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November 29, 2023


  • June 19, 2018
  • 16 min read

Have you watched the Goonies, Kindergarten cop or Untraceable? Also, the famous three pet movie Homeward Bound left the viewers in awe with some picturesque backgrounds. Have you ever wondered about where the scenes were shot? Well, the scenes were shot in the location of the coastal US state of Oregon.

The backdrops were set in the cities of Oregon such as Portland and Bend. Many other films choose to shoot in such scenic places as the marvellous state of Oregon is home to refreshing sights of mother nature. One will also find some of the best waterfalls in Oregon. There are many waterfalls in Oregon. They are an extraordinary sight as the waterfalls look like an unstoppable cascading white screen. These waterfalls are strong competitors to the seven natural wonders of the world.

7 Best Waterfalls in Oregon

Oregon Waterfalls Map

The state of Oregon receives heavy rainfall and harsh winters. It is also well known for its mighty mountain ranges and steep hills. Due to the perfect blend of water and steepness, one can find a vast array of waterfalls. Many of the falls seek occupancy in the state and tourists flock to experience a wonderful time near these falls. Although, some falls belong here a blog wouldn’t be sufficient to describe the charm and allure of so many natural divinities. To help you plan your journey across the falls, we have established the top ten best waterfalls in Oregon.

1. Multnomah Falls


Topping our list is the magical Multnomah Falls. These Oregon waterfalls are a just 30-minute drive from the city of Portland. These falls roar 611 feet running downwards forming a cascade of icy water. You can confront the powerful roars from up close and easily. If you choose to drive up to the hills, only a five-minute walk will separate you from the spectacle and its spray.

Legends have it that the falls were created to win the heart of a young princess who wanted a hidden place to bathe. It indeed is a hidden gem as one has to view both the tires to the viewing spots. Moreover, one can get a mindblowing sight of the magnificent falls within the narrow confines of the cliffs.

The unique feature is that the falls do not dry up in summer as the rainwater, underground sprinkles and melting snow, are food for the falls. Take your sweaters or coats as you’re sure to feel the chills from its waters. What’s more about these Oregon waterfalls in Portland? Pets are allowed at the viewing point but have to remain leashed.

After a splendid time, at the viewpoint, you can seek shelter at the base, Multnomah Falls Lodge. The historic building offers a restaurant, in-house gift shop and details on hiking.

Moreover, artists often seek inspiration from these falls. They choose to sit long hours working on a portrait of Multnomah. Such is the beauty of the falls, it roars and still makes for a perfect silent setting for an artist to complete the venture.

How to get to the falls?

You’ve got three choices:

    • A 30-minute direct route from Portland. You will have to take l-84 eastbound for 30 miles. Then follow the path under the highway. You would find some signs that pave the way to the viewpoint.
    • From Portland take l-84 again to exit 28, drive 3 miles east to the Colombia River George Highway, and the signs will take you to the viewpoint of the Multnomah Oregon Waterfalls.
  • Finally, one of the most scenic ways to the viewpoint is the route to Troutdale exit. Follow various signs for the drive along the Colombia River Highway. You will come across the Historic Colombia Gorge, Mount Hood and other famous waterfalls leading the way to your destination.

2. Salt Creek Falls


The impressive and mighty Salt Creek Falls dives over 300 feet thick from the Fuji Mountain and Mount Yoran. These falls were a result of active Glacial actions. The falls remain Oregon’s second tallest single drop falls at 286 feet. Here you would be required to show the northwest forest pass and keep your pets on a leash if you wish to travel with them to the falls. You will also encounter on the way to the viewpoints and the falls many restrooms and interpretive signs that speak about the origin of these falls.

Moreover, you can drive down to these falls for a calm and peaceful picnic to fill your lungs with unpolluted air. These waterfalls in Oregon are just a 75-minute drive from the city of Bend, Oregon. You may also drive down to these falls from Oakridge.

How to reach the falls?

If you drive down from Oakridge go towards the east on Hwy 58 for 22 miles and you will see a sign on your right directing you to the Salt Creel Waterfalls in Oregan. However, this way requires you to show the Northwest Forest Pass, or you may choose to 5 dollars for a  parking spot. The parking lot remains closed during the winter months due to the snow.

3. Willamette Falls


The existence of the horseshoe-shaped block Willamette falls was recorded by fur traders. At the beginning of the 18th century, the falls powered the earliest mills that contributed to the growth of the region. These waterfalls are one of the most prominent Oregon waterfalls featuring as the most significant falls in the state and the 6th largest in the US. It dates back 8 thousand years and drops thirty-five feet from the Willamette Valley. These falls were caused due to a basalt shelf in the river bottom.

Most people don’t know about its rich history. Don’t just watch the falls for a few minutes and leave. Make it a point to learn the cultural background behind the falls. Visit the well-established foundation of the museum dedicated to the history of the falls. You can find this museum along the oldest canal system in the US. It offers an insight into the developments that came up due to the falls and the story of the falls being a fishing spot for the Native Americans. Moreover, tourists will also find rear villages of the Clackamas Chinook on the east and the west costs of the Willamette River.

