Top 15 Best Waterfall Hikes near Portland

Portland is surrounded by some of the best natural scenery in the USA, it’s also surrounded by some of the most beautiful waterfalls perfect for a seriously scenic hike. From more famous falls to hidden gems, we’ve chosen some of the best waterfall hikes located near Portland, Oregon…

1. Punch Bowl Falls – a picturesque fall located in a national scenic area, perfect for a hike

Punch Bowl Falls - Oregon

The hiking trail starts from Eagle Creek and goes all the way to Punch Bowl Falls. The trail is skirted with exquisite waterfalls, basalt cliffs, and dense rainforests, all of which are characteristic of the Pacific Northwest. 

It is a 4.2 miles long hike with an elevation gain of 525. The hike is well-suited for hikers of all levels, including beginners. While the hike is generally deemed family-friendly, you may not want to take young children with you as the trail is always highly trafficked and has steep cliffs in several sections. The route is accessible to the public all year long. 

As you hike along the trail, you will find the remains of the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire, such as burned off segments of forest canopy, blackened dead trees, and burned trunks of conifers. 

  • Oregon 97014
  • Distance from Portland: 50 minute drive

13. Multnomah Falls – one of the most visited falls trails in the country

Multnomah Falls - Oregon

Located close to Bridal Veil Falls, Multnomah Falls Trail is a 2.4 miles long hike with an elevation gain of 870 feet. The hike starts at Multnomah Falls Trailhead and ends at the upper viewpoint of the waterfalls. 

The trail is suitable for hiking, bird-watching, and dog-walking. Multnomah Falls Trail is a moderate hike well-suited for novices. The trail is family-friendly and has a steady climb from the start

  • Oregon 97014
  • Distance from Portland: 35 minute drive

2. Oneonta Gorge Hike – a panoramic hiking destination where you can enjoy the beautiful views

Oneonta Gorge Hike - Oregon

Oneonta Gorge Hike is a flat one-mile-long hike that starts from Oneonta Gorge waterfall located in the Columbia River Gorge area. The trailhead is fringed by distinct aquatic and woodland plants native to the Pacific Northwest. 

Oneonta Gorge waterfalls serve as the gateway to many famous day hikes and backpacking paths that travel up to Larch Mountain. The one-mile-long hike ends at Lower Oneonta Falls. 

The route is not family-friendly and should not be used by beginners. The trail requires wading through deep waters and there are a lot of giant logs scattered along the path. The best time to hike Oneonta Gorge is during summer as the water is too cold during winters. The route is heavily crowded on weekends, specifically between August and October. 

  • Columbia River Gorge
  • Distance from Portland: 40 minutes

3. Starvation Creek State Park – a serene park that is known for its lovely falls

Starvation Creek State Park - Oregon

Starvation Creek Waterfalls Hike is a 4.3 miles long hike that allows you to explore four Columbia River Gorge waterfalls. The hike starts from the Starvation Creek Trailhead and ends at Lancaster Falls. 

It is an out-and-back hike with an elevation gain of 145 feet. While the path is family-friendly, it is mostly crowded and is therefore not deemed fit for young children.

As you hike on this trail, you get to see many natural landmarks, including Lindsey Creek, Lancestar Falls, Warren Creek Falls, Harrison Falls, Dog Mountain, Shellrock Mountain, and Wind Mountain. Starvation Creek Waterfalls Hike is fairly easy and suitable for hikers of all levels. 

  • Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, Cascade Locks, OR 97014
  • Distance from Portland: 1 hour

4. Butte Creek Falls – a gorgeous Fall where you can walk behind it and admire nature

Butte Creek Falls - Oregon

Butte Creek Falls Hike is a short loop hike with an elevation gain of 320 feet. The hiking trail starts at Butte Creek Falls Trailhead and ends at the Butte Creek waterfalls. The hike is 1.1 miles long and takes only 90 minutes to cover. 

As you hike on the Butte Creek Falls trail, you get to see two exquisite waterfalls at the base of the Cascade Mountains. The path is reasonably wide and family-friendly. As you reach the endpoint of the trail, there’s a large area for kids to safely play and explore the waterfalls. 

Butte Creek Falls Hike is a well-maintained trail with several restrooms at the trailhead. It is well-suited for hikers of all levels. Due to the 2020 Beachie Creek Fire, the accessibility of the route is subject to changes by the Oregon Department of Forestry. 

  • Oregon 97375
  • Distance from Portland: 1 hour 20 minutes

5. Wahclella Falls – one of the best falls hikes for beginners due to the level of difficulty being easy

Wahclella Falls - Oregon

The Wahclella Falls hike is an in-and-out hike that starts and ends at Wahclella Falls. However, it has turned into an out-and-back hike due to the recent Eagle Creek Fire. Instead of following the loop, most people use the same route back as the later parts of the loop are skirted with the remains of the fire. 

It is a 2.4 miles long trail with an elevation gain of 320 feet. The highest point of the trail lies at 335 feet. The best time to hike the trail is during Autumn and Spring as the weather is most pleasant then. At Wahclella Falls, there is a grotto-like amphitheatre which serves as a resting spot for day hikers. It is one of the easiest hikes in the Columbia River Gorge and is suitable for hikers of all levels. 

  • Oregon 97014
  • Distance from Portland: 1 hour

6. Horsetail Falls – an easily accessed waterfall great for trails

Horsetail Falls - Oregon

The Horsetail Falls hike starts at Horsetail Falls Trailhead and ends at Oneonta Trailhead. It is a 2.6 miles long loop trail that takes you to three stunning waterfalls near Portland. The hiking trail is accessible to the public all year long, except during winter storms. 

