Growing up in the glorious Pacific Northwest, I took the incredible waterfalls in Oregon for granted for far too long.
In fact, it wasn’t until I moved out of Oregon that I started feeling homesick for the unparalleled nature of the Pacific Northwest and regretted not spending even more time outdoors.
Heck, even though I spent most of my free time (weekends and vacations) over the past 5 years exploring amazing Oregon waterfalls, I feel like I barely scratched the surface.
I mean, Oregon is home to more than 230 waterfalls! Some of the most striking waterfalls in the nation are found in our very backyard.
So learn from my mistake and go. Pack your car and call a friend, today we plan your trip to the best waterfalls in Oregon. Let’s get to it!
Who am I and why should you trust my list of the best waterfalls in Oregon?
I’m a lifelong Oregonian! I was raised in Portland and spent most of my childhood exploring the natural wonders of Oregon.
Shortly after meeting my husband we embarked on a whirlwind tour of Oregon state — visiting every corner and popping off at every small town we passed.
My husband films national parks and forests for a living (I know, I can’t believe that can be a real job either) and so we hike a lot.
We both thoroughly enjoy hiking (and living in Oregon) and took it upon ourselves to find the best waterfalls in Oregon to share with anyone interested in planning a trip to our beloved state.
Tips for exploring the best waterfalls in Oregon
Leave no trace
- If you’re unfamiliar with Leave No Trace, it’s a measure to be a good steward of the land. You can read about the seven principals of Leave No Trace here.
You + Sunscreen = Best Friends (Forever)
- I swear by this sunscreen (and so do 5,000+ other people), I discovered it in France and now buy it in bulk. It works like a charm and doesn’t leave strange residue or smells, you’ll NEVER catch me without it!
Best time to see waterfalls in Oregon
- Waterfalls vary by season, so based on the time of year you choose to hike to a waterfall in Oregon you will see drastically different results. Hiking conditions are ideal during the pleasant summer months but most waterfalls reduce to a trickle.
- Hiking in winter is dangerous but the weather conditions completely transform the landscape and the force of the waterfall is greatly intensified. There’s no bad time to do an Oregon waterfall hike, just be aware that the seasons affect the waterfall condition.
Wear hiking boots with good traction
- Even though (most) Oregon waterfall trails are well maintained, exposed roots are common. It’s easy to trip on the trail, so set yourself up for success by wearing proper shoes. These are my hiking boots and I’d sleep in them if I could.
Best Waterfalls in Oregon
#20. Upper Downing Creek Falls
Situated near the town of Detroit, Upper Downing Creek Falls is one of my favorite waterfalls in Oregon because of the striking contrast between the rushing 40-foot waterfall and the thick carpet of moss that insulates every inch of the stunning landscape.
This is one of the harder waterfalls to find in Oregon, which is why it remains elusive to so many folks.
An overgrown logging road makes way for a short half-mile hike along a small trail that leads directly to the waterfall. Just be mindful that the trail gets slippery, especially as it nears the falls.
This is a great Oregon waterfall for photographers because chances are high you’ll have the whole place to yourself and you can play around with angles.
Photo credit Matt Straite | Flickr
#19. Marion Falls
Do you like hiking, waterfalls and experience nature sans crowds? Well, have I got the best waterfall in Oregon for you.
Marion Falls is a great waterfall hike for anyone that feels an epic waterfall experience has to be earned through effort. Listen, more power to you!
This Oregon waterfall hike follows a 4.5-mile trail that is rarely busy because most folks opt to see waterfalls that don’t require much hiking. Thankfully, Oregon can satisfy the needs of both.
The hike leading up to Marion Falls guides you through a healthy and dense coniferous forest that meanders past a scenic river.
You may need to scramble up boulders towards the end of the hike to reach the falls, but let’s get real — it’s this the waterfall adventure you had in mind?
You thrill seeker, you.
