The most popular waterfalls in Oregon tend to be around the Columbia River Gorge, conveniently close to Portland. Many of these are easily accessible, and some of them you can drive right up to the viewpoint. Often these falls have paved trails and picnic tables for a pleasant day trip. Other, equally beautiful waterfalls in Oregon are a bit harder to get to and lesser known. Here you’ll find fewer tourists and you may have to hike in several miles in order to find the unmarked fall (no signage? Follow your ears!).
Stay in the know!
Through our own experience exploring Oregon supplemented with research, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 best waterfalls in Oregon (although really, we could list 100 great ones). Rather than just raving about the falls, we’ll give you some specs including the waterfall location, distance from the trailhead, type and height. We’ll also add details about the trail conditions and the best season to go.
Choose your challenge
We’ve sectioned the waterfalls off by difficulty level. Family friendly means easy access or trails that have simple, short terrain to the waterfall. You can comfortably take children and pets on these and have a great time.
Then there are the difficult waterfalls in Oregon. These range from tricky to find to downright dangerous. One fall in this list exists, but nowhere could we find anyone that condones going to it. So why did we include it? Because the people who have gone to these falls have awesome reviews, and we certainly don’t want to limit seekers to falls that are simple to access. If a serious waterfall hunter comes across this list, we want her/him to get a little info about the most challenging Oregon falls out there.
–friendly waterfalls in Oregon
Want to see some stunning Oregon waterfalls but don’t like to get dirty? Here are some awesome falls that are easy to access and beautiful to behold.
Type: Tiered plunge. Height: 113 feet. Location: 43 miles east of Glide, in Douglas County near Toketee Lake. Distance from trailhead: 0.3 miles.
Plunging over columnar basalt rock formations, Toketee falls is an easy 1/3 mile from the trailhead. This two-tiered fall is a quick, scenic drive from Portland along the North Umpqua River. The trail is well groomed and simple to follow, and the view is magnificent.
Type: Segmented horsetails. Height: 226 feet. Location: Along Mckenzie pass Hwy 242. Distance from trailhead: 0.75 miles from the parking lot.
Located on the McKenzie River, this short loop trail goes to Proxy Falls, but also passes Upper Proxy Falls, its shorter (129 foot) sister. Proxy Falls offers a different shape than the common plunge fall, with is series of misty horsetails. It’s also pretty close to the large city of Eugene, so getting there is quick and simple. Visit between June and early November to avoid seasonal closure of Highway 242.
Salt Creek Falls and Diamond Creek Falls
Type: Plunge/Veiling horsetail. Height: 286/120 feet. Location: Off Hwy 58, 21 miles east of Oakridge in Willamette Forest. Distance from trailhead: 0/1.5 miles from Salt Creek day use area.
This fun trail takes you to two beautiful waterfalls in one go. Start at the Salt Creek Falls trailhead, where there is a clifftop viewpoint of Salt Creek Falls, one of Oregon’s highest waterfalls. Views are possible from the start of the trail with easy stair going down. Salt Creek Falls plunges over a thick basalt ledge. Take the trail down around Salt Creek’s lava amphitheater and follow Salt Creek for a while. Take a well-labeled spur trail and you’ll find Diamond Creek Falls, completely different but equally impressive. This trail is a lollipop loop, so just keep walking until you get back to the trailhead (3.7 miles total). One more bonus: you can go any time of year, in fact during the winter there are markers for snowshoers/skiers.
Type: Multiple. Height: varying, South Fall is 177 feet. Location: Silverton. Distance from trailhead: Drive up or hike.
The Trail of 10 Waterfalls is an easy 9 miles hike, but there are multiple parking places so you can drive to various falls, and several short loops you can walk. Most of the trail is paved with wooden rails, and there are picnic tables and viewpoints. It’s a great choice for families. The loop trail starts with South Falls, which is probably the most famous of Silver Creek
Type: Plunge. Height: 224 feet. Location: Guy W. Talbot State Park, Columbia River Gorge, near Portland. Distance from trailhead: 10-15 minute walk from the parking lot.