While the route is family-friendly, you must be careful with small children as there are several unprotected cliff viewpoints on Oneonta Bluff. You must also be careful of the poisonous shrubs that grow along the trail. The hiking trail also has a stone-walled viewing area that allows you to indulge in the beauty of Archer Mountain across the river. 

  • Address: Oregon 97014
  • Distance from Portland: 40 minutes

7. Dry Creek Falls – a well-known falls that run from Mexican to the Canadian border

Dry Creek Falls - Oregon

Dry Creek Falls Hike starts at the Bridge of the Gods Trailhead and ends at Dry Creek Falls. You can also start the hike at PCT Harvey Road Trailhead, though it may take you longer to reach the endpoint. 

It is an out-and-back hike that is well-suited for hikers of all levels. The trail is 4.4 miles long and has an elevation gain of 725 feet. There are several safety fences on the trail which makes it safe for small children. 

  • Cascade Locks, OR 97014
  • Distance from Portland: 50 minutes

8. Bridal Veil Falls – a popular Falls hike notable for the mist and the fresh air

Bridal Veil Falls - Oregon

The Bridal Veil Falls hike is 1.4 miles long and has an elevation gain of 205 feet. You start the hike from Bridal Veil Trailhead, located close to the Columbia River Highway. The excursion ends at the Bridal Veil waterfalls. You can take two paths to Bridal Veil Falls, one descends to Bridal Veil Creek first and then ascends to Bridal Veil Falls and the other takes you to the Bridal Veil Lumbering Company’s mill site before ascending to the waterfalls. 

The trail is family-friendly and is accessible to the public all year long. It is a fairly easy and family-friendly hike that is mostly crowded on the weekends. It is an in-and-out hiking trail skirted by healthy green foliage, although you must be careful of the poison oak that grows on the periphery. 

  • Oregon 97010
  • Distance from Portland: 30 minutes

9. Wahkeena Falls – as the name suggests, the most beautiful falls in the state of Oregon, ideal for hiking

Wahkeena Falls - Oregon

The Wahkeena Falls hike is a highly-trafficked loop trail that is located on the Historic Columbia River Highway. The hike is 1.4 miles long and has an elevation gain of 565 feet. 

It is a moderate hike suitable for beginners. While the route is accessible to the public throughout the year, it is best used between April and October. The hike is family-friendly, dog-friendly, and kid-friendly. As the route is partially paved, it should not be used by novices during winter due to large patches of snow scattered across the path. 

  • Oregon 97019
  • Distance from Portland: 34 minutes

10. Ramona Falls – a very popular hike spot for outdoor lovers with an outstanding waterfall

Ramona Falls - Oregon

Located near the village of Rhododendron, Ramona Falls Trail is a 7.1 miles long loop trail that starts and ends at Ramona Falls. It is a moderate hike with an elevation gain of 325. The path elevates gradually and is suitable for horse-riding, snowshoeing, and hiking. The hike is not family-friendly. 

While dogs are able to use the path, they must be kept on leash. Ramona Falls Trail is one of the most frequented trails near Portland due to its gradual elevation gain. The trail is best used between late spring and early fall.

  • Oregon 97041
  • Distance from Portland: 1 hour 15 mintues

11. Latourell Falls – one of the best waterfall treks not far from downtown Portland

Latourell Falls - Oregon

Located near Corbett, Latourell Falls Loop Trail is a 2.4 miles long hike that starts at Latourell Falls Trailhead and ends at Upper Latourell Falls. With an elevation gain of 625 feet, the trail is suitable for hiking, walking, and running. The trail can also be used for dog-walking, though the dogs must be kept on leash. 

Latourell Falls Loop Trail is accessible to the public throughout the year except during winter storms. It is an easy hike suitable for novices. 

  • Oregon 97019
  • Distance from Portland: 37 minutes

12. Abiqua Falls – a hidden gem falls where you can go for a relaxing walk whilst listening to the sound of nature

Abiqua Falls - Oregon

Located near Scotts Mills, Abiqua Falls Hike is a loop trail that starts and ends at Abiqua Falls. It is a moderate hike with an elevation gain of 180 feet. The hike takes you to the exquisite Abiqua Falls in the Santiam State Forest.

The trail is not family-friendly with most parts covered with mud. It is heavily trafficked on sunny weekends. The accessibility of the trail is subject to changes as it is located on a private property. 

  • Oregon 97375
  • Distance from Portland: 1 hour 20 minutes

14. Trail of Ten Falls – a moderate level trail that has mind-blowing cascades 

Trail of Ten Falls - Oregon

Located near Mehama on North Santiam River, Trail of Ten Falls is a 7.8 miles long trail that starts at South Falls Lodge Trailhead and ends at Upper North Falls. It is a moderate hike with an elevation gain of 1,300 feet. 

While the trail is family-friendly, it is not suitable for small kids. There is a parking area close to the trailhead that offers paid parking. 

  •  OR 97385-9758
  • Distance from Portland: 1 hour 10 minutes

15. Ponytail Falls – a unique hike location where you can enjoy the views of the falls or have a picnic 

Ponytail Falls - Oregon

Ponytail Falls Hike is the easiest out-and-back hike in the Columbia River Gorge. The trail features both Ponytail Falls and Horsetail Falls and is skirted by distinct flora. The hike is shorter than a mile and has an elevation gain of 320 feet. 

It is an easy hike suitable for hikers of all levels. The family-friendly trail is accessible all year long, except during winter storms.

  • OR 97031
  • Distance from Portland: 37 minutes

 

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