What is the Most Spectacular Waterfall to Visit in Oregon?

A Brief Overview of Oregon’s Waterfall Scene

Oregon is renowned for its breathtaking waterfalls, with more than 200 cascades scattered throughout the state. The waterfalls in Oregon vary in size, shape, and accessibility, making them a perfect destination for adventure seekers, nature lovers, and photographers alike. The state’s diverse landscape, including rugged coastlines, dense forests, and towering mountains, contributes to the awe-inspiring beauty of its waterfalls.

Oregon’s waterfalls can be categorized into several types based on their characteristics. Some of the most common types include:

  1. Plunge falls: These waterfalls drop vertically from a great height, creating a dramatic and powerful effect. Examples include Multnomah Falls and Watson Falls.
  2. Horsetail falls: These waterfalls have a narrow, free-falling stream that resembles a horse’s tail. Shivels Falls and Latourell Falls are prime examples of horsetail falls.
  3. Block falls: These waterfalls are characterized by a large, rectangular-shaped column of water that drops from a great height. Lower Table Rock Falls and Upper Horsetail Falls are block falls in Oregon.
  4. Cascading falls: These waterfalls have a series of smaller cascades that flow down from a height, creating a more gentle and picturesque scene. Tumalo Falls and Alsea Falls are notable examples of cascading falls.
  5. Tiered falls: These waterfalls consist of multiple levels or tiers, each with its own unique character. Ramona Falls and Salt Creek Falls are popular tiered falls in Oregon.

Accessibility is another key aspect to consider when exploring Oregon’s waterfalls. Some falls are easily accessible via well-maintained trails, while others require more strenuous hikes or even technical climbing skills. It is essential to research and plan your visit to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Oregon’s waterfalls are also known for their diverse ecosystems, which support a variety of plant and animal life. Visitors can expect to encounter a range of flora and fauna, including old-growth forests, rare wildflowers, and a plethora of bird species. Many of the state’s waterfalls are protected within state parks or other conservation areas, ensuring their preservation for future generations to enjoy.

In conclusion, Oregon’s waterfall scene is a true marvel, offering a diverse range of cascades to explore and experience. From the iconic Multnomah Falls to the lesser-known gems, each waterfall has its own unique charm and beauty, making Oregon a prime destination for waterfall enthusiasts.

The Appeal of Waterfalls in Oregon

Waterfalls in Oregon are a natural wonder that draws visitors from all over the world. There are several reasons why these waterfalls are so appealing, including their beauty, accessibility, and diversity.

  • Beauty: Oregon’s waterfalls come in all shapes and sizes, from small cascades to towering cataracts. Many of these waterfalls are surrounded by lush forests and offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The roar of the water rushing over the rocks is also a thrilling sound that visitors can’t help but be captivated by.
  • Accessibility: Unlike some other natural wonders, Oregon’s waterfalls are relatively easy to access. Many of them are located near roads or hiking trails, making them accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Some of the more remote waterfalls may require a hike, but the journey is often worth it for the breathtaking views.
  • Diversity: Oregon’s waterfalls are not all the same, and each one offers a unique experience. Some waterfalls are best seen from above, while others are best viewed from below. Some waterfalls are narrow and tall, while others are wide and shallow. The diversity of Oregon’s waterfalls is what makes them so appealing to visitors.

Overall, Oregon’s waterfalls are a must-see natural wonder that offer a unique and memorable experience for all who visit.

If you’re looking for a breathtaking natural wonder to visit in Oregon, look no further than the state’s awe-inspiring waterfalls. But with so many stunning falls to choose from, which one reigns supreme as the most spectacular? Read on to discover the answer to this burning question and learn why this particular waterfall should be at the top of your must-see list. Get ready to be amazed by the sheer beauty and power of Oregon’s most incredible waterfall.

Quick Answer:
Oregon is home to many stunning waterfalls, but one that stands out as the most spectacular is Multnomah Falls. Located just outside of Portland, this waterfall is the tallest in the state, standing at 120 feet high. The falls are surrounded by lush greenery and towering trees, making it a picturesque spot for nature lovers. Visitors can hike to the top of the falls for a breathtaking view, or take a boat tour to see the falls from the bottom. No matter how you choose to experience it, Multnomah Falls is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Oregon.

