Top 15 of the Best Waterfalls in and near Portland

Oregon is famous for its rugged landscapes which form gorgeous natural waterfalls and if you live in Portland or just visiting you should definitely visit some of the most beautiful. From well-known beauty spots to some more hidden gems, here are some of the best waterfalls near Portland, Oregon…

1. Cedar Mill Falls – an ideal escape destination from the city where you can enjoy a relaxing time in a short traveling distance

Cedar Mill Falls - Oregon

To check out a beautiful natural spot, you don’t need to go any further than Beaverton, one of Portland’s suburbs. Cedar Mill Falls is right in the town of Beaverton, right next to a bustling road and urban boardwalk. However, step into the falls area and you will feel the soothing power of nature.

The waterfall is not one of Oregon’s biggest by any means, but the soothing view of water flowing over the gentle slope of the rocks is still worth a trip. If you want to sit and relax for a while, there are some nearby benches and a viewing platform. Combine your visit with a trip to the Pittock Mansion or the Hoyt Arboretum.

  • Address:  Portland, OR 97229, USA
  • Distance from Portland – 14 minute drive

2. Multnomah Falls – one of the most popular and best waterfalls in Portland which has over 2 million visitors per year

Multnomah Falls - Oregon

Multnomah Falls is one of the best waterfalls in the Portland, Oregon area. One of the most visited natural destinations in the Pacific Northwest, this stunning 611-foot tall falls is a must-see for a reason.

Only five minutes away from I-84, Multnomah Falls is partially visible from the highway but to get the full experience, you should go to the viewing area.

Adventurous visitors can climb the short hike up to Benson Bridge, which stands above the second tier of the falls, to get up close and personal with the spray, or go all the way to the top. While you’re in the area, visit historic Multnomah Falls Lodge, which first opened its doors in 1925.

  • Address: Oregon 97014, United States
  • Distance from Portland: 33 minute drive

3. Latourell Falls – one of the most stunning sites ideal for family gatherings

Latourell Falls - Oregon

Latourell Falls is part of the group of waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, a designated national scenic area near Portland. The canyon stretches for several miles, forming stunning waterfalls, cliffs, and other scenery along the way.

While a visit to the whole gorge is worth a road trip, if you’re pressed for time, Latourell Falls are the closest waterfalls to Portland.

The gorgeous falls spill over basalt rock, creating a stunning contrast between the sheer black cliff face and the roaring water. You can view the falls from a viewing area near the trailhead or brave the loop hike to Upper Latourell Falls.

  • Address: Historic Columbia River Hwy. Portland, OR 97255
  • Distance from Portland: 36 minutes

4. Keller Fountain – acclaimed as an unforgettable trademark of Portland’s public landscape 

Keller Fountain - Oregon

If you want to see cascading water without leaving the city, then Keller Fountain is one of the best waterfalls in Portland, Oregon. The fact that this waterfall was created by humans instead of nature does not take away from its beauty.

Keller Fountain is located in Keller Fountain Park right in downtown Portland. The fountain does not resemble traditional fountains at all. Instead, streams of water cascade over artificial “gorges” in a nod to the beauty of the nearby Columbia River Gorge.

The park is a popular spot in Portland and visitors can stand in the pools at the top of the fountain or just relax in the green space.

  • SW 3rd Ave &, SW Clay St, Portland, OR 97201, USA
  • Distance from Portland: Portland City Center

5. Bridal Veil Falls – the perfect place to appreciate the serene views and breathtaking surroundings

Bridal Veil Falls - Oregon

Just a few miles outside of Portland, Bridal Veil Falls are located on the historic Columbia River Highway, making them a perfect stop on a scenic road trip. The falls are part of a small state park located on the site of an abandoned lumber mill.

To view the falls, you can take a trail to the base of the falls that will pass through the old mill. You can also take a bridge over the falls by driving over the Highway. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a longer trail that offers views of more of the river.

  • E Crown Point Hwy, Bridal Veil, OR 97010, USA
  • Distance from Portland: 30 minutes

6. Willamette Falls – a very distinctive natural waterfall that is in a horseshoe-shaped block 

Willamette Falls - Oregon

The Willamette Falls is the largest waterfall in the Northwestern Region of the United States and a must-see for nature lovers visiting Portland. The horseshoe-shaped falls spans 1500 feet at its widest point and stands 40 feet high.

Besides displaying the stunning power of nature, Willamette Falls is also an important historical location. The waterfall was an important harvest and meeting point for native peoples in the area.

The falls were later industrialized by mills, locks, and canals. Today, the industries are gone and you can view the falls in their natural glory from several viewpoints or the water.

  • West Linn, OR 97045, United States
  • Distance from Portland: 24 minute drive

7. Wahkeena Falls – naturally beautiful site where you can enjoy fresh crispy air

Wahkeena Falls - Oregon

Located near Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge and along the Historic Highway, this beautiful waterfall makes for the perfect stopping point on any Portland-based road trip.

Although not as big as some of its neighbors, Wahkeena Falls is gorgeous nonetheless. Its name comes from a Yakama word meaning “the most beautiful.”

To view the tiered waterfall, check out the overlook just south of the highway or go on several trails, including one that takes you as far as Multnomah Falls. The overlook is ADA-accessible so this is a trip that anyone can take.

