Outdoors Portland, Oregon

15 Epic Waterfall Hikes Near Portland within a 1-ish Hour Drive

February 14, 2022

Last Updated:

There are so many gorgeous waterfalls near Portland, Oregon. The highest concentration of waterfalls is in the Columbia River Gorge, followed by the Mt Hood area. And what better way to see waterfalls than to go on a waterfall hike! So here are my 15 favorite waterfall hikes near Portland, plus the best waterfalls for easy hikes or accessible hikes, and the best waterfall hikes for an extra challenge. Enjoy!

Best Easy Waterfall Hikes near Portland: Wahclella Falls, Latourell Falls
Best Accessible Waterfalls near Portland: Latourell Falls, Multnomah Falls
Best Challenging Waterfall Hikes near Portland: Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls, Ramona Falls
Best Waterfall Hikes for Kids: Little Zig Zag River Falls, Moulton Falls

15 Best Waterfall Hikes near Portland

And here are the best waterfall hikes near Portland – hikes in the Gorge, Mt Hood area, south Willamette Valley (Silver Falls & Santiam Forest area), the coast range, and close ones on the Washington side. We don’t technically have waterfalls in Portland – beyond some mild run-off falls in Forest Park and the wild river of Willamette Falls in Oregon City. So here are the best waterfall hikes near Portland, in order of driving distance and region.

1. Latourell Falls

Latourell Falls in winter and snow
Latourell Falls in winter – expect icy slick conditions!

Latourell Falls is the closest Gorge waterfall hike to Portland. Located on the Historic Columbia River Highway, you can see the Lower Falls right off the parking lot area, so it’s great for accessibility! The short loop to the lower falls, back under the bridge and then back up to the road and to the parking lot is .6 miles. If you want more of a hike you can do the actual loop from Latourell Falls to Upper Latourell Falls. This is one of favorite non-Multnomah Falls stops, to bring visitors who aren’t able to do much hiking, but still want to see beautiful waterfalls!

Trailhead/Parking: Latourell Falls Trailhead
Driving From Portland: 40 minutes (30 miles)
Trail Length: .6 – 3 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 69 – 728 feet
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
More Info: AllTrails / Oregon Hikers

Upper Latourell Falls - waterfall hike near portland
Upper Latourell Falls

2. Wahkeena Falls Loop

Wahkeena Falls

Wahkeena Falls itself, is very close to the trailhead. And the Wahkeena Falls and Multnomah Falls loop trail is a moderate 6 mile loop in the Gorge. It also passes Dutchman Falls, Wiesendanger Falls, Ecola Falls, and Fairy Falls. This route does have a few offshoots trails to other hikes like Devil’s Rest, Larch Mountain, and Angel’s Rest. So be aware at trail junctions, lest you take much longer route than you were planning!

Trailhead/Parking: Wahkeena Falls Trailhead or Multnomah Falls Parking
Driving From Portland: 35 minutes (29 miles)
Trail Length: 6 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1714 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
More Info: AllTrails / Oregon Hikers

3. Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls - the most popular waterfall hike near portland

The classic Multnomah Falls. A trip to Oregon just isn’t complete without a visit to this iconic spot. It’s popular and well-loved for a reason. But if you’re coming in summer and on a weekend, you’ll actually need to make a reservation these days! Hiking at Multnomah Falls has a few options. You can hike to the upper viewing lookouts (first lookout is .5 mile, Top of Falls lookout is 1.1 miles), or you can combine it as a loop with Wahkeena Falls for a 6 mile loop. And spoiler alert: this loop has a total of 5 or 6 waterfalls! One of my favorite hikes!

Trailhead/Parking: Multnomah Falls Parking
Driving From Portland: 40 minutes (30 miles)
Trail Length: 2.4 miles roundtrip to Top of the Falls lookout
Elevation Gain: 984 feet
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
More Info: AllTrails / Oregon Hikers

Wiesendanger Falls on the loop from Wahkeena to Multnomah Falls
Wiesendanger Falls on the Wahkeena & Multnomah Falls Loop Trail

4. Horsetail Falls & Ponytail Falls (Optional Add-on: Triple Falls, Oneonta Falls)

The Horsetail and Ponytail Falls out and back is a short, but rewarding hike. And with many waterfalls around this trailhead, there’s lots of options for add-ons to this hike. If you’re looking for a bit more, you can continue on to Triple Falls, which passes Lower and Upper Oneonta Falls. Note: this hike overlooks Oneonta Gorge from the top of the falls. The iconic Oneonta Gorge hike itself is closed permanently from fire damage! After Triple Falls, you can backtrack to the Oneonta Trailhead and Oneonta Tunnel and then back along the Historic Highway to the Horsetail Falls Trailhead, for a total of 3.7 miles and 1240 feet elevation gain.

