15+ Can’t-Miss Waterfall Hikes Near Portland

Portland waterfall hikes

Oregon has some of the most amazing waterfalls in the country and the hikes to the waterfalls can be just as stunning. In the area near Portland, Oregon, there are countless waterfalls worth hiking to. Below are some of the best waterfall hikes near Portland to add to your list in the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, and beyond.

Waterfall Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is a hikers paradise, and it is without a doubt the best place to find waterfall hikes near Portland. After all, it has more than 90 waterfalls on just the Oregon side! Below is just a few of the magnificent hikes to waterfalls that you can drive to from Portland, Oregon.

Multnomah Falls

Portland waterfall hikes
Multnomah Falls
  • Length: 2.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 810 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed on a leash
  • Distance From Portland:  30 miles
  • Trailhead Location: Off I-84

Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s tallest waterfall, at 620 feet tall. It is very likely you have heard of or at least seen a picture of these falls. The iconic bridge sits over the tier in the falls, making the waterfall look straight out of a fantasy.

It is a 2.4-mile hike from the parking lot to the top of the waterfall and back down. To reach just the base of the falls it is barely a quarter of a mile of a walk on an easy, paved path, making it one of the easiest hikes near Portland. Continuing on the trail takes you up and across the bridge to the top of the waterfall.

If you can only visit one waterfall near Portland, Oregon, this should be the one! It is popular for a reason, and the most impressive waterfall I’ve ever seen! Arrive early and on a weekday to avoid the crowds. On a summer weekend, it is not unusual for the large parking lot off I-84 to fill up before noon.

Latourell Falls & Upper Latourell Falls Loop Trail

  • Length: 3.0 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 728 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed on a leash
  • Distance From Portland:  30 miles
  • Trailhead Location: Off Historic Columbia River Highway in Guy W. Talbot State Park

Latourell Falls is the closest waterfall hike on this list to Portland, barely 34 minutes from downtown. The trailhead is located off the Historic Columbia River Highway in Guy W. Talbot State Park. This loop trail will actually lead you to two spectacular Oregon waterfalls.

Lower Latourell Falls is only a quarter of a mile from the trailhead on a paved path, accessible for the whole family. Cross the bridge over Latoureall Falls creek, and after 1.8 miles of hiking, you will come to Upper Latourell Falls.

Upper Latourell Falls is a two-tiered fall that you can walk behind! It also has a bridge in front of it crossing Latourell Creek. The trail continues onward back down to the trailhead and parking lot. There is another lookout point of the lower waterfall just before the trailhead.

Wahclella Falls Trail

Portland waterfall hikes
Wahclella Falls has the perfect lookout spot
  • Length: 1.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 223 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed on a leash
  • Distance From Portland:  39 miles
  • Trailhead Location: Exit 40 on I-84

Wahclella Falls Trail is easily my favorite of the waterfall hikes near Portland. This hike leads through a canyon along Tanner Creek to one of the best waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge. Wahclella Falls flows through a crevis and has two tiers that flow into a pool at the base. Several footbridges criss-cross over the creek, and in the rainy season, there are even more waterfalls that flow over the canyon walls and are visible from the trail.

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This waterfall trail is only 2 miles round trip, with a great payoff for the distance. This easy hike should be doable for everyone in the family and is great year-round.

Horsetail & Ponytail Falls Trail

  • Length: 0.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 331 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed on a leash
  • Distance From Portland:  36 miles
  • Trailhead Location: Off Historic Columbia River Highway, Exit 35 from I-84

Horsetail & Ponytail Falls Trail is a short, easy hike in the Columbia River Gorge that leads you to two amazing waterfalls. Horsetail Falls is visible from the parking lot and has a small staircase that allows access to its base.

Portland waterfall hikes
You can walk the way behind Ponytail Falls

It is a half a mile hike up some switchbacks to Ponytail Falls (also called Upper Horsetail Falls). Ponytail Falls is stunning from a distance, and you can also hike closer to and hike behind the waterfall. If you continue past the waterfall there is a lookout point about a quarter of a mile down the trail that looks over the Columbia River Gorge.

Wahkeena Falls Trail

  • Length: 6.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,751 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed on a leash
  • Distance From Portland:  30 miles
  • Trailhead Location: Off Historic Columbia River Highway, Exit 28 from I-84

Wahkeena Falls Trail is a great waterfall hike to add on to visiting Multnomah Falls. It is only 0.5 miles to Wahkeena Falls, but you can hike the whole 6-mile loop back to Multnomah Falls for a longer hike.

