena Falls To Multnomah Falls

  • Distance: 8 miles
  • Type of hike: Loop
  • Difficulty: Hard

I know most people reading will have heard of Multnomah, and while it’s on EVERYONE’s list, and is beautiful, how about taking it a bit further and getting away from the crowd? If that’s more your thing, then head up the trails at Multnomah, weaving in and out of the hoards that visit this waterfall.

After a few minutes, the crowds start to thin out and before you know it, the only thing you can hear is Mother Nature. I’d suggest downloading Maps.Me or Alltrails for this trail as there are many detours and side paths and things can get confusing fast. Wahkeena, Fairy Falls, Ecola Falls, and many more waterfalls will be along this trail, so you’ll literally be chasing waterfalls for around eight miles.

2. Dry Creek Falls

  • Distance: 4.4 miles
  • Type of hike: Out and back
  • Difficulty: Easy

While the name does not drum up any excitement, this is actually a great waterfall in Oregon for two reasons—It’s beautiful and not as popular as many of the others along the Columbia River Gorge.

There are a few steep spots here and there but otherwise, the trail is quite easy. You’ll see some remanence of the forest fires here, burnt up stumps and ghostly rows of naked tree trunks, but the trail itself is safe. Eventually, you’ll turn the corner and see Dry Creek Falls gushing over a basalt cliffside.

3. Tamanawas Falls

  • Distance: 3.2 miles
  • Type of hike: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This is one of the coolest waterfalls near Mount Hood and one of our favorites. After scampering through a forest, then climbing around some rocks, you’ll finally come around a bend, and see Tamanawas Falls in the distance.

The hike is rated as moderate but it’s really not that bad, I saw kids on this hike, so don’t be intimidated; it’s surely worth a visit. There are gorgeous wildflowers depending on what time of the year you come at the base of the falls.

If you want to get a bit closer, you can climb behind the waterfalls using the rocks to the right of the falls. You’ll get a bit wet but it’s very cool!

Note: Nottingham Campgrounds is a favorite campsite of ours and it’s down the road from Tamanwas Falls. Your tent will be set along a stream and you’ll get your own fire pit and picnic table.

Best Waterfalls in Oregon Near Bend

We love Bend. It’s actually where we are based when we are in Oregon. And seriously, without bias, it’s the best (OK fine, I’m sure there’s some bias there). This gorgeous city is surrounded by mountains and beauty and couldn’t be better located for adventure lovers.

As mentioned with Portland, there are some really perfectly located campgrounds in Bend, and if you’re up for it, looking to save a few bucks, and don’t want to drive back and forth, then camping is the answer.

4. Tumalo Falls

  • Distance: 6.5 miles
  • Type of hike: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Here’s a favorite waterfall in Oregon for anyone visiting Bend, and I have a little secret too.

You can cheat. But we suggest you don’t!

This waterfall can be seen from the parking lot. Well, at least the main waterfall can. There’s a viewing platform a whole three steps away from where you parked your car. Many people come here, snap a pic and leave. No judgments here, but if you make the drive out here (part of which is on a dirt road), then why not explore a bit more?

There’s a very faint trail that takes you directly up and close to the waterfall, another that takes you to the top, and then continuing along Tumalo Falls path will bring you to a few smaller waterfalls along the way.

Note: You share this path with bikers.

5. Toketee Falls

  • Distance: .8 miles
  • Type of hike: Out and Back
  • Difficulty: Easy

This one is just too easy and the reward is great. About a half a mile down a dirt path, you’ll be greeted with one of the prettiest and most famous waterfalls in Oregon, Toketee.

It’s a great one to visit but the vibe is ruined just a tad. There’s a viewing platform to the side of the falls—I usually prefer everything to be “fully in nature” but it’s a busy spot so they had to put the platform in. It’s definitely still worth a visit though. This one is the furthest from Bend, so maybe hit this one up on the way south towards Umpqua National Park (which has even more waterfalls to see).

Note: You’ll see many gorgeous pictures of this waterfall with a “head on” frame. Please don’t do this. This picture requires you to jump a fence and climb down sketchy rocks—not only is it prohibited but people have died doing it.

6. Koosah and Sahalie Falls

  • Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Type of hike: Easy
  • Difficulty: Loop

Two for one, isn’t that always a great thing?

And if you’re in a rush, there’s a way to cheat at this waterfall too. Both waterfalls have parking lots very close to each of the falls. You could hop out, take a look, drive to the next one, and hop out again. But that isn’t as much fun! So if you’re looking to stretch your legs, do the full two-mile loop.

7. Proxy Falls

  • Distance: 1.6 miles
  • Type of hike: Loop
  • Difficulty: Easy

Ah, the best for last! Well, at least for me that is. This waterfall in Oregon is a photographer’s dream. Dreamy cascading water, a perfectly placed log that lays in front of the falls, verdant foliage adorning the rocks… Like, what else do you want?

Oh, and it’s less than a mile through a cool volcanic rock forest? If there’s one waterfall to go to in Oregon, Proxy Falls is it. Don’t expect to get this place to yourself though, it’s no secret.

Tips for Chasing Waterfalls in Oregon

  • Make sure you wear proper hiking shoes.
  • The shoulder season is a winner! Most gorgeous waterfalls in Oregon are not a secret by any means and summers mean a lot of people.
  • You’ll need a car to get around. That goes for pretty much anywhere in the US really. Check Sixt for rental options.
  • Some waterfalls require a Northwest Pass ($30) or a $5 day pass. More info here.
  • Portland and Bend are great spots to base yourself in for doing almost anything in the State but the campgrounds in Oregon often are in INCREDIBLE locations and can mean you spend less time driving and more time exploring. Bring your campervan or tent and stay out of the cities, if that’s your thing.
  • Downloading an offline map like Maps.Me would be wise just so you can keep track of where you are. Most of the trails are pretty straight forward but it’s even handy to have for driving when you lose service.
  • Double-check road conditions if you come out in the shoulder season or during Oregon’s winter. Some of the roads to these falls close in adverse weather conditions.

Which of these Oregon waterfalls are you chasing first? Let us know in the comments!

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