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The Waterfall Corridor

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon


Some of the best waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) can be found along the aptly named Waterfall Corridor. While this section of the Historic Columbia River Highway boasts upwards of twenty waterfalls and can easily take multiple trips to explore, we are devoting this post to the must-see stops worthy of a day trip from Portland.




 

LATOURELL FALLS

One of the most iconic waterfalls in Oregon, this 290-foot stunner is visible from the roadside; however, it is worth the quick walk down to the base of the falls. If you have time, I highly recommend completing the full Latourell Falls Loop Trail (the upper falls are spectacular and we didn't encounter many people on the trail).


Latourell Falls Loop Trail Deets

Length: 2.01 miles

Elevation Gain: 640 feet Max Elevation: 653 feet

Route Type: Loop

AllTrails Difficulty: Moderate

Pups: Welcome on a leash

Parking: Free

Restrooms: Pit Toilet (no running water)



 

SHEPPERDS DELL


Measuring in at 220 feet, this multi-tiered waterfall is named after the family who donated the land. There is a short, paved trail that leads you closer to the largest of the visible tiers and boasts incredible views of Shepperd's Dell Bridge, which was the second bridge built for the Historic Columbia River Highway in 1914. There is a small section of stairs at the beginning of the paved trail, making this waterfall not fully wheelchair accessible.



 

BRIDAL VEIL FALLS


There are two separate trails at the Bridal Veil Parking area: Bridal Veil Overlook Loop Trail and Bridal Veil Falls Trail.


Bridal Veil Overlook Loop

This paved loop is wheelchair accessible but does not have views of Bridal Veil Falls. Instead, this 0.4-mile loop stays atop the bluff and overlooks the Columbia River. During the wet season, this trail offers the best place to view the 600-foot, multi-tiered Cape Horn Falls.


Bridal Veil Falls Trail

This dirt trail descends to Bridal Veil Creek and ends at the 120-foot, two-tiered Bridal Veil Falls. The trail is very well maintained and does not feature any technical terrain but does have two decent stair sections.


Bridal Veil Falls Trail Deets

Length: 0.49 miles

Elevation Gain: 82 feet Max Elevation: 206 feet

Route Type: Out & Back

AllTrails Difficulty: Easy

Pups: Welcome on a leash

Parking: Free

Restrooms: Yes!




 

MULTNOMAH FALLS


The most iconic waterfall in Oregon, which also happens to be the tallest at 620 feet, was also the busiest stop on our Waterfall Corridor journey (seriously, this place was a zoo and parking was even worse). I think we spent all of 15 minutes here and a majority of that was using the restroom (running water - yay!) and quickly browsing the gift shop for a sticker for the physical hiking log that I keep.


Multnomah Falls Trail Deets

This is the classic Multnomah Falls Trail that starts at the base of Multnomah Falls and leads you over the bridge and to the top of the falls. There is a branch towards the top of the trail that leads you to additional falls including Dutchman Falls, Wiesendanger Falls, and Ecola Falls.

Length: 2.57 miles

Elevation Gain: 814 feet Max Elevation: 794 feet

Route Type: Out & Back

AllTrails Difficulty: Moderate

Pups: Welcome on a leash

Parking: Free

Restrooms: Yes!


Multnomah Falls Parking

As I mentioned above, this place was super busy and parking was insane. There is a small parking lot located off the Historic Columbia River Highway, but if you are unable to find parking, then you will need to get back onto Interstate 84 and take exit 31, which is literally just parking for Multnomah Falls. Access to Multnomah Falls is available from this parking lot via a walkway under I-84.



 

HORSETAIL FALLS


Hands down my favorite stop on the Waterfall Corridor. At 176 feet, Horsetail Falls is both visible from the roadside and easily accessible. While the pool itself is down a set of stairs, you can still achieve stunning photos from the roadside. But, Horsetail Falls was not the best part of this stop. You absolutely have to make time to complete the quick 0.4-mile hike up to Ponytail Falls, where the trail passes behind the 88-foot falls in a naturally eroded cavern, and offers incredible photo opportunities.


Horsetail Falls and Ponytail Falls Trail Deets

Length: 0.87 miles

Elevation Gain: 331 feet Max Elevation: 374 feet

Route Type: Out & Back

AllTrails Difficulty: Easy

Pups: Welcome on a leash

Parking: Free

Restrooms: No



Secret Entrance to Oneonta Gorge via Horsetail Falls Trail

After passing behind Ponytail Falls, stay on Horsetail Falls trail until the trail ends at Oneonta Falls and the Oneonta Trail. Turn left (south) on Oneonta Trail to reach Middle Oneonta Falls, Upper Oneonta Falls, and Triple Falls.

 

HAVE MORE TIME? CHECK THESE OUT!


Crown Point Vista House

Vista House opened in 1918 as a glamorous rest stop and observatory for those traveling the new highway. This “comfort station” was a rest stop like no other, featuring marble floors, stained glass windows, and a stunning view. Vista House is open Friday through Monday from 9am to 5pm contingent on staffing. They will close if winds go above 50MPH, you can check wind speeds here or call Vista House directly at 503-344-1368 to find out if they are open.


Wahkeena Falls

This two-tiered, 242-foot waterfall is visible from the roadside; however, you can get a close-up view by following the 900-foot, completely paved pathway to a stone bridge that crosses in front of the falls. The Whakeena Falls day area is complete with picnic tables and restrooms.


Wahkeena Falls, Ecola Falls, and Multnomah Falls Loop

Clocking in at 5.08 miles and 1,640 feet, this loop boasts numerous viewpoints of the gorge and a handful of waterfalls! This loop is definitely on my list for my next visit to the Waterfall Corridor and includes Wahkeena Falls, Fairy Falls, Ecola Falls, Wiesendanger Falls, Dutchman Falls, Multnomah Falls (top of falls, over the bridge, and bottom of falls).


Oneonta Gorge and Triple Falls

Oneonta Gorge is the most popular attraction in the Waterfall Corridor has finally reopened after being closed since the 2017 Eagle Creek fire - now I have to make a trip back (what am I doing this weekend 🤔). Triple Falls is a 3.4-mile, moderately challenging out-and-back hike along Oneonta Trail that ends at Triple Falls (Oneonta Trail does continue). Waterfalls on this trail: Oneonta Falls, Middle Oneonta Falls, Upper Oneonta Falls, and Triple Falls.


Ready, Set, GOrge!

Check the Ready, Set, GOrge website for the latest updates on trail and recreation area closures.


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 Darcy Wanders 

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hello!

Welcome to Darcy Wanders! I'm Darcy, the wanderer and writer for all things Darcy Wanders.

I love hiking, camping, paddling, and wandering new places! When I'm not wandering, I turn to books, puzzles, and dreaming up plans for my next epic adventure.

I believe the outdoors is for everyone and created Darcy Wanders as a way to share incredible hikes, gear recommendations, and educate on things such as trail etiquette and leave no trace principles. 

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