The Top Contenders for Oregon’s Most Spectacular Waterfall

Multnomah Falls

A Majestic, Towering Waterfall

Multnomah Falls is one of Oregon’s most famous and awe-inspiring waterfalls, standing at an impressive 120 feet tall. Its sheer volume of water cascading down from the Columbia River Gorge creates a stunning natural spectacle that draws visitors from all over the world. The waterfall is named after the Native American tribe, the Multnomah, who once inhabited the area and held the falls in high regard for their spiritual significance.

Description and History

Multnomah Falls is comprised of two major sections, with a drop of 54 feet from the upper falls to the lower falls. The water then continues to flow for another 66 feet before reaching the bottom of the gorge. The falls are formed by the erosive action of the Columbia River, which cuts through the volcanic basalt formations of the gorge over time.

The area surrounding Multnomah Falls has a rich history, with evidence of human presence dating back over 2,000 years. The Multnomah tribe used the falls for fishing and spiritual ceremonies, while later settlers used the water for logging and power generation. Today, the falls are a popular destination for hiking, photography, and simply appreciating the natural beauty of Oregon.

Visitor Information

Visitors to Multnomah Falls can access the viewpoint directly from the parking lot, which offers stunning panoramic views of the falls. For those looking for a more immersive experience, there are several hiking trails that lead to different viewpoints and even a bridge that takes visitors directly in front of the falls. The area is open year-round, but visitors should be prepared for inclement weather and slippery conditions during the winter months.

Safety Considerations

As with any natural wonder, visitors to Multnomah Falls should exercise caution and follow safety guidelines. The viewpoint areas are well-marked and equipped with guardrails, but visitors should still be mindful of their surroundings and avoid getting too close to the edge. The hiking trails can also be slippery and uneven, so sturdy footwear and careful attention to one’s surroundings are recommended.

Multnomah Falls vs. Other Waterfalls

While Multnomah Falls is certainly one of Oregon’s most iconic waterfalls, there are many other breathtaking falls throughout the state. Some other notable waterfalls include Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park, Silver Falls in the Willamette National Forest, and Tumalo Falls in the Deschutes National Forest. Each of these falls offers its own unique beauty and attractions, making Oregon a true paradise for waterfall enthusiasts.

Recommendations for Visitors

Visitors to Multnomah Falls should plan to spend at least a few hours exploring the area and taking in the breathtaking views. For those interested in hiking, the trails leading to the bridge and upper viewpoints offer a challenging but rewarding experience. It’s also a good idea to arrive early in the day to avoid crowds and ensure ample parking. No matter how one chooses to experience Multnomah Falls, it’s sure to be an unforgettable part of any Oregon adventure.

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Silver Falls

The “North Cascades” of Oregon

Silver Falls, located in the heart of the Willamette National Forest, is a prime example of the “North Cascades” of Oregon. The North Cascades refers to a range of mountains in the Pacific Northwest that extends from southern British Columbia to northern Washington. The range includes several volcanic peaks, as well as numerous glaciers, lakes, and waterfalls. Silver Falls is one of the most accessible and spectacular waterfalls in the region, attracting visitors from all over the world.

Silver Falls is a stunning waterfall that plunges 177 feet into a deep canyon. The waterfall is formed by the North Santiam River, which originates in the Cascade Range and flows through the Willamette Valley before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The waterfall is named after the silvery appearance of the water as it plummets over the cliff face. The area around the waterfall has a rich history, with evidence of human habitation dating back over 10,000 years. The waterfall has been a popular tourist destination since the early 20th century, and a dedicated state park was established in 1933 to protect the area.

Silver Falls State Park is open year-round, with varying hours depending on the season. The park has several trails that offer visitors the opportunity to view the waterfall from different angles. The most popular trail is the Canyon Trail, which follows the North Santiam River for 8.5 miles and offers breathtaking views of the waterfall. Visitors can also explore the nearby Twin Falls, Triple Falls, and Upper Falls. Camping is available within the park, and there are several picnic areas and restrooms for visitors to use.