How to get to the falls?

Viewpoints are located along the highway 99E just South of the city of Oregon. Also, one can take the interstate 205. The former mode would draw a closer look at the falls. However, the latter one is on a higher altitude, which provides the sight of surrounding sceneries.

4. National Creek Falls.


Who doesn’t love a refreshing sight of a waterfall? And Oh boy! Southern Oregon caters to that need. The 0.7-mile trail of the National Creek Falls is located west of Crater Lake National Park and form a part of the waterfalls in Southern Oregon. It also ranks in one of the highly photogenic Oregon Waterfalls. Thus, it remains a photographers paradise.

If you wish to look down from the falls, you will feast your eyes to thriving greenery. These falls have a constant flow, and one can visit the falls during any time of the year. These falls occur just where spring-fed creek diverges and dives about 40 feet for twisted ledges. The sprinkles of water are intense up close. Also one can only view the falls clearly upon crossing the creek.

How to get there?

The falls are accessible by reaching 5.8 miles north on reaching the intersection of both the highways of 62 and 230 to FR 6530. A trail dropping down would be visible at a distance of just half a mile.

5. Spirit Falls


There are some splendid Waterfalls in Eugene Oregon. Just when you thought you’d seen the most breathless sights, the waterfalls in this region would set you back. The waterfalls remain close to a small town (Cottage Grove). You will find the Spirit falls cascading 60 feet into a secluded pool at the tip of a short trail which is 0.4 miles.

The falls are surrounded by an old growth forest and if you are lucky you would spot a black swift. The black swift is a native bird, and the best time to sight one remain the months of June and July.  Additionally, you would have to be forced to take your eyes away from the glimpse of 3 aesthetically flowing Oregon waterfalls. This sight is well worth the drive even if you are located at a distance.

Driving to the falls:

These Oregon waterfalls are a 3-hour journey from Portland. You require to take the exit 174 from I-5. After 4 miles head towards the east, Row River Road which splits off to the Shoreview on the Eastern side. Head to the Forest Service road 17 by continuing on NF 17. After which you need to take a left which automatically takes you to the signboard naming the falls.

6. Young River Falls


Located in Astoria, Northern Oregon, The Young River Falls are a reminder that nature will indeed take care of itself. It was discovered in 1792 by William Robert. The river flows 54 feet down a valley into a pool held by strong gravel bars. The base of these falls is just 10 feet above sea level. The falls haven’t been kept clean for a long time. Nonetheless, the falls remain a favourite place for the locals to recreate and swim in leisure.

Due to its fame and proximity to the city of Astoria, the falls became the background for several movies such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3.

Photography Tips:

If you are a photographer, these Oregon Waterfalls would be your place of worship. At the Young River Falls, you will not require a particular focal lens. However, A longer focal lens is necessary to capture to capture a well-framed shot of the falls from the parking spot. As the falls face the north, direct sunlight only hits its surface during May to July. This is the best time to get a sparkling snapshot of the gushing falls.

7. Silver Falls State Park


Regarded as the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Park system, helps Oregon achieve its repute in the National and International levels. Located south-east of the city of Salem, the south falls hold the Silver falls city at the top. Owing to its reach and beauty, President Franklin D Roosevelt announced these falls as a recreational site for its visitors.

The origination of the falls began through the well expanded Ocean waters. These waters flooded the Columbia River and carved their ways through the basalt rocks, eroding the softer layers of the sand. Thus, the falls never dry up, and you may choose to visit the falls during any time of the year.

How to get to these Oregon waterfalls?

You will find your way to the Silver Falls by getting on highway 22 running from Bend to the coast. Then, head east from Salem to take Exit 7. You will reach a stop sign, after which you must continue on Highway 22 and finally follow the sings that would lead you to the charming Oregon waterfalls. However, one must take care as you would encounter many trucks and farm vehicles that speed through the Highways.

Famous Sites in Oregon

The scenic Crater Lake Waterpark

By now we know that Oregon has some of the worlds best waterfalls to offer to its visitors. The list of the Oregon waterfalls remains endless. However, Oregon shelters not just these waterfalls but also encompasses some striking variety of attractions that host many adventure sports.

Oregon is bordered by few underdeveloped and unknown coastlines almost mostly overshadowed by the fame of its waterfalls. One of Oregon’s main cities Portland is often regarded as the most livable cities. It possesses one of the most progressive cultures and laws that offer a comfortable stay for its foreign visitors and a peaceful environment for its residents.

Moreover, Oregon hosts the most active volcanos in the world such as Mount Hood. The incredible Crater Lake Waterpark and Carter lake also showcase its beauty in this state. Additionally, the Timberline Lodge and ski area on the active Mount Hood features some of the most thrilling and unique high-alpine mountain adventures.