You’ll find Latourell Falls in the Columbia River Gorge near the more famous Multnomah. Only a 10-15 walk from the
Type: Tiered plunge. Height: 635 feet. Location: Columbia River Gorge, east of Troutdale. Distance from trailhead: drive up and
With over 2 million visitors per year, Multnomah is maybe a little too famous. Falls can be seen from the road but there is also a short hiking trail (2.4 miles roundtrip). If you want to go farther, switchback up to a view above the falls. This iconic fall can be approached year-round but the pavement trail is inadvisable for beginners in icy conditions.
Type: Vertical curtain. Height: 89 feet. Location: Bend. Distance from trailhead: drive up and walk 50 feet.
A trip to Tumalo Falls is basically a requirement for Bend residents, simply because it is so nearby and easy to access. Visitors can drive right up to the viewing platform, making it handicap accessible. Alternatively, you can take a short easy hike up to get above the falls for a different angle. Tumalo Falls is a great outing any time of the year.
Type: 2 tiered horsetails. Height: 242 feet. Location: 0.5 miles west of Multnomah Falls Lodge in Corbett, OR. Distance from trailhead: ¼ mile.
This is a tall fall with an arched footbridge like Multnomah, but doesn’t free-fall the whole height like its popular neighbor. You can park near the base and hike in .25 miles, but you can also take the switchback trail up to Lemmons viewpoint above the falls. From there, you can go to the top tier of the falls, called the Necktie, but this is more challenging and is not for children or dogs.
Type: Curtain. Height: 109 feet (debated). Location: Off Hwy 35, near Bend. Distance from trailhead 1.8 miles.
Tamanawas Falls is situated in the Mt Hood National Forest, at the eastern base of Mt Hood. This simple out and back trail
Drift Creek Falls
Type: Plunge. Height: 66 feet. Location: south of Lincoln City, Siuslaw National Forest. Distance from trailhead: 1.5 miles to base.
Near Lincoln City, you get your first view of this plunging fall from a 250
Moderate waterfalls in Oregon
Are you looking for more of a challenge, something to get your heart rate up? You’ll feel that satisfying sense of accomplishment when you find these falls.
Type: Horsetail. Height: 120 feet. Location: west of Mt. Hood, near Bend. Distance from trailhead: 3.5 miles.
This fall is best seen in late spring to early fall. Don’t go in winter because the river you must cross to get there, called Sandy River crossing, will be too fast and deep. Ramona Falls Loop is a fun 7.1-mile total loop. Check out the frank description of the falls loop trail: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd517650.pdf
Type: Plunge. Height: 92 feet Location: Near Scotts Mills, Santiam State Forest. Distance from trailhead: 0.5 miles with a 2.5
Iconic basalt columns shaped into an amphitheater are the backdrop for Abiqua’s basic plunge fall. The scene is punctuated with distinctive colorful mosses growing on the rocks. The road is unmarked so it can be challenging to find, and it is not recommended for low clearance vehicles. Once you park it’s about 0.5 miles of steep downhill to the creek and then some walking over logs and rocks upstream to the falls. The trail can be slippery and muddy after rain but is fine to explore year round.
Type: plunge Height: 100 feet Location: Columbia River Gorge near Portland. Distance from trailhead: 0.6 miles.
Oneonta Falls is near Portland, but off the beaten track and hard to locate. The official trail is 4.9 miles out and back hike called Oneonta Gorge Trail, but you have to climb over rocks and slippery logs and wade through icy water to get there. Only try during summer and fall, as the water levels in winter and spring are dangerously high.
(also called Lower Squaw Creek Falls and Lower Whychus Falls)
Type: Veiling plunge. Height: 68 feet. Location: South of Sisters, in the Deschutes Wilderness. Distance from trailhead: 1 mile to
Near Sisters, this trail has two parts: the easy trail ends at the canyon cliff overlooking the falls, but the trail to the base of the falls is unmarked and a steep scramble not for children or dogs.
Type: Horsetail. Height: 165 feet. Location: Near Lemolo and Diamond lakes in Umpqua National Forest. Distance from trailhead: 1 mile.
Located within the Southern Cascades near Idleyld Park, the out and back trail to Lemolo Falls totals 3.2 miles. There are two routes into the falls: the south trail (#1468) drops into North Umpqua Canyon toward the base of the falls and you can take a spur road to get to the rocks behind the base. Climbing to the top is steep and a bit challenging. The north trail (#1414) is a hike along several cascades until you reach a view across from the falls on the far side of the canyon.