Image courtesy of Travel Oregon
#18. Sweet Creek Falls
Sweet Creek Falls is an epic four-tier waterfall that cascades down 70 feet into a large pool of icy water that acts as a great lunch spot too.
The trail guides visitors to all four tiers of the waterfall which is handy because some of the tiers are only visible from certain vantage points.
The first tier cascades 10 feet, the second drop creates a horsetail formation whilst dropping 30 feet before merging with the final two tiers that clock in at 15 feet each. The culmination of this watery splendor feels like a feast for the eyes.
And since certain bends in the creek keep some of the waterfall out of view, the best way to experience this in all its glory is by partaking in an incredible waterfall hike.
Otherwise you may only see the bottom two tiers, which are still pretty epic but only half the story.
Image courtesy of Waterfalls Northwest
#17. Fall Creek Falls
Plunging a breathtaking 330 feet, between three separate tiers, into an icy pool, Fall Creek Falls is a picture-perfect Oregon waterfall for those that like easy hikes with great rewards.
The moss-laden 2-mile trail follows Falls Creek where the sound of one of the largest waterfalls in southern Oregon guides the way to a jaw-dropping viewpoint.
The first tier spans a breathtaking 100 feet before feeding into the the second tier where it veils yet another 135 feet. Collecting itself in a gaping basin, the falls descend 90 feet to their final destination — the amphitheater below.
Since reaching this waterfall requires a hike, chances are good you won’t come across crowds here which improves your chance of solitude in nature. Imagine!
Image courtesy of Outdoor Project
#16. Gorton Creek Falls
This epic waterfall hike is as whimsical as you can image. It starts at Wyeth Trailhead near Gorton Creek where a heavily moss-laden trails leads you to Gorton Creek Falls, a secluded 115 feet waterfall.
The reason Gorton Creek falls is one of the best waterfalls in Oregon is because it feels like a secret. Unlike its very popular neighbors along the gorge, few folks choose to hike out here.
The trail follows a path for 1/2 mile before ending at Emerald Falls, another pretty Oregon waterfall. The adventure doesn’t stop there, rather this is where the fun begins.
Following a peaceful creek, the hike between Emerald Falls and Gorton Creek Falls requires sturdy slip-proof shoes and a sense of adventure.
Hiking to this incredible Oregon waterfall feels like a true adventure because you need to scramble up some boulders to reach it. As long as you watch your step and don’t rush, you’ll be completely fine — Gorton Creek Falls is worth the effort.
#15. Watson Falls (Southwest Oregon’s Tallest Waterfall)
In the safe confines of the Upmpqua National Forest, a mere stone’s throw from Oregon’s only national park (hey, Crater Lake) lies the largest waterfall in southwest Oregon.
Watson Falls plunges a staggering 300 feet and offers a feast for the eyes for very little effort. A short half-mile hike leads you directly to a magnificent viewpoint that displays this incredible Oregon waterfall in all its glory.
Read the interpretive signage along the trail to learn more about the geology of this incredible landscape.
#14. White River Falls
White River Falls is intriguing in the sense that it’s found in an arid landscape that doesn’t seem primed for impressive waterfalls and yet here we area.
Diving a stately distance of 90 feet into a striking pool of ice-cold water is one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in Oregon by the name of White River Falls.
There’s two ways to see this incredible Oregon waterfall, from a parking lot platform or with a short (but steep) half-mile hike.
From there you may notice a side trail, should you choose to take it you’ll find yourself at the foot of the waterfall, free to dip your feet in the icy water.
Heads up: This Oregon waterfall swells with people during the hot summer months because it provides and invaluable reprieve from the oppressive summer heat.
#13. Punch Bowl Falls
Located about 2-miles into the epic Eagle Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge, Punch Bowl Falls is an aptly-named and iconic Oregon waterfall well worth exploration.
More like a mythical scene than a public treasure, Punch Bowl Falls gets its name from the shape of the massive pool formation the falls plunge into.
This is a very popular watering hole during the summer months so crowds are all but guaranteed at this beautiful Oregon waterfall.