If you hike the full loop, you will also see Fairy Falls 1 mile into the trail. Ecola Falls, Weisendanger Falls, and Dutchman Falls are also on this trail, all within a mile of Multnomah Falls. After reaching the base of Multnomah Falls, you will trek a little over a half a mile alongside the Historic Columbia River Highway to get back to your car at the trailhead.

Other Columbia River Gorge Waterfall Hikes

Portland waterfall hikes
Bridal Veil Falls viewed from the trail

There are so many other great waterfall hikes near Portland in the Columbia River Gorge it would be impossible to list them all. Below are just a few more hikes to add to your list!

  • Bridal Veil Falls0.5 miles, 78 feet, Easy– Many wouldn’t consider this a true hike, but nevertheless it is well worth your time. Bridal Veil Falls is only a quarter of a mile from the parking lot, and the overlook gives a spectacular view of the two-tiered, over 100 foot waterfall.
  • Dry Creek Falls Trail4.4 miles, 885 feet, Easy– Dry Creek Falls Trail is 50 minutes from Portland, near Cascade Locks. This route to the waterfall follows the PCT for the majority of the trail.

Waterfall Hikes Near Mount Hood

Mount Hood towers above Portland, and Mount Hood National Forest is a popular destination for hikers, backpackers, and ski and snowboard enthusiasts. Most people flock to Mount Hood for the epic mountain views, but you can also see many stunning waterfalls in the area. Hike to one of these many amazing waterfall hikes near Portland in Mount Hood.

Tamanawas Falls

Portland waterfall hikes
Tamanawas Falls in the winter
  • Length: 3.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 580 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed on a leash
  • Distance From Portland:  74 miles
  • Trailhead Location: Mount Hood National Forest, off OR-35

Tamanawas Falls Trail is one of the best waterfall hikes in Mount Hood National Forest. It is a 1 hour and 30-minute drive from Portland to the trailhead. The trail is a little over 3 miles to the waterfall.

This is a great hike any time of year. You will hike over several bridges and through a boulder field to get to the massive waterfall. In the winter icicles form around the falls, and you can snowshoe or hike with crampons or microspikes to get to the waterfall.

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Ramona Falls Trail

Portland waterfall hikes
Bridge Over Ramona Falls
  • Length: 7.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1066 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed on a leash
  • Distance From Portland:  51 miles
  • Trailhead Location: Muddy Fork Road, Off US Hwy 26

Ramona Falls Trail is one of the most iconic waterfall hikes in Oregon. This trail loops around the PCT and Ramona Falls trail, catching up with the Timberline Trail for a section. The beginning of this trail has a stream crossing that can be quite dangerous for much of the year. Make sure you are prepared before attempting this trail.

On a clear day, Mount Hood may even be visible from this section of trail! When you reach Ramona Falls, be prepared for one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Oregon. The water cascades down in front of a bridge that makes the perfect spot to stop and see the waterfall.

Other Waterfall Hikes Near Mount Hood

Tamanawas Falls is not the only waterfall on Mount Hood. There are many more amazing waterfalls near Portland around the mountain, ranging from easy and short to difficult and long.

  • Umbrella Falls & Sahalie Falls Trail3.4 miles, 667 feet, Moderate– It is only a quarter of a mile to Umbrella Falls and another mile and a half to Sahalie Falls. This trailhead is at Mount Hood Meadows.
  • Little Zigzag Falls Trail 0.7 miles, 114 feet, Easy– This is a quick, easy hike to a smaller waterfall, not far from Government Camp.

Silver Falls State Park Waterfalls

Silver Falls State Park is one of the best places to see waterfalls in all of Oregon. This state park is 54 miles from Portland and about an hour of a drive. This makes it the perfect day trip from Portland to see multiple waterfalls in a short amount of time.

It is important to know before you go that parking at any of the trailheads requires a $5 entrance fee per vehicle. Take a short hike to North Falls or South Falls, or take a longer hike to all ten waterfalls in the park on the Trail of Ten Falls.

North Falls

Portland waterfall hikes
You can walk right behind North Falls
  • Length: 0.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 26 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed in Silver Falls State Park, but not this trail
  • Distance From Portland:  55 miles
  • Trailhead Location: Off OR-214 in Silver Falls State Park

North Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park, and one that you can get to with a short hike. It is only a quarter of a mile from North Falls from the North Falls Trailhead. You will come to this parking lot first when you enter the park from the North on OR-214.