Upper and Lower Kentucky Falls, North Fork Falls
Type: Upper: segmented horsetails/ Lower: plunge/ North Fork: veiling horsetail Height: Upper 88 feet/ Lower 117 feet/ North Fork 125 feet. Location: Hwy 126, near Mapleton in the Siuslaw National Forest. Distance from trailhead: Upper 0.75 miles/ Lower and North Fork 2.2 miles.
Kentucky Falls is an example of three-for-one falls. Hiking through deep old growth forest, you first reach the upper falls 0.75 miles from the trailhead, and another 1.45 miles gets you to the lower falls viewing platform. This out and back trail totals 4.4 miles and is considered moderate because of the length and the constant uphill on the way back. Lower Kentucky Falls has a next-door twin fall called North Fork Falls, which is also seen from the viewing platform, although it is possible to scramble closer. Early spring through late fall is the time to go, as both the trail and the drive to the trailhead can be dangerous in winter.
Difficult Waterfalls in Oregon
If you’re an experienced hiker and navigator, try these finding these waterfalls, which sometimes include scrambling, wading through icy waters, and bushwhacking through brush you think is probably the trail. Maybe.
Type: tiered horsetails. Height: 615 feet. Location: East of North Sister along Route 242, Three Sisters Wilderness. Distance from trailhead: ~2.5 miles, part trail, and part bushwhacking.
Linton Falls is a staircase fall with 8 drops, the lowest being 85 feet, and 615 feet tall overall, making it the second tallest waterfall in Oregon (depending on who you ask). Because of foliage and angles, you can’t see the whole falls from one vantage point. To get there, hike to Lower Linton Falls (a moderate hike called Linton Lake hike) and then continue to Linton. The trail is mostly unmarked and inaccessible to the average day hiker.
Type: veiling horsetail, single tier. Height: 110 feet. Location: East Fork Park Creek in Central Cascades, south of Sisters. Distance from trailhead: no official trail.
Phoenix Falls is a 110 feet tall single tier veiling horsetail within East Fork Park Creek in the Central Cascades. Due to a forest fire, the once straightforward trail is now hidden in places or gone completely. It is not so much difficult terrain as it is very easy to get lost, so know your surroundings well, or go with someone who is quite familiar with the area (post burn). The spooky landscape provides a stark contrast to the lush greenery that surrounds most Oregon waterfalls, giving Phoenix Falls a unique appeal.
Type: Horsetail. Height: 480 feet. Location: Eagle Cap wilderness, near Joseph in the Wallowas. Distance from trailhead: ~6 miles.
You’ll find Ice Falls on the trek to the more popular Ice Lake. To get there, start at the Wallowa River Trailhead, then take the Ice Lake Trail junction. After 5.8 miles you veer left off the trail onto a footpath that is sometimes there, and continue into the fall’s basin, surrounded by thick pine forest. Take care to track your mileage and location, as the trail to the falls is not maintained or marked.
Columnar Canyon Falls
Type: 2 tied plunges Height: 125 feet. Location: Three Sisters Wilderness. Distance from trailhead: no official trail.
Like Chush Falls, Columnar Canyon Falls is part of Whychus Creek, with the Deschutes River as the watershed. As the name indicates, this fall cascades over a canyon of basalt columns. Reportedly an impressive fall, it is also impressively dangerous with cliffs and scrambles. However, getting to Columnar Canyon Falls is not unobtainable to the experienced trekker in the right conditions, and it would be awesome to see more personal accounts of the hike.
And there you have it, 20 waterfalls in Oregon that have the potential to make you gaze in wonder. Do you have your own favorite waterfalls? Let us know! Also let us know if you have any updates, as the accessibility of trails often changes due to environmental conditions. Most important, have fun!
For more information about the most challenging falls, check out these sources:
https://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guide/Linton_Falls_Add-on_Hike –Linton Falls
www.waterfallsnorthwest.com –Columnar Canyon Falls and Phoenix Falls
www.backpacker.com –Ice Falls
https://www.worldwaterfalldatabase.com/ Overall awesome source for waterfalls in Oregon (and the world)
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