Finding waterfall hikes near Portland, Oregon comes at little difficulty for the every-day adventure seeker. With such a vast selection of waterfalls to choose from, it’s easy to become a waterfall chaser, sorry TLC. If you fancy placing your eyes on the best waterfalls the Portland area has to offer, continue reading my list below.
Silverton Falls – Known as the, “Trail of Ten Falls,” this loop trail packs ten powerful and luscious waterfalls in a 7.10 mile hike. Displaying no discrimination, this hike exposes waterfalls of all shapes and sizes. Some waterfalls power down rocks like a skier racing down a mountain, and some let out a soft gentle cry with small drops gracing the sides of boulders. Silverton Falls is recognized as the, “jewel of the Oregon state parks system,” and it’s no question as to why. If you want to encompass waterfalls in Oregon, this is the place to do it.
This hike is family friendly and welcomes runners, hikers and leisurely walkers from every corner of the world. Located about 1 hour and 20 minutes away from Portland, this is an easy drive through small towns countryside. Directions and more info on the hike are linked here.
Tamanawas Falls – An incredibly fun waterfall name to say, and an incredibly enjoyable waterfall to visit, Tamanawas Falls is quite a beauty. A moderately trafficked out and back 3.3 mile hike, this waterfall stands as a great monument amongst the Mt. Hood National Forest. Delicate to the eye, yet mighty to the ears, this waterfall displays both beauty and strength.
The hike can be visited year round and provides many different activities such as snow-shoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, dog walking and more. If you visit in a winter month I recommend wearing crampons as rocks become slippery and icy. Without crampons, the hike is doable, but presents a more challenging hike than the moderate hike it is. From Portland, it’s an 1 hour and 30 minute drive through lush forests and the infamous Mt. Hood. Directions to the hike are listed here.
White River Falls State Park – Is the Hoover Damn of all waterfalls. This monster of a waterfall can be heard from the road above, and that’s pretty bad ass. White River Falls State Park was used as a source of energy for a dam some time ago, and I guess it’s understandable as to why because this waterfall is a damn force of nature. Not only is it a complete powerhouse, it’s the mother of waterfalls as it practically births 3 more baby waterfalls further down the river. Sorry if that was too descriptive for you, but you will just have to see for yourself.
It’s a really short hike to the actual mother of waterfalls, but to the smaller waterfalls it’s about a mile or so out and back. I never actually reached the end of the trail, so I am not for certain how long it goes, but the views are well worth the small hike. To reach the waterfall it is a bit of a longer drive, about 2 hours to be exact, but you travel through the Columbia River Gorge and countryside with magnificent views of both Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams.
Abiqua Falls – A popular waterfall on Instagram, this waterfall slides through a gentle crack in the Earth and plunges into a large basalt bowl. Abiqua Falls takes some serious off-roading, both in car and by foot as it is located on private property outside of Scott Mills, Oregon. I wouldn’t solely rely on your GPS for this one because the turn to get to the trailhead is easy to miss. The out and back hike is about 0.8 miles and is compiled of rough and slippery terrain, but it’s totally worth it.
A rigid rock formation surrounding the waterfall allows Abiqua to really capture the spotlight. As it strikes through the rough backdrop, the waterfall appears to be gentle with soft shades of white and light turquoise. You can admire the waterfall from rock “seats” located around the basalt bowl. From Portland, to arrive at the trailhead of this fall, it takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, that is if you don’t miss any turns. The hike is exciting and quite quick, granting you the spectacular view in no time.
Now, do as the Oregonians do and explOregon! It should also be noted that this list was written when the Columbia River Gorge was closed due to forest fires, therefore some of the greatest waterfalls didn’t make the list. Despite this, I took on the challenge and managed to discover some stunning waterfalls I may have not discovered during my short time in Portland. Hope you enjoy.