The Pacific Northwest is known for its breathtaking waterfalls! So it’s no wonder when you visit the Portland, Oregon area you’ll want to make sure you visit a few of these amazing waterfalls!
Here at Celebrate Again I, Emmy, love helping couples and adventurers like you enjoy the majesty of exploration! What better way to explore than visiting some waterfalls in Portland, Oregon! With us now expanding to be Oregon elopement photographers we cannot wait to keep dating this post with the best waterfalls. A note we want to you to know is that while there are waterfalls super close to Portland the best ones require about 1-2 hour drive, but friend they are SO worth it!
In order to create a complete guide for you I teamed up with Kayla, a Portland local and experienced hiker in the Pacific Northwest! Kayla is a Portland elopement photographer with Together Theory. Aside from taking photos of eloping couples on their adventurous wedding days, she’s an avid mushroom hunter, explorer and hiker!
I’m so excited to have her as a guest blogger to help you know where to go, what to expect and how to best prepare for visiting waterfalls in Portland, Oregon!
Best Waterfall Hikes Near Portland, OR
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Waterfall Hikes Near Portland, OR
- 2 Gear You’ll Need To Hike Waterfalls In Portland
- 3 Planning For Your Hike
- 4 Planning Your Portland Trip
- 5 Having an unforgettable anniversary experience
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- Difficulty: Easy
- Distance 2 miles
- Terrain: Loop
- Traffic: Busy
- Best Time To Visit: Winter Mid Week
Latourell Falls is one of my favorite must-see waterfalls near Portland. With only a short drive into the Columbia River Gorge, you can access the trailhead for these grand falls. The 2 mile loop trail will take you to both the upper falls and lower falls– the lower one being 250 feet tall!
Latourell Falls is a fairly popular spot, although less popular than Multnomah Falls, which is lower on this list. My best suggestions are to plan for a weekday during the slower winter season! It might be a little more muddy than in the summer, but the waterfall will be at full force from all of the rain water, and you’ll be more likely to have the trail to yourself!
Don’t feel like hiking, but still want to see Latourell Falls? No problem. Take the trail on the right that leads downward from the parking lot. In just a short 5 minutes, you’ll arrive at the bottom of the lower falls!
Silver Falls State Park
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Distance 7.6 miles
- Terrain: Loop
- Traffic: Busy
- Best Time To Visit: Winter Mid Week
Silver Falls State Park is a bit longer of a drive from Portland, but the extra distance will prove to be worth it. There are over a dozen waterfalls in the park. You’re even able to walk behind a few of the falls.
If you have the time, a MUST-DO at Silver Falls State Park is the Trail of Ten Falls. It’s a 7.6 mile trail that brings you past 10 waterfalls in the park! The trail is rated moderate with 1,194 feet of elevation gain.
Some people call Silver Falls the “crown jewel” of Oregon State Parks. It’s the biggest one and nothing short of breathtaking!
Abiqua Falls is by far my personal favorite waterfall in Oregon… when you turn the corner and first see the falls, it feels like you’re entering another world. The hike down to the falls is nothing short of an adventure– so prepare properly. It involves climbing down a muddy cliffside with ropes and a washed out dirt road that not all cars might be able to make it down.
Although it’s listed online as about 5 miles, the hike to the falls is only about 2 miles if your car is able to make it to the trailhead! Otherwise, you’ll have to park along the side of the road and walk to the trailhead. The hike is rated hard, and the hike back to the parking lot is harder since that’s when you’ll be hiking up. Make sure you check AllTrails for the specific directions to get to the trailhead as it’s not very clear once you reach the end of the road.
All factors aside– if you choose to embark on this waterfall hike, know that it will be worth it! It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen and is incredibly unique. I’ve even seen otters there while photographing an elopement once!
If you’re thinking about traveling to Portland, it’s likely that you’ve seen photos of Multnomah Falls before! It’s one of the most famous waterfalls in Oregon, and also one of the largest, at 627 feet. It has a gorgeous bridge that crosses in front of it and is very popularly photographed!
Although Multnomah Falls is a must-see if you’re coming to Oregon, I only recommend it as more of a photo stop. It tends to get extremely crowded and filled with people pretty easily– in the summer it’s usually a task to even find parking.
If you don’t mind the crowds, there’s a beautiful hike that you can do that will lead you to a viewpoint near the top of the falls! It’s 2 miles round trip and rated moderate.
Wahclella Falls just recently opened back up since a series of fires that ran through the Columbia River Gorge, and has quickly become my favorite waterfall hike! It’s a 1.9 mile trail round trip that takes you on a ridge along a river, underneath a cave, and across several bridges to get to the falls.
Make sure you bring proper shoes for this hike! One side of the trail that leads to the falls is a pretty steep drop off that could be dangerous if you fell.
