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Best Waterfall Hikes Near Portland, Oregon - Updated 2020

waterfall hikes in portland
Divya
Divya
Updated

The city of Portland, the largest in the state of Oregon, is one of the greenest cities in the world with over 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) of verdant pastures. The amiable summers and cool, rainy winters of Portland make the city ideal for those looking to spend time outdoors. Mountains, rivers, and waterfalls are all within close proximity to Portland, making the city a great base from which visitors and locals alike can explore outdoor activities and spend time amidst nature. From the novice hikers to the most experienced, there are plenty of hiking trails available for all levels, many offering panoramic views of the mountains and if you are lucky, a glacier-capped Mount Hood. Read on to find our favorite waterfall hikes near Portland to plan your next Oregon adventure.

1. Ponytail Falls

Ponytail Falls at Columbia River Gorge in Oregon 1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jeffhollett used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Starting nice and easy, the hike to Ponytail Falls is the simplest one along the Columbia River Gorge. You will see two waterfalls along your trail and lush vegetation during the autumn months and you could even choose to add this hike on to the Horsetail Falls Loop Hike and Triple Falls Hike for some added intensity.

Ponytail Falls

Waterfall height: 54 metres (177 feet)

Access: Start at Horsetail Falls Trailhead and end at Ponytail Falls

Distance of hike: 0.8 miles (1.2 km) roundtrip

Elevation gain: 109 metres (360 feet)

Difficulty of hike: Easy

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2. Ramona Falls

MtHoodWilderness Ramona Falls
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user [Unknown] used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A hike of moderate intensity, the walk to reach Ramona Falls begins on the base of Mt. Hood from Sandy River. The hiking route is an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and is best accessed from April to October. The trail is dog-friendly, as long as the pets are kept on their leash.

Ramona Falls

Waterfall height: 1085 metres (3559 feet)

Access: Start at Ramona Falls Trailhead and end at Ramona Falls

Distance of hike: 7.1 miles (11.4 km) roundtrip

Elevation gain: 315 metres (1035 feet)

Difficulty of hike: Moderate

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3. Punch Bowl Falls

Punch Bowl Falls
Source: Photo by Flickr user Alan used under CC BY 2.0

The easy hike to Punch Bowl Falls is a family and child-friendly activity (10 years and above only) and can be accessed all year round. Several different options for hikes begin at Eagle Creek, but this one is a local favorite for the beautiful scenery along the route and the wonderfully refreshing swimming hole that awaits you at the end.

Punch Bowl Falls

Waterfall height: 11 metres (36 feet)

Access: Start at Eagle Creek Trailhead Road and end at Punch Bowl Falls

Distance of hike: 3.8 miles (6.1 km) roundtrip

Elevation gain: 500 metres (1640 feet)

Difficulty of hike: Easy

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4. Trail of Ten Falls

Upper North Falls
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ian Sane used under CC BY 2.0

The Trail of Ten Falls is located in the Silver Falls State Park, Oregon’s largest State Park and the location for the most magnificent landscapes and waterfall day-hikes. This hike, as the name suggests, boasts 10 different waterfalls along its route and they are all located along the Canyon Trail portion of the hike. Through natural rock formations and lush rainforest scenery, you will see Double Falls on Hullt Creek, Middle North Falls and South Falls, one of the most photographed waterfalls in Oregon.

Trail of Ten Falls

Waterfall height: 54 metres (177 feet)

Access: Start at Eagle Creek Trailhead Road and end at Upper North Falls

Distance of hike: 7.8 miles (12.5 km) roundtrip

Elevation gain: 396 metres (1300 feet)

Difficulty of hike: Moderate

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Portland, Western Oregon, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Portland, Western Oregon, US

5. Multnomah Falls

Multnomah falls, oregon
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Woo used under CC BY 2.0

Multnomah Falls is the highest waterfall in the state of Oregon. Just a 30-minute drive from Portland, it is a gushing display of the finest natural beauty. The Falls separates into three different drops (the upper falls, the main falls, and the lower falls) and is easily the most recognizable waterfall in Oregon. You will enjoy the water spray from the cascading icy waters and the steep cliffs of Benson Bridge provide stunning views of the surrounding mountain landscape. Keep in mind that the paved trail portion to the top of the Falls is filled with crowds; we recommend getting there before 9 am for a peaceful hike.

Multnomah Falls

Waterfall height: 189 metres (620 feet)

Access: Start at Multnomah Falls Trailhead and end at Multnomah Falls Upper Viewpoint; Parking can be found at I-84 Multnomah Falls Exit 31

Distance of hike: 2.4 miles (3.8 km) roundtrip

Elevation gain: 265 metres (870 feet)

Difficulty of hike: Moderate

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Portland, Western Oregon, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Portland, Western Oregon, US

6. Wiesendanger Falls

Wiesendanger Falls
Source: Photo by Flickr user Byron Hetrick used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Located upstream along Multnomah Falls, the Wiesendanger Falls is one to venture towards if you would aim to beat the crowds that gather at Benson Bridge to view the Multnomah Falls. We recommend using the Larch Mountain trail, which although sitting at an elevation of 1219 meters (4000 feet). Its steepness is gradual and constant and the trail will lead you to Dutchman Falls, Wiesendanger Falls, Ecola Falls, and ultimately Larch Mountain.

