You Want Spectacular Waterfalls? Oregon Has You Covered
The 10 most beautiful falls in the state
Oregon is one of the lushest, green states in the US. Why? Water! Yes, they have lots of rain and plenty of bodies of water, but they also have more waterfalls than most other states in the country. Not only do they have lots of waterfalls, but every single waterfall happens to be incredibly beautiful. Here are just the top ten, in no particular order.
1. Abiqua Falls
As part of the same geological formation as the waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park, this waterfall is in a “family” of beautiful sights to see in Oregon. To get to these falls, you have to hike a bit (and it can be steep and slippery so be careful). From the parking area, walk back along the road where you came from. Skip the first trail that leaves right from the parking lot. You will see a second trail about 100 feet away. Follow this trail past the creek until you get to a basalt bowl. There’s a large area where you can sit or stand to look at the waterfall. The waterfall is 92 feet tall and is known to be one of the most beautiful in the state.
2. Majestic Falls
This is the largest of several waterfalls in McDowell Creek Falls Park. Majestic Falls is 39 feet tall and is especially photogenic in the autumn when the Big Leaf Maple trees throughout the canyon are orange and yellow. The waterfall flows intensely throughout the winter and spring but flows more mildly in the summertime. To hike here is about 1.6 miles. It is an easy trail that is heavily trafficked by people and dogs. On your way to Majestic Falls, you will see other waterfalls throughout the park.
3. Metlako Falls
Metlako Falls is the first major waterfall on the Eagle Creek Trail. It is over 100 feet tall and bursts out of the side of gorge walls almost like a hole in a dam. You can view the falls at the end of a short, well-traveled spur trail off Eagle Creek Trail. There is a sign at the junction of the trails that will tell you where to go to see the falls. At the base of the falls is a very large pool. Kayakers will sometimes seek out Metlako Falls as it is especially thrilling to kayak through.
4. Multnomah Falls
This massive and beautiful waterfall is located just 30 minutes outside of Portland. It is 611 feet of cascading icy water, hitting the base of the falls with such force that it sprays onlookers who get close enough. To get to it, you simply park in a lot off I-84 and walk 5 minutes. There’s a viewing deck and paths surrounding it. If you want to get close, walk up the paved trail to Benson Bridge. While there, you can also visit the Multnomah Falls Lodge which was built in 1925. Inside, you’ll find a gift shop, a restaurant, more beautiful views of the waterfall, and a US Forest Service Information Center. You can even bring your dog along if you want – but you must keep them on a leash.
5. Punch Bowl Falls
This waterfall is an icon of Oregon. Frequently seen on postcards and calendars, this beautiful spot lives up to the hype. Over the years, the force of the water has created a bowl-shaped pool at the base of the falls. This is a very popular destination on weekends in the summer as it can be a great spot to swim when the weather is hot. To get the best look at the falls, you can descend from the Eagle Creek Trail to the base. Though the falls descend into a pool, there is something resembling a bay made of rocks that you can sit on right by the edge of the pool.
6. Sahalie Falls
You can find this waterfall within the McKenzie River trail. It is an easy 2.6-mile hike that connects Sahalie Falls and neighboring Koosah Falls. Sahalie Falls drops from 100 feet over a natural laval dam. There is a viewing platform less than 100 feet from the parking lot and, unlike the hike, is wheelchair accessible. You can go on a river rafting trip down the river that this waterfall is connected to and in the summer, you will find the McKenzie River Chainsaw Art Festival as well as the McKenzie River Lavender Festival.
7. South Falls
Like the Abiqua Falls, this waterfall is located in the Silver Falls State Park. This waterfall has a height of 177 feet. You can view the waterfall from several points through the park, and there are plenty of walking trails surrounding it. To get to the falls from the parking area, you only need to hike 1.1 miles. Still, you can take the full 7.9-mile loop if you would like to see all the waterfalls on “The Trail of Ten Falls.”
8. Sweet Creek Falls
Fun for the whole family, these falls are part of a shady hiking trail filled with bridges and walkways along a creek. This waterfall is located a few miles from Florence, Oregon and is open all year. The rocks in and around this waterfall actually belong on the seafloor of the Pacific Ocean. They ended up here by chance – about 30 million years ago a chunk of Pacific seafloor buckled up in front of the advancing North American continental plate and decided to become land, creating Oregon’s Coast Range and the terrain around Sweet Creek Falls.
9. Upper Downing Creek Falls
This amazing waterfall is surrounded by mossy trees and branches, creating opportunities for some of the best photos possible. The hike is short and easy but can be slippery. September and July are the best months to take this hike. The majority of the water emerges from springs about one-quarter mile upstream from the falls, and flows all year long with little change in rate. Since the falls are located in thick forest, it’s a great place to cool down on a hot day.
10. White River Falls
The White River Falls are part of a state park called White River Falls State Park. The waterfall plunges 90 feet over a basalt shelf. By exploring the park, you can find several views of the falls. Sometimes referred to as Oregon’s Niagara, this is one of the widest waterfalls you’ll find in the state. A railed viewing area overlooks the falls. You can also descend the canyon and explore downriver to the 15 foot Lower White River Falls.