The waterfalls near Portland are some of the most beautiful falls that the state of Oregon has to offer. We’ve rounded up a list of the best waterfalls within easy driving distance of Portland, to help you plan and cross these beautiful waterfalls off your bucket list!
It’s no secret we’re big fans of waterfalls. Who doesn’t love a postcard-perfect cascade??
Did you also know that some of the most incredible Oregon waterfalls happen to be within 1.5 hours driving distance from Portland?
In this article we rounded up the best waterfalls that can easily be visited on a day trip from Portland. We separated them into regions so you can hit more than one if you plan accordingly.
Whether you’re on an Oregon road trip, spending a few days in Portland, or exploring more of the Pacific Northwest, any of these waterfalls near Portland will make incredible additions to your itinerary.
We separated the waterfalls in this list into categories. Click on the category you want to explore to jump down to that section, or just keep reading…
Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls
The designated National Scenic Area that makes up the Columbia River Gorge is the largest in America. At up to 4,000 feet deep in certain areas, the canyon stretches over 80 miles as the river winds its way westward from the coast.
Known for its high concentration of waterfalls—the Gorge has over 90 on the Oregon side alone!—it’s one of the best places to see waterfalls near Portland.
Below are some of the most notable falls to visit in the Columbia River Gorge.
Note: To enter the Gorge, you’ll need to purchase a Northwest Forest Pass for $5 for a daily entry, or you can gain access to the national scenic area using your America the Beautiful Annual Park Pass.
1. Multnomah Falls
- Distance from Portland: 30.2 miles east of Portland, 33 minute drive
Multnomah Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Oregon and is a very popular destination for locals and those exploring the Columbia River Gorge. Each year, over 2 million people come to take in its beauty!
How to get there: The main trail to get to the falls is on the 2.4-mile moderate trail, but the best way to visit Multnomah Falls is on the 9-mile loop trail that features six other waterfalls nestled in old growth forests.
2. Bridal Veil Falls
- Distance from Portland: 27.7 miles east of Portland, 30 minute drive
Bridal Veil Falls is situated on the site of an old lumber mill and features a 100-foot waterfall cascading down granite rock slabs. This popular waterfall fills up fast on weekends and is best paired with other nearby falls like Multnomah, Wahkeena, or Latourell.
How to get there: Take exit 28 off I-84 and head west for ¾ mile until you reach Bridal Veil Falls State Park. From there, there are two trail options. A steep, 0.3-mile trail to the base of the falls or a half-mile trail that leads to views of the falls, the Columbia River, and other natural features.
3. Falls Creek Falls
- Distance from Portland: 66.6 miles northeast of Portland, 1 hour 25 minute drive
Hike through old-growth forests full of Douglas-fir, hemlock, sugar pines, and other trees that are over 6-feet in diameter. The waterfall is double-tiered at 35 and 50-feet high, and a perfect place to swim and cool down on those hot summer days.
How to get there: Just north of the Columbia River Gorge in Washington state is the trailhead for Falls Creek Falls (Washington). A 6-mile loop trail trail takes you to the base of the falls.
4. Oneonta Falls
- Distance from Portland: 32.1 miles east of Portland, 39 minute drive
The Oneonta Gorge is one of the most epic waterfall hikes in Oregon. Hike through waist- to chest-deep water in the Oneonta Gorge and find a treasure at the end, Oneonta Falls. This trail gets a good amount of visitors, so plan for a weekday in the summer for best conditions.
How to get there: Follow I-84, the Columbia River Highway, and just past Multnomah Falls is the trailhead for the moderately challenging, 5.6-mile Oneonta Gorge Trail.
5. Horsetail and Ponytail Falls
- Distance from Portland: 35.5 miles east of Portland, 37 minute drive
Horsetail Falls and Ponytail Falls are two popular waterfalls near Portland for their accessibility and beauty. Ponytail Falls is one of a few waterfalls you can walk behind in Oregon. Horsetail Falls plummets 176 feet within the Historic Columbia River Highway’s “Waterfall Corridor”.