Ponytail Falls Photo by Jay Huang
Photo by Jay Huang

Trailhead/Parking: Horsetail Falls Trailhead
Driving From Portland: 40 minutes (35 miles)
Trail Length: .9 miles out and back
Elevation Gain: 331 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
More Info: AllTrails / Oregon Hikers

5. Wahclela Falls

Wahclella Falls - one of the easiest waterfall hikes near Portland

Wahclella Falls Trail is a short 2 mile out and back waterfall hike in the Columbia River Gorge near Cascade Locks, Oregon. The Wahclella Falls hike is a quick and easy waterfall hike for a stunning view. And is actually a “two-fer” waterfall hike passing Munra Falls on the way!

Trailhead/Parking: Wahclella Falls Trail
Driving From Portland: 40 minutes (38 miles)
Trail Length: 1.9 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 288 feet
Difficulty: Easy
More Info: Wahclella Falls Trail / Oregon Hikers

6. Punch Bowl Falls & Eagle Creek Trail

eagle creek trail heights
Recently re-opened Eagle Creek Trail

One of Oregon’s most beloved trails, the Eagle Creak Trail closed for three years from a forest fire that was started from fireworks. After much hard work by trail stewards (Pacific Crest Trail Association), it finally reopened in early 2021, just to close again a few weeks later due to slides! As of summer 2021, it opened again.

This is one of the most beautiful trails in the Gorge, but it also has to deal with major over-use. So here’s why NOT to do this hike: On weekends it’s crowded. If you’re afraid of heights, this probably isn’t the trail for you. Don’t hike in flip flops, please. Leash your dog (a serious hazard to others on this hike). So if you can get past those things, and can hit up this trail on a weekday, enjoy! Note: due to the parking situation, your hike to Punchbowl Falls may be 4 to 5 miles.

Punchbowl Falls is at the two mile mark, and is the busiest section of the trail. If you push onward you’ll find more waterfalls, creeks, camping spots, bridges and Tunnel Falls. You’ll also find Metlako Falls, Lower Punchbowl Falls, Punchbowl Falls, Loowit Falls, Skoonichuk Falls, Tenas Falls, Tunnel Falls, and Twister Falls later on this hike.

Trailhead/Parking: Eagle Creek Trailhead
Driving From Portland: 45 minutes (40 miles)
Trail Length: 3.8-4.8 miles out and back (12 miles roundtrip to Tunnel Falls)
Elevation Gain: 1040 feet (1600′ on Tunnel Falls route)
Difficulty: Moderate / Hard
More Info: AllTrails / Oregon Hikers

Punchbowl falls on the Eagle Creek Trail after the forest fire
Punchbowl Falls post-fire (July 2021)

7. Dry Creek Falls

Dry Creek Falls has a little bit of everything. It’s close to Portland, the trailhead is right in Cascade Locks, so you’ll have more parking options if you arrive to a packed trailhead parking lot. And you can grab a post-hike drink and food at Thunder Island Brewing or Gorges Brewing – just a few blocks away. Oh yeah, and the waterfall itself is pretty stunning! Dry Creek Trail is also the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), so it connects to both the Eagle Creek Trail (near Wy’east Falls) and Wahtum Lake.

Dry Creek Falls photo by Jonathan miske
Photo by Jonathan Miske

Trailhead/Parking: Bridge of the Gods Trailhead
Driving From Portland: 45 minutes (42 miles)
Trail Length: 4.2 miles out and back
Elevation Gain: 840 feet
Difficulty: Easy
More Info: AllTrails / Oregon Hikers

8. Little Zig Zag Falls

Tucked in to the Mt Hood Forest just before Government Camp, is the perfect little hike at Little Zig Zag Falls. This one is great for young kids as well since it’s a meander along a small river/stream and no huge drop offs like many Gorge hikes. Note: This can definitely be a muddy or snowy hike in some seasons.

Little Zig Zag Falls in Mt Hood National Forest. One of the best waterfall hikes near portland for kids!

Trailhead/Parking: Little Zig Zag Falls Trailhead
Driving From Portland: 1 hour, 10 minutes (53 miles)
Trail Length: .8 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 180 feet
Difficulty: Easy
More Info: AllTrails / Oregon Hikers

9. Ramona Falls

This summer hike is a popular one for backpackers. Situated on the west side of Mt Hood, Ramona Falls includes a log river crossing of the Sandy River, and takes you past picturesque Ramona Falls – a “fairy falls”. While the mileage and elevation gain aren’t too intense, definitely read Oregon Hikers trail info on this hike before attempting. It’s not safe in some seasons or heavy rain (mid-summer to early fall is safest).

Ramona Falls Mt Hood

Trailhead/Parking: Ramona Falls Trailhead
Driving From Portland: 1 hour, 10 minutes (52 miles)
Trail Length: 7.1 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1035 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
More Info: Oregon Hikers / AllTrails

10. Tamanawas Falls

Tamanawas Falls is a popular hike on the east side of Mt Hood. It features a 110 ft “curtain” waterfall that you can walk behind. And is best hiked from late spring to early fall. It’s also close to Parkdale and Hood River so a nice day trip add-on.

