Rain or shine, Oregonians love hitting the trail and taking in the splendor of nearby waterfalls. Unfortunately, recent wildfires in the Columbia River Gorge caused many of these beloved sites to close indefinitely.
Hikers, fear not! There are still plenty of breathtaking waterfalls nearby that are open (and only a short shuttle bus or scenic bike ride away, to boot). Get your fill of natural wonders with our top four picks of waterfalls near Portland.
Usually the first falls that visitors encounter in the Columbia River Gorge, Latourell Falls is just east of the must-see views of Crown Point, and along a 2.1-mile (3.4 km) loop where hikers can watch it drop straight down, 224 feet (68 m). It’s just a short walk to the lower falls, but a tougher uphill hike brings more daring explorers closer to the upper falls. Flowing strongest in winter and spring, Latourell gets a bit of sun in the summer, making for photos that are just as stunning.
Take Exit 22 from I-84 to the Historic Columbia River Highway, stopping first at the Vista House at Crown Point, then proceeding 2.4 miles (3.9 km) to Latourell Falls.
Bridal Veil Falls
Located 27 miles (43 km) east of Portland just off Interstate 84, the misty, white Bridal Veil Falls consists of a pair of quick cascades that are well worth the short but steep half-mile hike to the viewing platform. An upper trail also leads to cliffs that reveal great views of the Columbia River Gorge.
Proceed another mile (1.6 km) east on the Historic Columbia River Highway. Also accessible via Exit 28 from I-84.
Tucked away in Mount Hood National Forest, Ramona Falls drapes like a 120-foot (37 m), near-sheer curtain over the basalt rock face beneath, a gorgeous midpoint for a seven-mile (11 km) round-trip hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Keep in mind, wilderness restrictions apply in this area, and to reach it, permits are required from mid-May to mid-October. The waterfall is located 57 miles (92 km) from Portland, attracting campers and day-trippers alike.
A 60-mile (97 km) drive south of Portland in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, Silver Falls State Park is a popular spot for hikers because of its Trail of Ten Falls. An 8.7-mile (14 km) loop, the trail is only moderately difficult, and though it can get crowded (especially in the spring when flows are heaviest), it provides 12 months of waterfall watching. The park has plenty of campgrounds, picnic spots and a historic lodge that’s open 365 days per year. There are also four waterfalls that you can walk behind, so be sure to dress for warmth and wet. Full article on Silver Falls State Park >>