This is also one of 4 waterfalls in the park you can walk behind.

South Falls

Portland waterfall hikes
South Falls
  • Length: 0.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 193 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Dogs: Dogs are allowed to the lookout of South Falls but not on the Canyon Trail
  • Distance From Portland:  57 miles
  • Trailhead Location: Off OR-214 in Silver Falls State Park

South Falls is another amazing waterfall in Oregon you can access with minimal difficulty. There is a paved path leading to an overlook of this waterfall, which is only a quarter of a mile. A little further the trail leads behind South Falls. From there you can take a loop back up to the lookout, or continue on the Canyon Trail to hike the Trail of Ten Falls.

Trail of Ten Falls

Portland waterfall hikes
Lower South Falls as viewed from the trail
  • Length: 9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,404 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Dogs: Dogs are only allowed on the Rim Trail section, but not the entire Trail of Ten Falls
  • Distance From Portland:  57 miles
  • Trailhead Location: Off OR-214 in Silver Falls State Park

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The Trail of Ten Falls is a 9-mile hike that combines the Canyon Trail and Rim Trail in Silver Falls State Park. This hile leads to 10 magnificent waterfalls. You can start this hike at South Falls Trailhead, North Falls Trailhead, or Winter Falls Trailhead; although South Falls Trailhead is the largest and most popular.

This is a fantastic hike and one of the best ways to see multiple waterfalls in one day. Each waterfall is better than the last with the standouts being South Falls, Lower South Falls, North Falls, Middle North Falls, and Upper North Falls.

Other Waterfall Hikes Near Portland

Oregon is full of impressive waterfalls, both near and far from Portland! The hikes below are a few more bonus waterfall hikes near Portland you may want to check out.

  • Drift Creek Falls Trail3.2 miles, 541 feet, Easy– Drift Creek Falls Trail is a unique trail with an impressive suspension bridge over the waterfall that makes for a memorable hike. This trailhead is around 2 hours from Portland.
  • Abiqua Falls Trail 0.7 miles, 249 feet, Moderate– Abiqua Falls Trail is a short hike a little over an hour from Portland, not far from Silverton and Silver Falls State Park

Tips for Visiting Waterfalls Hikes Near Portland

Portland waterfall hikes
  • Go early! If you are visiting in the summer or on a weekend, arrive at the trailhead early. Portlanders love hiking and many trailheads can fill up before 10 or 11 AM, depending on the time of year and distance to Portland.
  • Waterfalls are best in the Fall to Spring. In the Summer, many waterfalls are dried up to a trickle but once the rainy season starts up they will be back in full swing. Spring is my favorite time to visit waterfalls when the weather is nice but the falls are still flowing.
  • Have the right pass. Many waterfall trailheads require either a Northwest Forest Pass, National Parks America the Beautiful Pass, or a day fee to park at the trailhead.

What to Wear Hiking to Waterfalls Near Portland

Portland waterfall hikes

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

Make sure you have the right gear to hike to these falls! Below is a quick list of what to wear and take hiking on a waterfall hike.

  • Rain Jacket– Anytime you are visiting a waterfall it is a great idea to bring a rain jacket. At peak flow, many of these waterfalls create a lot of mist!  Marmot makes top-quality rain gear, and Columbia has a great, inexpensive option.
  • Heavy Coat– If you are hiking in the winter it is a good idea to bring a packable heavy coat, especially in the mountains.
  • Backpack– If you are going to be doing a lot of hiking, be sure to wear a good backpack! A proper daypack made for hiking can make all the difference.
  • Hat– I always bring both a beanie hat for warmth and a baseball cap to keep ticks away when hiking.
  • Hiking Boots– If you are doing any hikes to waterfalls waterproof hiking boots are a must, especially in the rainy season. Merrell’s are a great option for beginner hikers. If you are wearing hiking boots, make sure you are also wearing the right socks to avoid blisters.
  • Microspikes– Hiking in winter means bringing microspikes along in case the trail is icy. Always look up conditions and read trail reviews before you go.

You May Also Like

  • Best Hikes Near Hood River
  • Guide to Silver Falls State Park & Trail of Ten Falls
  • Snowshoe Tamanawas Falls
  • Latourell Falls Loop Hike

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About the Author: Tung Chi