Be careful if you plan to swim here, cliff jumping is prohibited and you may be subject to a $300 fine.
Note: Check trail conditions before hiking to Punch Bowl Falls. The 2017 Eagle Creek Fire impacted this trail and it was closed for 3+ years before re-opening in 2021. Better safe than sorry, check this resource before heading out.
#12. Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Oregon to explore with kids because the viewpoint is located right off the parking lot.
The waterfall drops 120 feet between two distinct tiers and visitors can explore both via hike.
The lower trail descends to a creek before ascending to a beautiful viewpoint at the base of this iconic waterfall. You’ll pass by Bridal Veil Creek and notice what remains of the Bridal Veil Falls Lumbering Company. Read the interpretive signage to learn more about the mill if you’re interested.
The Overlook Trail is a paved half-mile trail that leads to a vista overlooking the breathtaking Columbia River Gorge. Since both trails are easy to do with kids I highly recommend making the effort them in tandem.
#11. Sahalie & Koosah Falls
Sahalie and Koosah Falls is another great Oregon waterfall hike for families because it’s good for all skill levels. In fact, both waterfalls are visible from parking lot viewing platforms but the best way to experience these Oregon falls is by hiking closer to them.
An easy 2.6-mile loop trail takes hikers past both Koosah and Sahalie Falls while offer breathtaking scenery of moss-laden towering trees and the scenic McKenzie River.
Of the two waterfalls, Sahalie is larger (dropping 100 feet over a lava dam) but 70-foot Koosah is the crowd-pleaser. In any case, hike to both and see which you prefer for yourself.
#10. Ramona Falls
Tell any Oregonian that you plan to spend a day at Mt. Hood National Forest and you’re bound to get a recommendation to visit Ramona Falls, one of the best waterfall hikes in Oregon.
Starting at the Mount Hood Wilderness area, the Ramona Falls Trail is 7 miles round trip and follows the scenic Sandy River throughout various portions of the trail.
Reaching Ramona Falls requires sturdy footwear and a sense of adventure. An old bridge that connected the trail past the Sandy River was washed out and hikers now need to cross the river by balancing on logs.
This is a popular hike during summer because of the trail’s proximity to Portland and the euphoric reward of cooling off next to one of the most epic waterfalls in Oregon.
#9. Salt Creek Falls (The second tallest waterfall in Oregon)
Located within the vast and beautiful Willamette National Forest lies the second-tallest single drop waterfall in Oregon.
The powerful force of this 286-foot Oregon waterfall can be experienced from one of two viewpoints.
One viewpoint is accessible directly from the parking lot and the other view requires a short hike but leads directly into the canyon and eventually to the base of the falls.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
#8. Latourell Falls
Being the closest waterfall in the Columbia Gorge to the city of Portland, this is one of the most popular waterfalls in Oregon. Everyone and their dog has seen it, loved it and told the tale.
So believe me when I tell you that this waterfall is crowded, but you simply can’t miss it.
Plunging a jaw-dropping 220 feet over the lip of an impressive amphitheater made of dark columnar basalt, this Oregon waterfall hike feels like a great reward for little effort.
An easy 2.4-mile trail leads visitors directly to the first viewpoint before opening up to a dirt path that heads uphill and gets you closer to one of the most epic waterfalls in Oregon.
From here you can choose to return to the car or hiker further uphill to Upper Latourell Falls, which I recommend you do so that you can enjoy this waterfall in all its glory.
#7. South Falls (The Trail of Ten Falls)
Of all the breathtaking Oregon waterfalls on the Trail of Ten Falls, none is more photographed than South Falls and there’s a reason for that.
Plunging to striking depths of 175 feet, hikers are allowed to go behind the thundering curtain for a unique waterfall hike that feels like a sacred privileged.
At 9,000 acres, Silver Falls State Park is the largest state park in Oregon. Home to numerous waterfalls, it’s considered the crown jewel of the state park system.
