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 hike

BEST SEASONS TO HIKE

The best time to see waterfalls is during the Pacific Northwest’s rainy season, especially in the spring when water levels are running higher than the rest of the year.

HIKE DIFFICULTY RATINGS

  • Easy: Up to 6 miles round trip, and up to 1,000 ft. gain
  • Moderate: Up to 8 miles round trip, with 1,000-2,000 ft. gain
  • Strenuous: Up to 10 miles round trip, with 2,000-3,000 ft. gain
  • Very Strenuous: Up to 12 miles round trip, with 3,000-4,000 ft. gain

To learn more about each featured hike, view the trip report links.

Featured Hikes

Drift Creek Falls

Oregon Coast Range – Drift Creek Falls hike

distance: 3 miles (out and back)
elevation gain: 800 ft.
difficulty: easy
best season: spring, winter (for higher water flow)
trip report: Drift Creek Falls hike

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.

Dry Creek Falls

Dry Creek Falls hike

distance: 4.5 miles (out and back)
elevation gain: 725 ft.
difficulty: easy
best season: spring, winter
trip report: Dry Creek Falls via PCT

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

Falls Creek Falls hike in Southwest Washington

distance: 6.3 miles (loop)
elevation gain: 1,150 ft.
difficulty: easy to the waterfall; moderate for the full loop
best season: spring, fall
trip report: 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.

Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop

Multnomah-Wahkeena loop hike

distance: 5.4 miles (loop)
elevation gain: 1,600 ft.
difficulty: moderate
best season: spring, winter
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.

Silver Falls – Trail of Ten Waterfalls

distance: 7.8 miles (loop)
elevation gain: 1,300 ft.
difficulty: moderate
best season: spring, winter (for higher water flow and fewer crowds)
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.

Tamanawas Falls

Tamanawas Falls hike

distance: 4.2 miles (loop)
elevation gain: 900 ft.
difficulty: easy
best season: spring
trip report: Tamanawas Falls hike

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.

I Heart Pacific Northwest is a participant in affiliate link programs through Amazon and Avantlink, which provides a small commission if a purchase is made through gear links on this site. This does not change the price of the item. I am not sponsored by any gear companies and the items listed here are owned by me and unless otherwise stated, are purchased with my own funds. My policy is to only link to products that I've used and would recommend. Thank you for supporting this blog!