As with any natural area, visitors to Silver Falls State Park should exercise caution. The waterfall is surrounded by steep cliffs and slippery rocks, and the water can be dangerously fast-moving. Visitors should stay on designated trails and avoid swimming or wading in the river. It is also important to be aware of the potential for falling rocks and landslides, especially during periods of heavy rain or snow.

Silver Falls vs. Other Waterfalls

Silver Falls is one of several stunning waterfalls in Oregon, each with its own unique characteristics. While Silver Falls is known for its height and dramatic plunge, other waterfalls in the state are notable for their width, volume, or scenic surroundings. For example, Multnomah Falls, located just outside of Portland, is a popular destination known for its two-tiered structure and stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge.

Visitors to Silver Falls State Park are encouraged to arrive early to avoid crowds and secure parking. It is recommended to wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks for the hike. Visitors should also take the time to explore the surrounding area, including the nearby towns of Mill City and Detroit, which offer unique shopping and dining experiences. Overall, Silver Falls is a must-see destination for anyone interested in natural beauty and outdoor recreation.

Upper MacKenzie Falls

A Hidden Gem in the Willamette National Forest

Upper MacKenzie Falls is a lesser-known waterfall located in the Willamette National Forest, situated in the central part of Oregon. It is a breathtaking waterfall with a stunning height of 200 feet, making it one of the highest waterfalls in the state. The falls are named after Donald MacKenzie, a Scottish immigrant who settled in the area in the mid-1800s.

Upper MacKenzie Falls is accessible via a moderate hike that spans approximately 2 miles round trip. The trailhead is located near the town of Santiam Junction, and the hike is suitable for both experienced hikers and those with a moderate level of fitness. Visitors are advised to wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water, as the hike can be quite strenuous in certain sections.

As with any hiking trail, visitors to Upper MacKenzie Falls should exercise caution and take necessary safety precautions. The trail can be slippery in some areas, so it is important to maintain a slow and steady pace. Additionally, visitors should be aware of the potential for falling rocks and other hazards near the waterfall itself. It is recommended that visitors stay on designated trails and avoid getting too close to the edge of the falls.

Upper MacKenzie Falls vs. Other Waterfalls

While there are many beautiful waterfalls in Oregon, Upper MacKenzie Falls stands out for its sheer height and stunning natural beauty. Some other notable waterfalls in the state include Multnomah Falls, Toketee Falls, and Lower Proxy Falls. However, Upper MacKenzie Falls is unique in that it is less crowded than some of the other popular waterfalls in Oregon, making it a perfect destination for those seeking a more secluded and peaceful experience.

Overall, Upper MacKenzie Falls is an incredible destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early to avoid crowds and to bring a camera to capture the stunning views. Additionally, it is recommended that visitors take their time on the hike and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way. With its natural beauty and tranquil setting, Upper MacKenzie Falls is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Oregon.

Proxy Falls

A Double-Drop Wonder in the Siuslaw National Forest

  • Description and History
    Proxy Falls is a double-drop waterfall located in the Siuslaw National Forest, which is situated in the western part of Oregon. The waterfall is named so because of its unique structure, which consists of two distinct drops. The falls are formed by the confluence of two creeks, namely the Bald Creek and the Eel Creek. The first drop of the waterfall is approximately 80 feet, and the second drop is about 60 feet. The waterfall is known for its crystal-clear water and its stunning beauty, which makes it a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.
  • Visitor Information
    The waterfall is accessible via a well-maintained trail that is approximately one mile long. The trailhead is located near the Bald Creek Campground, which is situated off Highway 242. Visitors can park their vehicles at the campground and hike to the waterfall. It is important to note that the trail is suitable for hikers of all ages and fitness levels. However, visitors should be prepared for the potential of slippery or muddy conditions, especially after a rain shower.
  • Safety Considerations
    As with any natural wonder, visitors to Proxy Falls should exercise caution. The waterfall is surrounded by steep cliffs and rocky terrain, and visitors should be aware of the potential for falling rocks or other hazards. Additionally, the water around the waterfall is cold and fast-moving, and visitors should avoid submerging themselves in the water or swimming in the river. It is also important to wear appropriate footwear and to bring plenty of water and snacks for the hike.
  • Proxy Falls vs. Other Waterfalls
    Proxy Falls is unique in its double-drop structure, which sets it apart from other waterfalls in Oregon. While there are many beautiful waterfalls in the state, few can compare to the stunning beauty of Proxy Falls. Visitors who are looking for a waterfall with a unique feature may find Proxy Falls to be the perfect destination.
  • Recommendations for Visitors
    Visitors to Proxy Falls should plan to spend at least a few hours exploring the area. The hike to the waterfall is relatively short, but visitors may want to spend time taking in the stunning views and enjoying the natural beauty of the area. Additionally, visitors should bring their cameras to capture the beauty of the waterfall and the surrounding landscape. Finally, visitors should plan to arrive early in the day to avoid crowds and to ensure that they have enough time to fully experience the natural wonder of Proxy Falls.
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Tamanawas Falls