How to get there: Follow the E Historic Columbia River Highway and find the trailhead parking on the left, just past Oneonta Gorge. This moderate trail takes you to Horsetail and Ponytail Falls in under a mile!
6. Dry Creek Falls
- Distance from Portland: 44.2 miles east of Portland, 50 minute drive
Dry Creek Falls is a 75-foot waterfall that cascades over dramatic basalt rock formations. You’ll follow a section of the PCT through dense woods and seasonal wildflowers to reach this gem.
The easy 4.4-mile out and back trail is one of the best Portland hikes and an ideal escape from the city since it’s not overly congested with crowds. Compared to other waterfall hikes on this list, the trail is easy and relatively flat.
How to get there: Follow I-84 to Cascade Locks and find the trailhead at Tollbridge Park. Hike the 4.4-mile trail for rewarding views of the waterfall and vibrant green forest along the way.
7. Latourell Falls
- Distance from Portland: 29.9 miles east of Portland, 34 minute drive
Latourell Falls is an impressive, 220-foot waterfall that is surrounded by the stark basalt columns Oregon is known for. This one of the closest waterfalls near Portland and it can be spotted from the road, making this a popular destination!
How to get there: Take I-84 to the Historic Highway and then head west nearly 3-miles to the trailhead. Hike the shorter, moderate route to the lower falls or take on a more challenging 2.1-mile loop to see the two-tiered upper falls.
8. Punchbowl Falls
- Distance from Portland: 75.1 miles east of Portland, 1 hour 20 minute drive
Punchbowl Falls is popular for being one of the best waterfall hikes in the Columbia River Gorge. Although not very tall, the 35-foot high, 10-foot wide waterfall boasts picturesque views surrounding the waterfall.
How to get there: Take the Eagle Creek Trail 4.7-miles to access lower and upper Punchbowl Falls. The hike features lush, mossy green scenery as you hike along Eagle Creek.
9. Wahkeena Falls & Fairy Falls
- Distance from Portland: 29.6 miles east of Portland, 33 minute drive
Wahkeens and Fairy Falls are two very popular waterfalls near Oregon, so head out early on weekdays to get a bit of solitude at either. Hike through a narrow and twisting gorge to see the mighty Wahkeena Falls at 242 feet high and the cascading Fairy Falls at 20-feet high.
How to get there: Take the E Historic Columbia River Highway and stop just before the Multnomah Falls Lodge. Hike this 1-mile out-and-back trail or go further down the trail for a 3-mile hike to see both falls.
Waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park
Just one hour south of Portland, Silver Falls State Park makes a great place to escape the city and immerse yourself in nature. As the name implies, there are lots of waterfalls in this little slice of nature.
The park offers 9,000 acres of pristine wilderness with well-maintained trails, campsites and of course waterfalls to discover.
Below are some of the most impressive waterfalls to visit in and around Silver Falls State Park.
Note: It costs $5 for a day-use parking pass at Silver Falls. If you plan on going to a lot of parks, it might also be worth it to get yourself the $30, 12-month parking pass for all Oregon State Parks.
10. South Falls
- Distance from Portland: 57.4 miles south of Portland, 1 hour 15 minute drive
Dropping an impressive 177 feet off a basalt shelf, this is not only the tallest waterfall in Silver Falls State Park, but also the most popular. One of the most notable features is the trail that’ll take you behind the falls to see what the curtain of water looks like from another perspective.
How to get here: Venture just a short ways from the South Day Use Area parking lot to see the impressive South Falls. If you follow the trail down into the cave behind the falls and head back to the parking lot, it’ll be about a mile in total.
Or you can continue on to the Lower South Falls and hike the 2.6-mile Maple Ridge Loop.
11. Trail of Ten Falls
- Distance from Portland: 57.4 miles south of Portland, 1 hour 15 minute drive
Considered one of the best hikes in Oregon, this moderate 7.2-mile loop trail brings you past—you guessed it—10 waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park. This is a great way to see a TON of the best waterfalls near Portland.