  • Wahkeena Trail #420, Corbett, OR 97019, USA
  • Distance from Portland: 34 minute drive

8. Fairy Falls – splendid waterfalls with crystal clear water

Fairy Falls - Oregon

Many people combine a visit to Fairy Falls with their trip to nearby Wahkeena Falls and they can be found on the Oregon side of the popular Columbia River Gorge.

The waterfalls are similar with their tiered cascade and delicate beauty. Fairy Falls is worth the extra loop thanks to its distinctive fan shape. The water cascades over several layers of basalt, which breaks the flow into several intertwining streams.

Fairy Falls is a popular destination for photographers thanks to its delicate, unique scenery. This waterfall is located just a short hike upstream from Wahkeena Falls, so you can combine the two into one trip.

  • Wahkeena Trail #420, Corbett, OR 97019, USA
  • Distance from Portland: 40 minute drive

9. Jackson Falls – photogenic waterfalls located in a very special village

Jackson Falls - Oregon

Jackson Falls is a smaller waterfall in nearby Washington County, Oregon. The falls consists of two falls, the lower falls which is further divided into two drops.

The falls are a coveted destination for hikers not so much in their own right but because of the scenery. This waterfall is located in a lush gorge and surrounded by greenery.

However, you should be aware of certain restrictions before you attempt to visit Jackson Falls. The waterfall is located on private property and you will need permission from the owner before going hiking.

  • Oregon 97133, United States
  • Distance from Portland: 33 minutes

10. Coopey Falls – a very unique waterfall with a touch of pink color

Coopey Falls - Oregon

Coopey Falls, sometimes called Upper Coopey Falls, is located on the Angel’s Rest Hike. The Angel’s Rest Hike is a route that starts a few miles out of Portland and crosses a bluff along the Columbia River Gorge. Along the way, you can see the remnants of a lava field, nearby peaks, and excellent views of the river.

Coopey Falls may not be the largest waterfall along the Columbia River, but it is still worth a visit. One of the most unique features of the waterfall is the distinctive pink color that part of the spray takes on.

This happens when the water hits a section of willow roots. If you are visiting these falls, bring gloves as the path from the main trail can be full of brambles.

  • Oregon 97019, United States
  • Distance from Portland: 30 minutes

11. Pothole Falls – majestic falls that literally have several potholes 

Pothole Falls - Oregon

Pothole Falls is one of the most unusual waterfalls in the Portland area. Technically over the state border in Washington, this waterfall does not have a dramatic spray of water descending from a cliff. Instead, a gently sloping stream meanders a curvy path through the soft rock of Lacamas Creek. The stream has curved divots and pools into the rock, which locals have decided resemble potholes.

Visit Pothole Falls in the winter to see the full power of the water, or come up in the dryer summer when the water slows to a trickle and you can explore the different pools.

  • Camas, WA 98607
  • Distance from Portland: 30 minutes

12. Horsetail Falls and Ponytail Falls – easily accessed waterfalls where you can have a relaxing time

Horsetail Falls and Ponytail Falls - Oregon

These two falls form part of the most popular hiking trails in the Cascade Lock portion of the Columbia River Gorge.

The two waterfalls are only about half a mile apart so you can easily follow the trail that loops around and takes you to visit both. The water flows dramatically over the rock just like a horse’s tail whipping in the breeze.

However, the trail takes you past other evidence of nature’s power. Along the way, you will still see evidence of the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire.

  • Oregon 97014
  • Distance from Portland: 50 minute drive

13. Elowah Falls – an ideal spot for hikers especially beginners 

Elowah Falls - Oregon

Elowah Falls, sometimes called McCord Falls, is a stunning yet often overlooked waterfall in the Portland area.

The surrounding rocks and amphitheater were caused by volcanic activity, and the layers of black volcanic rock contrast with the clear watery spray. The most dramatic feature of this waterfall is the hollowed-out amphitheater at the base.

If you want, you can combine this excursion with the whole McCord Creek Falls Hike, but Elowah Falls is stunning on its own.

  • Oregon 97014, United States
  • Distance from Portland: 40 minutes

14. Wahclella Falls – an absolutely amazing place to visit that you cannot miss 

Wahclella Falls - Oregon

The Wahclella Falls is one of the most accessible waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge for beginner hikers, but the views are no less stunning than at some of its challenging neighbors.

Once you complete the short hike to the falls, you will see the two-part cascade. The narrow upper falls give way to the lower falls. which plunge into a stunning amphitheater.

The Wahclella Falls hike is a two-for-one affair. The walk to the main falls takes you past Munra Falls, where you can cross a bridge over the water and get so close that you feel the spray.

  • Oregon 97014, USA
  • Distance from Portland: 40 minutes

15. Dry Creek Falls – beautiful scenery and a waterfall where you can take dogs for a lovely walk

Dry Creek Falls - Oregon

During the high season, Dry Creek Falls is anything but dry. Water plunges 74 feet past sheer cliff faces and lush, green scenery.

The falls are located near the Pacific Crest Trail so you can easily cover some of the famous trails and check that off your bucket list on the same trip.

  • Oregon 97014, USA
  • Distance from Portland: 50 minute drive

Leave a Comment