A Triple-Drop Waterfall with a Stunning View

Tamanawas Falls is a stunning waterfall located in the Willamette National Forest, about 70 miles east of Eugene, Oregon. It is a triple-drop waterfall, with the upper and lower falls each dropping about 50 feet, and the middle fall dropping approximately 100 feet. The falls are surrounded by lush greenery and provide a picturesque view of the natural beauty of Oregon.

The falls are named after the Native American word “Tamanawa,” which means “forest spirit.” According to legend, the falls were once home to a powerful forest spirit who protected the land and its inhabitants. Today, Tamanawas Falls remains a sacred site for some Native American tribes, who continue to hold ceremonies and gatherings at the falls.

Tamanawas Falls is open to the public year-round, and visitors can access the falls via a short hike from the parking lot. The trail is well-maintained and suitable for visitors of all ages and skill levels. Along the trail, visitors will find several benches and viewpoints, providing ample opportunities to take in the stunning scenery.

During peak season, the parking lot can become quite crowded, so visitors are advised to arrive early to secure a spot. It is also important to note that dogs are not allowed on the trail, and visitors are asked to leave their pets at home.

As with any natural attraction, visitors to Tamanawas Falls should exercise caution and follow safety guidelines. The waterfall can be slippery, and the rocks surrounding the falls can be very slippery, so visitors should wear appropriate footwear and be careful when exploring the area. Visitors should also be aware of the potential for flash flooding and other natural hazards.

It is important to note that swimming is not allowed at Tamanawas Falls due to the danger of the strong currents and underwater rocks. Visitors should also avoid leaving any trash or debris in the area, as this can be harmful to the environment and wildlife.

Tamanawas Falls vs. Other Waterfalls

Tamanawas Falls is often considered one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Oregon, thanks to its unique triple-drop design and stunning views. Compared to other waterfalls in the area, Tamanawas Falls stands out for its accessibility and the ease with which visitors can enjoy the falls. While some other waterfalls in Oregon require longer hikes or more challenging terrain, Tamanawas Falls is easily accessible via a short, well-maintained trail.

Visitors to Tamanawas Falls are encouraged to arrive early to avoid crowds and to bring plenty of water and snacks for the short hike. Visitors should also wear appropriate footwear and exercise caution when exploring the area. Finally, visitors are encouraged to respect the natural beauty of the falls and to leave the area as they found it, in order to preserve the natural wonder for future generations.

Toketee Falls

A Unique, Two-Tier Waterfall Experience

Toketee Falls, situated within the boundaries of the breathtakingly beautiful Natural Northwest region of Oregon, is a stunning, two-tier waterfall that has captured the hearts of visitors and nature enthusiasts alike. Carved by the rushing waters of the Toketee River, this spectacular waterfall cascades down from a height of approximately 177 feet, forming a picturesque double-drop structure that is simply awe-inspiring.

Toketee Falls is accessible via a well-maintained trail, which meanders through lush forests and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The hike to the falls is relatively moderate, spanning approximately 0.5 miles each way, and is suitable for visitors of all ages and fitness levels. However, it is important to note that the trail can become slippery during wet weather conditions, so appropriate footwear and caution are recommended.