To see all ten falls, take the 7.4-mile loop trail in either direction. There is not much elevation gain (just about 800 ft), so this trail is perfect for families and pups.
How to get there: Start on the Maple Ridge Loop trail, passing behind the South Falls and hiking until you reach the Lower South Falls. From there, continue on the Trail of Ten falls, take a left at the fork and hike downhill heading East.
12. Abiqua Falls
- Distance from Portland: 53.1 miles south of Portland, 1 hour 20 minute drive
Abiqua Falls is surrounded by charcoal basalt columns formed from lava flows from millions of years ago that formed an incredible amphitheater surrounding the falls. It makes a great bonus waterfall to check out if you are in the area of Silver Falls State Park.
The drive to Abiqua is slightly more complicated than the easy .8-mile hike, but your troubles will be worth the effort when you see the stunning falls. While highly trafficked on weekends, you will be able to find some solitude during the weekdays and off seasons.
Note: You’ll want to avoid this moderate trail in early spring as the river can flood the trail and make it impassable.
How to get there: Head just east of Silver Falls State Park and follow Google Maps to the trailhead.
Waterfalls in Mount Hood National Forest
Extending over more than a million acres of forested wilderness just over an hour drive outside the city, Mount Hood National Forest is an excellent place to see some of the most impressive waterfalls near Portland.
The crowning jewel, Mount Hood, is the tallest mountain in Oregon standing at 11,249 feet tall, and was named one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon by the Oregon Tourism Board.
Below are some of the most notable waterfalls to check out in Mount Hood National Forest.
Note: To enter Mount Hood, you’ll need to purchase a Northwest Forest Pass for $5 for a daily entry, or you can gain access to the national scenic area using your America the Beautiful Annual Park Pass.
13. Ramona Falls
- Distance from Portland: 52.5 miles east of Portland, 1 hour 15 minute drive time
Located on the west side of Mount Hood on the Upper Sandy River, Romona Falls is an impressive 120-foot (37 meters) tall wall of cascades.
The moderate 7-mile loop trail to reach the falls serves as a junction for the Pacific Crest Trail and the Timberline Trail, so it is extremely popular with both day hikers and thru-hikers.
How to get there: Follow Highway 26 east towards Sandy and into Zig Zag. Take FR 18 to the Ramona Falls trailhead.
14. Tamanawas Falls
- Distance from Portland: 87.1 miles east of Portland, 1.5 hour drive
While Tamanawas Falls is one of the easiest waterfalls near Portland to reach on foot, the hike packs a huge punch at the end. Dropping from over 100-feet high, this impressive waterfall forms a broad curtain where the Cold Spring Creek tumbles over a lava shelf near the eastern base of Mount Hood.
The best part…you can walk behind it! Just climb the talus to the right of the falls to reach the grotto behind the curtain of water.
How to get there: To get to the falls, hike the 3.4-mile moderate out and back trail in the Mount Hood National Forest. Hike across the Hood River and through Douglas Fir filled forests to see this beautiful waterfall.
15. Koosah & Sahalie Falls
- Distance from Portland: 95.9 miles southeast of Portland, 1 hour 40 minute drive
Sahalie and Koosah Falls are two popular waterfalls along a scenic trail in Mount Hood. First, check out Sahalie Falls, a white waterfall pouring out 100-feet down a naturally formed lava dam. Then walk 10 minutes down to Koosah Falls, a 70-foot waterfall that pours into a beautiful pool among scenic views.
How to get there: Find the trailhead for this waterfall in the “Clear Lake Cutoff” of Highway 126. Park in this lot next to Sahalie Falls and hike south to check out Koosah. If you’re feeling adventurous, take the 3-mile loop trail for a more rewarding hike.
You may also like…
- How to Visit the 7 Wonders of Oregon
- 15 Beautiful Oregon Waterfalls to Visit
- The 10 Best Hot Springs in Oregon
- 45 Best Hikes in Oregon
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We want to hear from you!
Have you visited any of the waterfalls near Portland on this list? What was your experience like? Which is the waterfall you’re most excited to add to your bucket list? Comment below and let us know!