The best way to explore this area? Hike the epic Trail of Ten Falls where you’ll wander past 10 waterfalls in the span of less 8 miles.
While all 10 waterfalls along the trail are worth exploring, South Falls takes the cake because of its undeniable beauty and the fact that you can walk behind the curtain of water. It’s a rush like no other and an experience you simply can’t forget.
So if you’re looking for the best waterfall hikes in Oregon, the Trail of Ten Falls simply can’t be missed.
Note: Dogs are prohibited on the Canyon Trail portion of this Oregon hike — which is where the waterfalls are located.
Image courtesy of The Dyrt
#6. Proxy Falls
Jaw-dropping waterfalls in Central Oregon almost seem commonplace but not all of them are as easily accessible as Proxy Falls.
Offering a spectacular treat for very little effort, this scenic waterfall hike in Oregon is one of the best ways to stretch your legs before brunch.
The 1.5-mile loop trail meanders through a healthy forest that loops around two waterfalls. The first waterfall on the hike is Lower Proxy Falls.
When you reach the falls you may notice some folks getting really close to the base, the area is ripe for exploration just make sure you’re wearing proper shoes because it’s very easy to slip.
The massive log in front of the waterfall is a popular spot for folks to take photos but I was too nervous to get on it because it was so slick (ha!) but I saw plenty of other folks having a blast, the adventure is up to you.
The second stop along the trail is Upper Proxy Falls and you would be remiss to skip it!
Both of these waterfalls are incredible and serve as proof that Oregon has some of the best waterfalls in the country.
#5. Tumalo Falls
Tumalo Falls is one of the prettiest waterfalls in Oregon because it looks picture-perfect. An impressive force of nature, this waterfall cascades nearly 100 feet before splashing into a log-jammed pool below.
Encapsulated by a healthy pine forest, this whole scene looks like a scene from a fairy tale. So you probably won’t be surprised to learn that Tumalo Falls gets very crowded.
Since this is one of the easiest waterfalls in Oregon to access (you can see it from the parking lot), it’s a popular pop-off spot for folks en route to Bend.
Thankfully, there’s a great little viewpoint that requires no effort to get to. But if you’d like to avoid crowds, I suggest trekking to the upper viewpoint to get a unique vantage point from the top of Tumalo Falls.
The 0.5-mile trail is well maintained and easy to follow and offers an opportunity to spot a handful of smaller waterfalls along the way.
Tip: The parking lot fills up very quickly, so come early or carpool with friends. I noticed a lot of bikers during my visit, make sure to watch out for them on the trail — it’s a popular mountain bike trail.
Further Reading: 15 JAW-DROPPING Hikes Near Bend, Oregon
Deschutes National Forest Film
My husband and I traveled through Bend extensively because he was commissioned to create a film on the Deschutes National Forest. The film features Tumalo Falls, if you’d like to see I’ll post the film below.
#4. Abiqua Falls
Abiqua Falls is one of Oregon’s best kept secrets. Tucked into a majestic amphitheater of striking basalt adorned with moss and red lichen, is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Oregon.
The reason? There’s a little bit of effort involved and an adventurous spirit is required.
This 0.8-mile trail is considered one of the best waterfall hikes in Oregon. It’s short but steep, so make sure you’re wearing proper hiking shoes.
You’ll notice a handful of ropes on the trail, use them during the steep descents and ascents to avoid slips.
You may need to scramble over boulders and rocks, but it’s nothing too crazy. Trust me, this is one of the best waterfalls in Oregon and is well worth the effort.
The trail leads to a pleasant creek that you will follow until the trail ends at a massive basalt bowl that houses Abiqua Falls.
But let’s get real — you’ll be hearing this Oregon waterfall long before you see it because the rushing force of 90 feet is powerful.
Note: Parking at the trailhead requires a high-clearance vehicle, otherwise you will need to park further up and hike in.