Why is this a favorite? Once you reach the falls, it feels like you’ve entered another world. The waterfall area is an amphitheater type structure and has plenty of spots to sit, rest, and appreciate the falls.
The Unnamed Waterfall
Kayla and I, Emmy, have left this unlisted because as guides we love to guide our couples to the lesser known and off the beaten path locations. We love guiding couples who hire us for their elopement or anniversary celebrations to these wild locations. Ready to have your anniversary trip documented at one of Portland’s best waterfalls? We’d love to help you plan your trip!
I Emmy, recently had a chance to visit a new waterfall out in the Portland, Oregon area and found this amazing hidden gem. While I don’t want to give away to much we’re so excited to now be expanding our Colorado Elopement photography to being Oregon elopement photographer too. I’m so excited to join Kayla among the amazing photographers out here in the Pacific Northwest!
Gear You’ll Need To Hike Waterfalls In Portland
Excited yet?! Oregon has so many incredible waterfalls… but an adventure to them could only be complete with the right gear!
The gear I’d typically recommend varies a lot based on the season and what waterfall you’re headed to!
Summers: Since the summers are drier, I’d likely only recommend a sturdy pair of hiking shoes/boots with good traction. Or if you plan on swimming beneath a waterfall… don’t forget your bathing suit, towel and sunscreen for Oregon’s strong summer sun!
Want some good recommendations? Check out favorite line up of hiking boots, bathing suits and eco friendly sunscreens!
Fall-Spring: The colder and wetter months are a completely different story! If you’re heading out for your adventure between November and March, here’s the gear that I’d definitely recommend:
- Hiking boots that will give you traction and protection in the mud!
- Some sort of water resistant coat. Even if it’s not raining, there’s always a possibility of getting wet! Oregon falls tend to be much more powerful in the winter.
- Trekking poles for slippery trail conditions.
- Yaktrax for potentially icy trail conditions.
- Clothes that will keep you warm and dry!
- Don’t forget to include your very own sanitary Kula pee cloth to keep the sensitive environments of Oregon wonderful for everyone to enjoy.
Want to find a more recluse waterfall for your photo session? Couples who work with us here at Celebrate Again get exclusive access to some of our best kept locations! Same is true for Kayla as an Oregon Elopement Photographer!
Planning For Your Hike
My best advice for departing on a waterfall adventure of your own– plan to get wet, laugh through the muddiness, and allow yourself to be blown away by Earth’s beauty!
No matter how many times I go to the waterfalls near Portland, they continue to take my breath away. Whether you’re experiencing them for the first time or millionth with your love by your side, I know that you’ll be absolutely floored by their magnificence.
Planning Your Portland Trip
Ready to start planning your Portland, OR trip to see all the breathtaking waterfalls?
Here are some of our favorite recommendations!
Where To Stay In Portland
Wondering if you should stay in a hotel or homestay like VRBO. Check out our helpful graph!
|Home Stays Like VRBO Pros||Home Stays Like VRBO Cons|
|A private place to yourself: if you select this||Weekly Cleaning|
|Supporting local homeowners||Have to make your own bed|
|May have a very curated guidebook to the area||Staff isn’t usually on site|
|Usually has kitchen||Owners may not be reachable 24/7|
|Feels more like home|
|More affordable for needing more than one room|
|More remote locations|
|Having a local stay feel|
Restaurants to Visit In Portland
Wanting to make sure to have your full trip covered, I asked Kayla for her favorite restaurants you need to visit. She’s a vegan so most of her recommendations fit that choice. I’ve also included one of my favorites from when I visited Portland too!
- Farm Spirit: A super fancy restaurant with set dishes per night
- Aviv: vegan Israeli food. Definitely on the nicer side. But being in Portland, standards for ‘fancy’ aren’t toooo high haha
- Ichiza Kitchen: vegan pan Asian/tea room. Really good food, small place and an overall cool experience, especially if you get tea
- Kati Thai: “nicer” restaurant that’s vegan and vegetarian
- Homegrown Smoker: vegan barbecue food, not necessarily fancy but this restaurant went viral and is pretty famous
- New Cascadia Traditional: A dedicated gluten free restaurant and bakery. When I, Emmy visited Portland I ate here every morning for the week we were in Portland. It was so amazing! I HIGHLY recommend it.
- Food carts (what Portland is known for!):
Looking for more ideas of the best anniversary trip ideas? Check Emmy’s blog post on the best places in the US for an anniversary trip!
Having an unforgettable anniversary experience
Celebrating your anniversary or your relationship with this trip? I, Emmy, would love to come alongside you to craft an unforgettable day for you and your beloved. I believe that relationships need to be celebrated often. Find out more about what we do as a couple’s photographer and guide here. Let’s plan out one of the best days of your relationship to date. Are you in?