Visitors to Toketee Falls can expect to be enchanted by the mesmerizing sound of rushing water and the ethereal mist that rises from the base of the falls. During the warmer months, the surrounding area is often abuzz with the chirping of birds and the hum of insects, adding to the serene and tranquil atmosphere.

While visiting Toketee Falls, it is essential to prioritize safety at all times. The trail leading to the falls can be slippery, and the water at the base of the falls is cold and swift, so visitors should exercise caution and avoid swimming or wading in the water. It is also important to remain on designated trails and respect the natural surroundings to ensure the preservation of this magnificent site for future generations to enjoy.

Toketee Falls vs. Other Waterfalls

Toketee Falls stands out among Oregon’s waterfalls due to its unique two-tier structure and picturesque surroundings. While there are numerous other waterfalls in the region that are also worth visiting, such as North Falls and Tafadon Falls, Toketee Falls offers a distinctive experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors.

To fully appreciate the beauty of Toketee Falls, visitors are encouraged to arrive early in the day to avoid crowds and ensure ample parking. Bringing a camera is also highly recommended, as the photographic opportunities at this site are simply unparalleled. Additionally, it is advisable to wear sturdy footwear and dress appropriately for the weather conditions, as the trail can be wet and slippery in certain areas. Finally, taking the time to appreciate the natural beauty and serenity of Toketee Falls is an experience that should not be rushed. Visitors are encouraged to slow down, take in the sights and sounds, and bask in the ethereal ambiance of this truly remarkable waterfall.

Making Your Choice: The Most Spectacular Waterfall in Oregon

Choosing the most spectacular waterfall in Oregon is not an easy task, as the state is home to numerous stunning waterfalls. To make your choice easier, we have compiled a list of the top contenders for the title of the most spectacular waterfall in Oregon.

Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls is undoubtedly one of the most popular waterfalls in Oregon, and for good reason. The waterfall stands at an impressive 120 feet high and is located just a short drive from Portland. Multnomah Falls is also known for its stunning views and the hike that takes you to the base of the waterfall.

Niyamat Canyon Falls
Niyamat Canyon Falls is a hidden gem located in the Oregon Coast Range. The waterfall is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a tranquil and serene atmosphere. The hike to the waterfall is relatively easy and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

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Tamanawas Falls
Tamanawas Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in the Mount Hood National Forest. The waterfall stands at 100 feet high and is surrounded by towering trees and lush vegetation. The hike to the waterfall is relatively easy and offers a picturesque view of the waterfall and the surrounding landscape.

Lower Table Rock Falls
Lower Table Rock Falls is a stunning waterfall located in the Willamette National Forest. The waterfall stands at 80 feet high and is surrounded by a dense forest. The hike to the waterfall is relatively easy and offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

Wahclella Falls
Wahclella Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in the Columbia River Gorge. The waterfall stands at 200 feet high and is surrounded by towering cliffs and lush vegetation. The hike to the waterfall is relatively easy and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Punch Bowl Falls
Punch Bowl Falls is a picturesque waterfall located in the Willamette National Forest. The waterfall stands at 30 feet high and is surrounded by a natural amphitheater. The hike to the waterfall is relatively easy and offers a unique and tranquil atmosphere.

In conclusion, choosing the most spectacular waterfall in Oregon depends on personal preferences and interests. Each waterfall offers its unique charm and beauty, and all are worth a visit.

Resources for Planning Your Visit

If you’re planning a trip to Oregon to see some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the state, there are several resources available to help you plan your visit. Here are some of the most useful resources to help you make the most of your trip:

Oregon State Parks Website

The Oregon State Parks website is a great resource for planning your visit to any of Oregon’s state parks, including those that feature waterfalls. The website provides detailed information about each park, including directions, park amenities, and activities available. You can also find information about nearby campgrounds, hiking trails, and other attractions.

Waterfall Books and Guides

There are several books and guides available that focus specifically on Oregon’s waterfalls. These resources can provide detailed information about each waterfall, including its location, height, and unique features. Some popular guides include “Waterfall Field Guide: Pacific Northwest” by Greg Plumb and “100 Hikes in the Oregon Cascades” by William L. Sullivan.

