Best Waterfall Hikes Near Portland
The Pacific Northwest is known for having a plethora of waterfalls. These hikes – located within two hours of Portland – are best done in the winter through spring when the water levels are higher, although any time of year is a good time to hike to a waterfall.
Silver Falls – Trail of Ten Waterfalls
distance: 7.8 miles (loop)
elevation gain: 1,300 ft.
drive time from Portland: 1 hour 20 minutes
parking pass: Oregon State Park pass ($5 day-use)
I Heart PNW trip report: Trail of Ten Waterfalls hike
The Trail of Ten Waterfalls hike in Silver Falls State Park is a waterfall lover’s dream. It’s popular and crowded, but with more waterfalls that can be seen on any hike in the region and beautiful creeks running through the entire canyon, it is well worth a visit. The largest state park in Oregon, Silver Falls includes a large campground, a lodge built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, picnic areas, a conference center, and trails for hiking, horseback riding and bicycling.
Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop Hike
distance: 5.4 miles (loop)
elevation gain: 1,600 ft.
drive time from Portland: 40 minutes
parking pass: none
I Heart PNW trip report: Multnomah-Wahkeena loop
Six waterfalls, including Oregon’s highest, two cascading spring-fed creeks meandering through lush greenery, and old-growth Douglas fir make this a spectacular loop hike. My preferred route for this classic loop hike is to park at Wahkeena Falls and take the return trail next to the road to Multnomah Falls, then begin the loop. This way, the most crowded part of the hike is completed at the start.
A Native American word, Tamanawas means “friendly spirit guide.” It’s not hard to imagine friendly spirits enjoying the breathtaking scenery here. Most hikers begin at the East Fork trailhead, but for a longer and much less crowded hike, begin at the Elk Meadows/Polallie trailhead to the north. Highlights include the mossy green Cold Spring Creek canyon and 100 ft. tall Tamanawas Falls.
Dry Creek Falls
This short hike to the Dry Creek waterfall starts in Cascade Locks on the Pacific Crest Trail heading south. This area was impacted by the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire, but the damage is mainly seen on blackened tree trunks – most of the tree crowns survived. The trail traverses a couple of ridges before reaching an old road that leads to the waterfall. A former water works from the 1930s used to supply water to the town of Cascade Locks and a few remnants from this era remain. For a longer version of this hike, start at the Herman Creek trailhead and connect to the Pacific Crest Trail to Dry Creek Falls.
Falls Creek Falls
Stunning three-tiered Falls Creek Falls is the highlight of this loop hike that combines an easy hike alongside a mossy creek in old-growth forest with an upper ridge trail and canyon views.
Drift Creek Falls
This hike in the Oregon Coast Range features a long suspension bridge over a narrow canyon with a waterfall. And if that wasn’t enough, the forest is filled with cedars and Sitka Spruce trees dripping with lichens.