The Columbia River Gorge is 80 miles long and contains 90 major waterfalls. This makes it the greatest concentration of waterfalls in North America. So if you haven’t been yet, get out a pen and add it to your list, right now. If you not yet convinced, you will be.
We spent a day exploring some of the areas waterfalls on our girls trip to Oregon. If we had more time (and energy), there are DOZENS of amazing hikes that go into the forest and loop past more waterfalls that you have fingers and toes. However, we didn’t have time for that on this trip, so we stuck to the big 3 that are easy to see and access from the highway: Multnomah, Wakheeda and Horsetail.
Multnomah is the most famous of the regions falls. It is 611 feet tall – though 69 feet up there is the Benson Footbridge, allowing you to get closer to the falls, both feeling the spray of glacier water on your face and hearing the thundering of the water up close. Multnomah has a huge gift shop, clean washrooms, and a little eatery at the base – and is by far the busiest of the falls. Here it is a short walk up to the bridge, which can continue on to an extended hike, or you can follow right back down to the parking lot. Multnomah flows year round, unlike many other waterfalls, so you can stop to see it any season.
Wakheeda Falls can be found right next door to Multnomah, just a short move of your car (or walk, if you prefer, they are 1.0 mile apart). It isn’t as tall, only 242 feet, and doesn’t plummet the same way Multnomah does. Instead it cascades slowly down. It’s a short walk (0.2 miles) up the path to get to the bridge part way up, similar to Multnomah. If I haven’t mentioned it already, wear good walking shoes. Also note, the waterfalls hang out in the shade/forest for most of the day, so they are a little cooler than the surroundings. This was perfect for us, given the mercury was nearing the 40 degree mark.
The third waterfall we visited was Horsetail falls. This was the smallest and least powerful, but possibly my favourite of the three. The mossy rocks were captivating, and light reflected off the water just right. We saw people floating in the water with an inner tube right before we left, and wish we would have thought to do the same thing. Next time.
And there we are – a small glimpse into waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge. So if you haven’t done it already, go put it on your bucket list. You won’t regret it.