Waterfall Apps and Maps

If you prefer to use technology to plan your trip, there are several apps and maps available that can help you find and navigate to Oregon’s waterfalls. Apps like AllTrails and Waterfall Way can provide information about nearby waterfalls, hiking trails, and other attractions. Maps like the Oregon Waterfall Map can help you find waterfalls in specific regions of the state.

Local Tourism Websites

Many local tourism websites also provide information about Oregon’s waterfalls. These websites can provide information about nearby attractions, campgrounds, and hiking trails, as well as recommendations for other activities in the area. Some popular tourism websites include Travel Oregon and Visit Bend.

By utilizing these resources, you can plan an unforgettable trip to Oregon’s most spectacular waterfalls. Whether you’re looking for information about specific waterfalls or need help planning your itinerary, these resources can help you make the most of your trip.

Responsible Tourism and Environmental Conservation

While exploring the beautiful waterfalls in Oregon, it is crucial to practice responsible tourism and ensure environmental conservation. As these natural wonders attract a significant number of visitors, it is essential to minimize the impact on the environment and maintain the fragile ecosystems surrounding the waterfalls.

Here are some ways to practice responsible tourism and environmental conservation while visiting waterfalls in Oregon:

  • Stay on designated trails: Many waterfalls in Oregon have designated trails that allow visitors to safely view the falls while minimizing impact on the environment. It is essential to stay on these trails to avoid erosion and protect the surrounding ecosystems.
  • Leave no trace: Visitors should pack out all trash and dispose of it properly. It is also essential to avoid leaving any items behind, such as food wrappers or bottles, to ensure that the natural beauty of the waterfalls remains pristine.
  • Respect wildlife: Many waterfalls in Oregon are home to various species of wildlife, including endangered ones. Visitors should keep a safe distance from wildlife and avoid feeding or disturbing them in any way.
  • Respect the environment: Visitors should avoid touching or disturbing the natural features of the waterfalls, such as rocks, plants, and water. It is essential to respect the delicate balance of the ecosystems surrounding the waterfalls to ensure their preservation for future generations.
  • Educate oneself: Before visiting a waterfall, it is essential to educate oneself on the local laws and regulations regarding the preservation of the natural environment. This includes understanding the impact of one’s actions on the environment and how to minimize that impact.

By practicing responsible tourism and environmental conservation, visitors can help preserve the natural beauty of Oregon’s waterfalls for future generations to enjoy.

FAQs

1. What is the most spectacular waterfall to visit in Oregon?

Answer:

The most spectacular waterfall to visit in Oregon is undoubtedly Multnomah Falls. Located in the Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in the state, standing at an impressive 120 feet high. The falls are easily accessible via a well-maintained trail, and visitors can take in the stunning views from the bridge that spans the gorge below the falls. Multnomah Falls is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Oregon, and it’s no wonder that it’s the state’s most popular waterfall.

2. How do I get to Multnomah Falls?

Multnomah Falls is located about 30 miles east of Portland, Oregon. To get there, take I-84 to exit 35 and follow the signs to the waterfall. There is a large parking lot at the trailhead, and from there, it’s a short walk to the bridge that spans the gorge below the falls. The trail to the falls is well-maintained and suitable for visitors of all ages and abilities.

3. Is there a fee to visit Multnomah Falls?

There is no fee to visit Multnomah Falls, but parking is limited and can be busy during peak hours. The parking lot is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and they ask that visitors not leave their vehicles unattended for extended periods of time. Visitors are also asked to respect the natural beauty of the area and to follow all posted signs and regulations.

4. How long does it take to hike to Multnomah Falls?

The hike to Multnomah Falls is relatively short and easy, taking most visitors around 15-30 minutes to reach the bridge that spans the gorge below the falls. There are viewpoints along the way where visitors can take in the stunning views of the falls and the surrounding area. There is also a second waterfall, called the Lower Falls, that can be reached by hiking down from the bridge. The hike to the Lower Falls is shorter and less steep than the hike to the Upper Falls, and it’s a great way to extend your visit and see even more of the beautiful Columbia River Gorge.

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