15 Amazing Waterfalls in Oregon

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Oregon is a state in the north west of the USA on the Pacific Coast.

A huge part of the state remains pristine, full of mountains, forests, canyons, and beaches.

Anyone living in an urban area has plenty of opportunities to get out into nature and explore.

Fishing, hiking, and biking are all popular activities, and those following Oregon’s many trails are likely to come across some stunning waterfalls.

The state is blessed with fast running water and here are 15 amazing waterfalls in Oregon which you will certainly enjoy.

1. Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge

Multnomah Falls, OregonSource: Freebilly Photography / shutterstock
Multnomah Falls

These falls are the tallest and best known in Oregon.

Dropping in two major steps – the first being 540 feet – they total 620 feet in all.

They are one of Oregon’s major natural attractions; more than two million visitors come here each year.

There is a bridge at the bottom of the first tier that faces the falls, which is a great place for a photograph.

The source of the falls is an underground spring, and the flow varies with the season – winter and spring being the strongest.

Access is provided by a trail of just over one mile that rises 600 feet to the top of the falls.

2. Wahkeena Falls, Columbia River Highway

Wahkeena FallsSource: Arpad Jasko / shutterstock
Wahkeena Falls

The trail that passes the foot of these falls is well-used.

Why wouldn’t it be, because these spectacular, tiered falls are 242 feet high.

The name in the Yakama language means ‘’most beautiful” and it is certainly suitable.

Its near-neighbor Multnomah may get more publicity, but Wahkeena is a close match.

Several vantage points help visitors take lovely photographs.

A picnic area, including a shelter, lies just north of the highway.

The stone fireplace gets some use in the winter.

3. Punch Bowl Falls, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Punch Bowl fall, OregonSource: Kengji / shutterstock
Punch Bowl Falls

Punch Bowl Falls are located on Eagle Creek.

Recently, the path has been altered by the collapse of some huge boulders.

You can walk the trail through forests and along cliffs, together with the family and dog.

Occasionally, there are rock falls, so don’t let anyone stray.

There are some great views as you walk and the falls themselves, at a height of 35 feet and a width of 10 feet, are one of them.

The powerful flow drops down a narrow channel into a bowl below, hence the name.

4. Metlako Falls, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Metlako Falls, OregonSource: Thye-Wee Gn / shutterstock
Metlako Falls

The Metlako Falls are the first you will encounter on the Eagle Creek Trail.

Over recent years, the waters have become popular with kayaks, although they cannot take on the falls because the drop is over 100 feet.

The best viewing point is from a spur just off the trail itself.

The four-mile trail is open all year round, with the water flow at its best through winter and spring.

The walk is fairly easy and you will reach the cascades after walking a mile and a half.

It is suitable for a family day out on a nice day.

5. Latourell Falls, Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway

Latourell FallsSource: cmiller67 / shutterstock
Latourell Falls

As you set out on the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway, the first waterfall you will come across is the Latourell Falls.

At 224 feet, the waters pouring over a wall of basalt are certainly impressive.

The water is on its way to the Columbia River.

Many celebrated photographers have made the falls a subject of study and the scene is better still because of the yellow lichen on the cliff face.

As the year progresses, the flow reduces, so spring is the optimum time for a visit.

6. Abiqua Falls, Scott Mills

Abiqua FallsSource: Stephen Moehle / shutterstock
Abiqua Falls

The trek to Abiqua Falls along a fairly basic trail is not easy but the effort is worth it.

This is not a family day out, but those who persevere to reach Abiqua Falls are certainly rewarded, especially when they are in full flow.

At times, you will have to negotiate a steep slope downwards as well as climbing up a slope to avoid logs that provide a barrier to hikers.

Once you arrive, you will see water cascading down into a large splash pool.

The best viewing area is from rocks that jut into the pool.

7. South Falls, Silver Creek State Park

South Falls, Silver Creek State ParkSource: tusharkoley / shutterstock
South Falls, Silver Creek State Park

South Falls are found in the foothills of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains.

With the state capital Salem just half an hour away, they have become a very popular day trip.

The park is just over 9,000 acres, with the falls very much its highlight.

Wherever you look, there is a photo opportunity; if you enjoy fresh air and the great outdoors, this is the place for you.

South Falls are almost 180 high, with the water dropping in a single column over a ledge.

Visitors can get behind the water where the rock has been eroded.

8. White River Falls, White River Falls State Park

White River Falls, OregonSource: Victoria Ditkovsky / shutterstock
White River Falls

White River Falls remains largely unknown; certainly, they get fewer visitors than many others in Oregon.