Best hikes in Oregon

Now you can tick a hike in Oregon off your bucket list. Owing to many spectacular natural settings one can enjoy many adventure sports that include many hikes along the waterfalls. For a better understanding and learning of the hikes, we have categorized the falls into 3 Easy, Moderate and Difficult.

Oregon cost trail: Level: Difficult

The Oregon cost trails are the most scenic coastline in the US.  In the mid 19th century there was only one route to St Louis. The trails were natures self-creation by the frequent travels of people moving westward in search of gold and farmlands. Today the trails prevail to tell the story of America’s economic and Social expansion. Do not travel the trails alone as you may face many challenges that may require professional guidance.

Hiking: Along this 382-mile cost, hikers must cross sandy beaches, wander through thick forests and walk up the headlands. Most of the trek remains on the beach; only a few routes take you from public roads. If you are in search of plenty of challenges go must choose the headland traverses. These hikes provide for leisure strolls and strenuous expeditions. The coast also offers some beautiful spots making it difficult to choose your trekking route. On the hike, you may come across Cape Falcon, Cascade Head as well as Saddle mountain and many more.

Cape Falcon hike: Level: Difficult

These headlands feature one of the best ocean views at the southern end towards cape meares. The headlands also provide for one of the best whale-watching sites 2.5 miles into Tillamook County. Additionally, trekkers can benefit the view of the magical Neahkanie Mountain. These headlands invite many tourists during pleasant weathers.

The blend of hill walled beaches and spectacular views from this cape makes it a hike of a lifetime. The hikes are 5 miles in total and connecting short sand beaches and cape falcon. The hike will require the tourists to go through a rain-forest, passing the Oswald West State Park that features one of Oregon’s waterfall.

The hike starts at the short sand trail head, half a mile directing you to the beach.  From this beach follow the signs to escape the dense jungle of Cape Falcon and multiple views of the mighty mountains. Thus the cape falcon hike includes many trail-routes some of the best remain: Cascade Head Trail, The Knoll and Cape Lookout.

Astoria River-walk hike: Level: Easy

The start point of these hikes remains Smith point trail-head. The distance that the visitor has to cover is 12.8 miles. One can enjoy this hike all through the year. Moreover, you may also wish to get your family along for some long walks.

The Hike: This hike will take you through the busy coastal region and to the Astoria Mergler Bridge in the beginning. You will cross many pubs and gift shops on your way. Finally, you will reach a rail line that paves the way to Alderbrook  Lagoon, approaching “Tongue Point.”

Additionally, the most exotic way to complete this hike is to return through the Astoria Trolley. To view, the base of Youngs Bay walk left a distance away from the parking spot. The trail is at a 90-degree loop with a hotel above and crosses the Hamburg Street. The trolley line falls parallel to the trails. At a distance, you would be required to pass the Bridge over a small memorial park. Look to your right, and you will see The reputed Alameda District.

Also, the trail leads you to the waterfronts view tower and down you will witness sea lions and listen to their squeaks from above. Upon reaching the Colombia River Museum, you can choose to visit it or admire its beauty and walk on. You will find fishing boats on the way. Finally, the hikers will reach the Albertbrook Lagoon either by the direct root or by another loop.

Multnomah falls hike: Level: Moderate

The trail begins at Multnomah, Oregon Waterfalls Lodge. This is a historic building built with the motive of serving vehicular travellers. The trail is divided into lower and upper tiers. For an insane photography experience, you can reach the main tire of the falls or the vast span of the Benson Bridge. Beyond these trails, you will encounter the asphalt trail switching up to a mile steep leading to a ridge-crest. The way has precisely 11 switchbacks.

Upon arriving at the first one, you will come across Larch Mountain. As you climb higher, you will see the Colombia river. Finally, right at the top, you will see a signboard saying “Multnomah falls viewpoint.” The asphalt now has a new side path for an upper viewpoint. A balcony is set at the base facing the Oregon waterfalls that look down the thick greenery of the Multnomah.  If you consider hiking further from Larch mountain, you will be thrown to the sights of Weisendanger falls and Ecola Falls. After which, you may head back down the steeps at the lodge for a coffee.

Elk mountain kings mountain loop hike: Level: Easy

The trail for the hike begins at the Elk Moutain’s summit. Hikers will require to take the meadow hiding at the back of the rocks. The rocky trail leads to a Hogsback, and after about a mile the hikers will encounter a forest area. You will then reach the cliff-peak within the curvy horseshoe shape of the mountains.

Additionally, within the 3-mile mark of the hike, the trail will become an abandoned road. Follow the way towards a junction and take the left that will land you the Kings Mountain. The way is now going to be a little rough as you would need to hike from the back of these steep mountains. This part is sometimes dense with greenery and is challenging to navigate. Moreover, during the wet seasons, the rocks tend to become harder. In conclusion, these obstacles will help you reach the summit.

To reach your final destination, follow the path through the thick meadow. Finally, down the mountain, for 2.5 miles towards the Wilson river trails and on your left a swampy area will lead you back to the mountain’s base.

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