Seeing waterfalls of all shapes and sizes can be a breathtaking experience. Despite what TLC sang to us in the mid-90s, chasing waterfalls can make for some exciting adventures. The rivers and the lakes don’t have anything on waterfalls. A trip to the many waterfalls in Oregon might be worth considering if you enjoy spotting them.
Today, we’re sharing some of the best places in Oregon where you can see waterfalls. Let’s dive in!
How Many Waterfalls Are in Oregon?
It may not be surprising to most of you, but waterfalls require water. As a result, the number of waterfalls in Oregon varies based on the year. Some waterfalls only come alive during the rainy season or after heavy rains. However, there are estimates that there are 238 waterfalls in the Beaver State of Oregon.
But, as we said, this number can greatly increase depending on the year or if an area experiences excessive rain.
Which State Has the Most Waterfalls?
While Oregon has a couple of hundred waterfalls, Washington, its neighbor to the north, has thousands. However, some of these are nonexistent most of the year and only come alive during the rainiest times of the year or when the snow melts.
No matter which of these states you visit, you can turn it into a game to see how many you can experience during your trip.
While you may see some of these waterfalls from the safety and comfort of your vehicle, that’s not always the case. You may need to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails to catch a glimpse of some waterfalls. Make sure you research what’s required to avoid biting off more than you’re willing to chew when trying to spot waterfalls.
The 11 Best Waterfalls in Oregon
While there are hundreds of incredible waterfalls in Oregon, we’ve taken the time to narrow them down. Here are 11 of the best waterfalls in Oregon that we think are worth checking out if you visit the Beaver State.
Location: Cascade Locks, Ore.
About: You can’t talk about Oregon waterfalls without mentioning Multnomah Falls. It’s a massive 600 feet waterfall that is simply breathtaking. If you’re standing at the base, looking up at Benson Bridge with the falls in the background is an incredible view. However, hiking up to the bridge allows a closer view of the natural beauty of the falls.
But don’t expect to have this place to yourself. Multnomah Falls typically welcomes more than two million visitors each year. It’s one of the most popular natural recreation sites in the Pacific Northwest.
How to see the falls: Multnomah Falls is easy to access as it’s right off I-85 east of Portland. Take Exit 31 for Multnomah Falls and park in the parking lot. Follow the path that takes you under the interstate and over the train tracks toward the Lodge and Visitor Center.
You’ll be able to enjoy the view from there or hike up to Benson Bridge. However, don’t underestimate the 0.4-mile round-trip hike to Benson Bridge. It’s uphill the entire way, and coming back down can be hard on your knees.
Location: Bend, Ore.
About: Tumalo Falls is a 97-foot waterfall in Deschutes National Forest, just west of the popular city of Bend. This is a popular day-use area for hiking and biking.
The United States Forest Service manages the area and has picnic sites and toilet access. The view of the falls surrounded by the tall evergreen trees makes this a special view you don’t want to miss!
How to see the falls: To see Tumalo Falls, you must purchase a Northwest Forest Pass. After traversing a long gravel road, you’ll come to the parking area for Tumalo Falls. You’ll see the falls in the distance, but don’t settle for that view.
It’s a 2.0-mile out-and-back trail to see the falls. However, there’s minimal elevation gain, and the hike is kid and pet-friendly. Mist hikers can complete this trail in less than an hour, but don’t be in a hurry.
After visiting Tumalo Falls, check out these 5 Hidden Gems in Bend, Oregon.
Location: Silverton, Ore.
About: South Falls is one of the most recognizable falls in the area. It’s a massive 175-foot drop into a dark pool of water at the base of the falls.
There’s even a walking path that provides a unique view from the backside of the falls. The green moss growing on the rocks provides a fantastic backdrop for the falls.
How to see the falls: There’s a relatively easy 0.9-mile looping trail. However, be careful if you go behind the falls. The trail does get wet, and there are some slippery stones. Some find that the incline back out of the falls is more difficult than anticipated. So make sure to take your time on the way back from the fall back out of the falls.
Location: Idleyld Park, Ore.
About: Watson Falls is another one of Oregon’s massive waterfalls. These falls plunge a staggering 300 feet to the bottom. You’ll find plenty of tributaries, and the lush vegetation frames the falls perfectly.
It’s a fantastic spot to sit and snap some long-exposure photos. Bring a snack to enjoy or use the shaded picnic areas near the parking lot.
How to see the falls: Accessing Watson Falls requires a half-mile hike from the parking area. The 360 feet elevation gain over the 0.8-mile loop can be challenging for inexperienced hikers.
It takes approximately 36 minutes for most people to complete this trail. However, as water carves through the creek, you’ll see basalt lava cliffs in the lower rapids.
Location: Blue River, Ore.
About: Proxy Falls is a stunning set of falls where you can watch the water cascade down the rock faces and into the creek below. The water carves its way through moss-covered rocks and downed trees.
The pool below is incredibly cold, especially during the spring, as the snow melts from the area. Keep in mind that this is a seasonal park and closes on November 1 of each year.
How to see the falls: Visiting Proxy Falls requires a 1.6-mile hike on a looping trail. This is a moderately difficult trail with an elevation gain of 147 feet over the hike. Wear solid shoes, as the trail can be rocky and challenging on your feet, especially on slippery rocks. It’s a fantastic hike in the summer, as there’s plenty of shade to keep you out of the sun.