They are located just a short distance along a trail that heads down a canyon to an old hydroelectric plant that operated a century ago until the Dalles Dam was built in 1960. These falls on the Deschutes River are 90 feet high in a couple of tiers and are one of the attractions in a park enjoyed by hikers, bikers, and fishermen.

The park is closed during winter but opens mid-March until the end of the fall.

9. Watson Falls, Douglas County

Watson FallsSource: Kris Wiktor / shutterstock
Watson Falls

As long as the family doesn’t mind a climb, these impressive falls are less than a mile from where you park.

The falls are an impressive 272 feet high, with the water tumbling down to a base covered in moss.

There are several good vantage points for taking photographs, notably, the bridges.

Fishing, biking, hiking, and camping are popular activities around the North Umpqua River and its trail.

That trail is for another day; it is almost 80 miles long.

There is some whitewater on the river which rafters enjoy.

10. Sahalie Falls, Willamette National Forest

Sahalie FallsSource: Bob Pool / shutterstock
Sahalie Falls

Sahalie Falls is the first of three waterfalls along the McKenzie River.

It is also the highest.

The cascades have been featured in the Disney movie “Homeward Bound”. Arguments have raged over their height, with the personal experience of kayakers who actually went over the top suggesting around 70 feet – half the height that others claimed.

You can park very close to these falls without having to walk far to get there.

There is a family-friendly trail in a 2.5-mile loop if you want some exercise during your visit.

11. Sweet Creek Falls, Siuslaw National Forest

Sweet Creek FallsSource: Jeremy Janus / shutterstock
Sweet Creek Falls

There are four tiers in Sweet Creek Falls, with a total 70-foot drop, but they are far more impressive than that statistic suggests.

The setting is beautiful, with trees, ferns, and moss all around.

Fall is arguably the best time for a visit.

You can enter the park without paying a parking fee and the trail takes you up 350 feet to reach the falls.

Four different trails go past the cascades, with the shortest route to them less than half a mile.

You can wade in the creek’s cool waters but take care because the rocks are slippery.

12. Upper Downing Creek Falls, Salem

Upper Downing Creek FallsSource: Bonnie Moreland (free images) / Flickr | Public Domain Mark
Upper Downing Creek Falls

The only danger on the easy trail to these falls is that the rocks can be slippery.

It is a great place to take children, with the round trip not much more than half a mile.

Water drops from rock that creates a cube, with cascades sometimes falling on all four sides.

The height is 32 feet, with the strongest flow coming after the snows have melted in the spring.

Even in the height of summer, they will not run dry completely.

13. Majestic Falls, McDowell Creek Falls Park

Majestic FallsSource: Beach Creatives / shutterstock
Majestic Falls

Majestic Falls is the largest of four significant waterfalls on McDowell Creek in the park of the same name.

A good photograph of these 39-foot falls is easy from the observation deck, with the water then heading off down a canyon.

They are great to visit any time of year, although the flow reduces in summer.

Come fall, the maple trees’ leaves change color to create a fantastic setting.

All four of the falls can be found on the same trail without having to walk too far.

14. Lake Creek Falls, Blachly

Lake Creek FallsSource: Hills Outdoors / shutterstock
Lake Creek Falls

This is a natural recreation area that attracts many visitors during the summer and is open year-round.

Several cascades travel through a gorge on the way to Triangle Lake, and the natural slide that has been created is a great place to spend a day.

You’ll need a towel and a picnic but make sure you take your rubbish home with you.

The parking lot is about a mile away and your dog is welcome, as long as he or she is on a leash.

Incidentally, alcohol is not permitted.

15. Ki-a-Kuts Falls, Washington County

Ki-a-Kuts FallsSource: M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 3.0
Ki-a-Kuts Falls

These falls on the Tualatin River take the name of the last Chief of the Atfalati Indians – a branch of the Kalapuya.

Either side of these 40-foot falls are basalt columns and cliffs; those willing to take the fairly difficult route to reach them will not regret it.

You must wear good hiking boots with plenty of support and take a backpack with food and water.

Don’t expect to get a cell phone signal because this is a remote region; indeed, they were only discovered in 1993.

15 Amazing Waterfalls in Oregon:

  • Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge
  • Wahkeena Falls, Columbia River Highway
  • Punch Bowl Falls, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
  • Metlako Falls, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
  • Latourell Falls, Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway
  • Abiqua Falls, Scott Mills
  • South Falls, Silver Creek State Park
  • White River Falls, White River Falls State Park
  • Watson Falls, Douglas County
  • Sahalie Falls, Willamette National Forest
  • Sweet Creek Falls, Siuslaw National Forest
  • Upper Downing Creek Falls, Salem
  • Majestic Falls, McDowell Creek Falls Park
  • Lake Creek Falls, Blachly
  • Ki-a-Kuts Falls, Washington County