Tamanawas Falls Mt Hood

Trailhead/Parking: Tamanawas Trailhead
Driving From Portland: 1 hour, 25 minutes (72 miles)
Trail Length: 3.4 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 560 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
More Info: AllTrails / Oregon Hikers

11. Abiqua Falls

abiqua falls
Picture from: Oregon Hikers

Abiqua Falls has an iconic amphitheater waterfall. It makes for some epic hiking pictures. But this hike comes with a few caveats/warnings. First, it’s on private property (but allowed to access for recreational purposes) so depending on the season, the road to access it can be a little rough. Second, the “hike” itself is more of a 1/3 mile scramble 250 feet down into the falls area (with the help of ropes), and then back up. So if you’re looking for a longer hike, head over to Silver Falls instead.

Trailhead/Parking: Abiqua Falls Trailhead
Driving From Portland: 1 hour, 20 minutes (51 miles)
Trail Length: .7 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 250 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
More Info: AllTrails / Oregon Hikers

12. Silver Falls – Trail of Ten Falls

Silver Falls Waterfall South Falls

Silver Falls is really a wonder of Oregon – and a wonder of conservation of the land from development. With 10 falls over nine miles, this hike is a long one if you go for all ten falls. However, South Falls is the big one that you’re going to not want to miss. So if you park at the South Falls lodge area, you can start there and there is also an option to cut the hike short and do the Winter Falls loop which is 5 miles (Silver Falls pdf map). Or if you have a few fast hikers in your group you can send them on ahead to pick you up at the North Trailhead! If you opt for all ten, you’ll see: South Falls, Lower South Falls, Lower North Falls, Double Falls, Drake Falls, Middle North Falls, Twin Falls, North Falls, Upper North Falls, Winter Falls.

Trailhead/Parking: South Falls Lodge Trailhead
Driving From Portland: 1 hour, 20 minutes (58 miles)
Trail Length: 9 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1400 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
More Info: AllTrails / Oregon Hikers

13. Moulton Falls

On the Lewis River in Washington, you’ll find Moulton Falls. While by no means a place of solitude on a busy weekend, it’s still often-overlooked for the Gorge hikes, as a great waterfall hike close to Portland! Moulton Falls is just beyond the edge of Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Mt St Helens area on the Lewis River. There are a few hiking options here, including a few more waterfalls – Lucia Falls and Big Tree Falls. And the big stunner here is the bridge at the beginning of the hike!

Moulton Falls Bridge

Trailhead/Parking: Moulton Falls Parking
Driving From Portland: 45 minutes (38 miles)
Trail Length: 2-4 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 90 feet
Difficulty: Easy
More Info: AllTrails / WTA

14. Falls Creek Falls

Falls Creek Falls by Thomas Shahan
Photo by Thomas Shahan

Another close to Portland waterfall on the Washington side of the Gorge is Falls Creek Falls at the edge of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, north of Carson, WA. These falls can be seen on a 3.4 or 6.3 mile loop. These triple drop falls are 335 feet and a popular spot for summer hiking and mountain biking.

Trailhead/Parking: Falls Creek Falls Parking
Driving From Portland: 1 hour, 20 minutes (66 miles)
Trail Length: 3.4-6.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 1100 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
More Info: AllTrails / Oregon Hikers

15. Dougan Falls

Dougan Falls by Matthew Warner
Photo by Matthew Warner

If ever there was a Portland waterfall / swimming hole, Dougan Falls on the Washougal River is it! This place is a whole scene on hot summer weekends, but catch it mid-week and you just might have a bit of fun. I added this one on the end of the list, because it’s not technically a hike hike, but lots of wandering and as the water gets shallower in summer, you can wander south of the bridge down the river rocks. And if you need any more ideas for cooling off in summer, check out my Portland river float post.

Trailhead/Parking: Dougan Falls Parking
Driving From Portland: 50 minutes (42 miles)
Difficulty: Easy
More Info: Waterfalls NW

Best Waterfall Hikes near Portland

  1. Latourell Falls
  2. Wahkeena Falls Loop
  3. Multnomah Falls
  4. Horsetail & Ponytail Falls
  5. Wahclela Falls
  6. Eagle Creek Trail – Punchbowl Falls & Tunnel Falls
  7. Dry Creek Falls
  8. Little Zig Zag Falls
  9. Ramona Falls
  10. Tamanawas Falls
  11. Abiqua Falls
  12. Silver Falls State Park’s Trail of Ten Falls
  13. Moulton Falls
  14. Falls Creek Falls
  15. Dougan Falls

A quick note about Oregon Hikes vs AllTrails links: Oregon Hikers is the best comprehensive resource for hikes in Oregon. Their descriptions and details are on-point and trust-worthy. I’ve also included some AllTrails, which is more user-generated content, and not always accurate, but is useful in a different way to see more recent conditions or notes people have made about the trail etc.

Happy waterfall chasing! And please remember to take care of nature: Leave no trace. Pack it in, pack it out. Peace, love, and waterfalls. Want more hiking ideas? Here are my 12 favorite Portland hikes and essential winter hiking gear checklist!

Epic Portland waterfall hikes