Wiesendanger Falls

Waterfall height: 15 metres (50 feet)

Access: Start at Multnomah Falls Trailhead and end at Sherrard Point (Larch Mountain)

Distance of hike: 14.4 miles (23.1 km) roundtrip

Elevation gain: 1219 metres (4000 feet)

Difficulty of hike: Difficult

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Portland, Western Oregon, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Portland, Western Oregon, US

7. Wahkeena Falls

Wahkeena Falls (7823888634)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user John Fowler used under CC BY 2.0

You can choose to begin your hike at either the Wahkeena or Multnomah Falls trailhead, with the Multnomah Falls getting you past the crowds first. Follow the signs for the loop as Wahkeena Creek twists along a narrow defile. End your hike at Lemmons Viewpoint but make sure to trek to the upper tier of Wahkeena Falls known as The Necktie, which may not be for kids or dogs, but provides unique views of this beautiful waterfall.

Wahkeena Falls

Waterfall height: 73 metres (242 feet)

Access: Start at Wahkeena Trailhead and end at Lemmons Viewpoint

Distance of hike: 1.4 miles (2.2 km) round trip to Lemmons Viewpoint; 0.4 miles (0.6 km) round trip to Wahkeena Falls

Elevation gain: 172 metres (565 feet)

Difficulty of hike: Moderate

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Portland, Western Oregon, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Portland, Western Oregon, US

8. Latourell Falls

Latourell Falls
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Cacophony used under CC BY 2.5

Latourell Falls provides a family and novice-friendly hike. This photogenic single plunge waterfall is accessible throughout the year, barring winter storms. Visits during the summer might be less desirable as the water flow is very low but the icy freeze of the winter waters can also be harsh. Start at the Latourell Falls Trailhead and hike to Latourell Creek and then to Upper Latourell Falls before walking down to the state park picnic area.

Latourell Falls

Waterfall height: 76 metres (249 feet)

Access: Start at Latourell Falls Trailhead and end at Upper Latourell Falls

Distance of hike: 2.4 miles (3.2 km)

Elevation gain: 190 metres (625 feet)

Difficulty of hike: Easy

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Portland, Western Oregon, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Portland, Western Oregon, US

9. Bridal Veil Falls

Kayaker at Bridal Veil Falls 3
Source: Photo by user McD22 used under CC BY 2.0

The hike to Bridal Veil Falls is accessible to families with children and the route, beginning from a trailhead right off the Columbia River Highway takes you through some narrow pathways and steep climbs but ends at the Falls with a wide viewing platform. The viewing point provides picturesque views of this two-tier fall and engaging sights from the clifftop overlooking the Columbia River Gorge, making the hike all the more worthy.

Bridal Veil Falls

Waterfall height: 35 metres (118 feet)

Access: Start at Bridal Veil Trailhead and end at Bridal Veil Falls

Distance of hike: 1.4 miles (2.2 km)

Elevation gain: 62 metres (205 feet)

Difficulty of hike: Easy

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Portland, Western Oregon, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Portland, Western Oregon, US

10. Tunnel Falls

Towering Tunnel Falls
Source: Photo by Flickr user Calvin Hodgson used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Those who are lucky enough to visit Tunnel Falls should not miss an opportunity to do so. Take this unique hike from Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls. As the name suggests the hile is through a tunnel located behind a beautiful waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge. While you walk along the cliffside trail you will be surrounded by lush forests and other waterfalls. The hike is arguably the most magnificent trail on the Columbia River Gorge. You will take in the very best of Oregon’s nature, visiting bubbling streams, talus slopes, and unique geologic formations along the way.

Tunnel Falls

Waterfall height: 40 metres (130 feet)

Access: Start at Eagle Creek Trailhead and end at Tunnel Falls

Distance of hike: 12 miles (19 km) roundtrip

Elevation gain: 500 metres (1640 feet)

Difficulty of hike: Moderate

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Portland, Western Oregon, US and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Portland, Western Oregon, US

Weekend escapes from Portland

Just a short and convenient drive away from Portland lies magical mountains and landscapes of the Columbia River Gorge area and the Tualatin Mountains. Escape the city for hikes that are ideal for day trips and weekend escapes. Explore the trails, the magnificent waterfalls, overpowering cliffs, and the flourishing forests with friends and family for outdoor adventures. Hikers should ensure they have the most up to date information on weather and trail conditions before they set out on their journey.

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Divya comes from an academic background having studied economics and public policy and worked in research and writing roles for the past 8 years. Divya's off-duty passion for travel has led her to...Read more

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