Salt Creek Falls
Location: Oakridge, Ore.
About: Salt Creek Falls is a 280 feet tall set of falls within Willamette National Forest. It’s one of the largest single-drop falls in Oregon. Visitors can look down into the valley below, where the falls pour into it. Moss grows on the surrounding rocks and provides an incredible contrast to the rushing water.
Visitors of all ages will be stunned by the remarkable beauty of these falls. Visiting during the winter time can provide an even better view that very few get to appreciate. Seeing the falls and the surrounding rocks covered in ice and snow is a sight!
How to see the falls: This is one of the falls that just about anybody can enjoy, as there’s a platform approximately 50 feet from the parking area.
You don’t have to break a sweat or climb a hill to enjoy this one! However, if you come during the winter, you’ll need a properly equipped vehicle and trek half a mile to enjoy the view. But like we said, the view in the wintertime is worth the hike!
Location: Mount Hood, Ore.
About: Tamanawas Falls is near Mount Hood and is a 150-foot waterfall that appears twice as large from the base. Standing below and looking up at the falls helps you appreciate the power and beauty of nature.
Mist from the falls keeps the base relatively cool, even during the summer heat. Many hikers take the time to cool off in the water and relax before returning.
How to see the falls: To experience Tamanawas Falls requires an approximately 3-mile hike, which typically is too much for some visitors. This is moderately challenging and can be a bit much for many hikers.
A 580-foot elevation gain makes it challenging when the trail is wet, muddy, or covered in snow. Make sure to check the trail conditions before embarking on this hike.
Location: Corbett, Ore.
About: Latourell Falls is a waterfall with a 200-foot drop, which creates a tremendous amount of mist as it works its way to the ground. This is a popular waterfall among photographers as it’s a single-plunge waterfall. The chartreuse-colored lichen decorates the rocks and walls around the falls.
How to see the falls: To view Latourell Falls requires a 2-mile hike on a looping trail. The trail has an elevation gain of 639 feet, so prepare for the climb. You’ll likely experience people throughout the trail, so don’t worry about being alone.
Much of the elevation gain is at the start of the hike, so you’ll get the hard part out of the way and enjoy the rest of your hike.
Bridal Veil Falls
Location: Corbett, Ore.
About: Bridal Veil Falls is near Multnomah and Latourell Falls. This is a double cascading waterfall that resembles the famous Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite Valley.
If you can’t make the trip to Yosemite National Park, this is a solid alternative that can hold you over until you do. Guests often take pictures next to a giant rock at the base of the falls.
How to see the falls: This is a family-friendly waterfall that’s easy to see and experience. Park in the parking area and pick one of the two trails leading to it.
The Upper Trail provides an incredible view of the surrounding Columbia River Gorge area, and the Lower Trail leads to the base of the falls.
Location: Corbett, Ore.
About: Toketee Falls sits inside Umpqua National Forest, and guests can enjoy the view of both drops in Toketee Falls. The waterfalls are nearly 100 feet to the bottom, crashing into basalt columns below. This area becomes a popular swimming hole during the summer as guests take the opportunity to cool off.
How to see the falls: The hike to Toketee Falls is an approximately 0.8-mile round-trip hike that has less than a 200-foot elevation gain. Most guests can do the hike in 26 minutes, but plan for time to spend enjoying the view. This is one of the most beautiful falls in the area. Take the time to appreciate it!
White River Falls
Location: Maupin, Ore.
About: The White River Falls seem almost out of place in an otherwise dry landscape. However, this is a 90-foot waterfall that creates a cool pool at the base. It’s a popular spot for many hikers and adventurers to cool down during their hike.
If it’s a hot day, don’t expect to have the falls to yourself. However, the view of the rocky amphitheater surrounding the falls is so good that you won’t mind sharing it with others.
How to see the falls: The hike to the bottom of White River Falls is 0.8 miles out and back. It takes approximately 25 minutes to complete this hike and has an elevation gain of 170 feet. It’s moderately challenging for guests to conquer, but almost anybody can do this hike if you take your time.
The prize is at the base, where you can take a dip in the water to cool off and relax.
You’ll love exploring these 7 Underrated State Parks.
When Is the Best Time to See Waterfalls in Oregon?
The best time to see waterfalls in Oregon is mid to late spring, as the snow melts. The melting snow makes many waterfalls rush more intensely than at other times of the year. However, it’s important to remember that those falls at higher elevations may be inaccessible until very late into spring.
Just make sure you prepare accordingly. Dirt trails and other paths can be extremely slippery and increase the trail’s difficulty. Without the proper footwear, you could slip or struggle to hike up and out of an area due to the incline and muddy path.
See Hundreds of Waterfalls in the Beaver State
There are hundreds of waterfalls that you can enjoy in Oregon no matter what time of year you visit. Don’t miss an opportunity to take in the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty and all it offers. You can see and appreciate plenty of waterfalls that don’t require an intense hike.
Even if you’re not taking a dip in the bottom of a waterfall, take the time to soak in the view and take plenty of pictures to share when you get home.
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