#3. Toketee Falls
You probably know by now that Oregon is truly the land of waterfalls. We definitely have our fair share of jaw-dropping waterfalls to choose from but for me personally, none is more notable than Toketee Falls in Douglas County, Oregon.
The name Toketee stems from a Chinook word meaning “graceful” or “pretty” and there’s no denying this is an aptly named waterfall.
This two-tiered waterfall cascades an impressive 113 feet into a pool of pristine aqua-colored water. Similar to Tumalo Falls, it feels like a scene from a fairy tale, which is why I consider this one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Oregon.
The hike to reach Toketee Falls is a mere 0.8-mile round trip and only 200 feet of elevation gain. You’ll get views of the pristine Umpqua River along the trail but nothing will prepare you for the breathtaking viewpoint that opens up to the waterfall in full force.
#2. Tamanawas Falls
Of all the incredible Oregon waterfalls I’ve had the privilege of exploring, none has impressed me more than Tamanawas Falls at Mount Hood National Forest.
The waterfall reveals itself at the lip of an impressive lava cliff and cascades down a thundering 110 feet before reaching the chilly pool at your feet.
The best part? Reaching this epic waterfall requires an effort because of the 3.4-mile trail, so the waterfall isn’t as crowded as some of the other more popular waterfalls in Oregon.
Clean mountain air and a striking evergreen forest guide the way as the trail hugs the pristine Cold Spring Creek for 1.5-miles before spitting you out at a breathtaking viewpoint.
Don’t rush your time at the viewpoint and allow the magic of the moment to enchant you. You are at the base of one of Oregon’s best waterfalls, take it all in because you’ve earned it.
If a more robust trip report would be helpful, you can read more here.
#1. Multnomah Falls (The Tallest Waterfall in Oregon)
You already know that no list highlighting the best waterfalls in Oregon is complete without mentioning Multnomah Falls.
Plunging a staggering 620 feet, this is the tallest waterfall in Oregon.
Nestled into the pristine Columbia River Gorge, an area with an abundance of waterfalls, mountains and numerous striking vistas for public enjoyment, you will find one of the most visited sights in Oregon.
Attracting international visitors on a daily basis, this waterfall is a breathtaking sight that can be enjoyed up close. Visitors are allowed to hike up to to the Benson Bridge (pictured below) for a better vantage point of the towering falls.
Meander past the rushing force of Multnomah Falls and feel the mist along the paved and easy to follow trail. The hike is not too taxing on the knees and is well worth the effort, which makes this this one of the best family-friendly hikes in Oregon.
The trailhead is is easily accessible and located a mere half-hour from downtown Portland. As such, crowds are all but guaranteed so be prepared!
Best Oregon Waterfalls (Post Summary)
In sum, these are the best waterfalls in Oregon.
- Multnomah Falls
- Tamanawas Falls
- Toketee Falls
- Abiqua Falls
- Tumalo Falls
- Proxy Falls
- South Falls on Trail of Ten Falls
- Latourell Falls
- Salt Creek Falls
- Ramona Falls
- Sahalie Falls
- Bridal Veil Falls
- Punch Bowl Falls
- White River Falls
- Watson Falls
- Gorton Creek Falls
- Fall Creek Falls
- Sweet Creek Falls
- Marion Falls
- Upper Downing Creek Falls
Map of the best waterfalls in Oregon
Here’s a quick overview of the locations of the Oregon waterfalls listed in this post.
Love exploring Oregon?
If you love exploring Oregon here’s some reading suggestions you may find interesting.
- The 7 Wonders of Oregon (& 4 More We Should Add ASAP)
- 20 JAW-DROPPING Oregon Hikes (For All Skill Levels)
- 15+ EPIC Things to Do in Bend, Oregon
Best waterfalls in Oregon, Oregon waterfall hikes, best Oregon waterfalls, pretty waterfalls in Oregon
And there you have it my friends – a quick roundup of the best waterfalls in Oregon. I hope you enjoyed the post!
Until next time,