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21 Cool Columbia Gorge Waterfall Hikes

Tom Malone/Adventure Tribune
Both the Oregon and Washington sides of the Columbia River Gorge feature some of the world’s best waterfall views. Here’s how you can see them.


The Pacific Northwest’s best-kept treasure might be the Columbia River Gorge. Forged by prehistoric glacial floods, the Gorge provides some of the most dramatic landscapes in the Upper Left of the United States.

The Oregon side of the Gorge features more than 75 waterfalls within an hour of each other. Though drier due to its South-facing orientation, the Washington side features dozens of cool waterfalls that often go overlooked by weekend hikers.

If you’re looking for some epic waterfall hikes and views of the Columbia Gorge, here are 21 that you must visit.

Matt Hollamon/Adventure Tribune
Oregon Side

Horsetail & Ponytail Falls
After viewing the waterfall directly off the highway, continue up the path to this waterfall that flows over a cave. Continue on toward Triple Falls for a solid day hike.

Wahclella Falls
This two-mile round-trip hike only increases its elevation by 300 feet, making it a comparatively easy day hike.

Wahkeena Falls
Wahkeena Falls is easy to access, as it’s just a short jaunt off the highway. Explore the trail leading to Multnomah Falls and you’ll see Ecola, Dutchman, and Weisendanger Falls as well.

Multnomah Falls
This is the most visited and most popular waterfall in the Columbia Gorge for a reason. Be prepared for plenty of people, but it’s worth the visit if you’ve never been to the Gorge. If you continue along the trail at the top of the falls, you’ll ditch most of the crowd and get to explore some isolated Oregon wilderness.

Coopey Falls
One mile into the popular Angel’s Rest hike, you’ll come to Coopey Falls. Continue onward for one of the best views of the Gorge.

Oneonta Falls
Arguably the most picturesque waterfall on the Oregon side of the Gorge, the hike to Oneonta Falls takes you through a low riverbed and a tall canyon that leads to the base of the falls. Again, be prepared for crowds (visit on a weekday morning if possible).

Latourell Falls
Latourell Falls and Upper Latourell Falls are formed by Latourell Creek. See two waterfalls in the span of a short hike.

Dry Creek Falls
This hike is sparsely populated, even during high season, as the trail is difficult to find. If you’re looking for an isolated waterfall hike, explore this route.

Elowah Falls
This easy-to-reach waterfall is right off the highway, but it’s usually not crowded, as people elect to visit one of the more popular waterfall hikes nearby.

Pacific Crest Falls
Beginning at the Herman Creek Campground, this hiking trail is a solid day hike for those who want to camp in the Columbia Gorge.

Eagle Creek
If you’re looking for a difficult day hike with stunning views, this is the one. After six miles, it offers views of Punchbowl, Skoonichuk, Metlaka, Loowit, Cross Over, and Tunnel Falls.

Dublin Lake
This secluded lake begins at the Tooth Rock trailhead and takes you along some isolated, smaller waterfalls during the 13.8-mile round-trip hike.

Starvation Ridge Waterfall Loop
Don’t let the ominous name scare you away. This is one of the coolest loops you’ll ever hike. The 3.6-mile loop takes you through Lancaster, Hole-in-the-Wall, and Cabin Creek Falls.

Tamanawas Falls
Though it's a little further toward Mt. Hood than some other hikes, this streamlined waterfall allows you to hike behind it into a lava cliff cave, and it's rarely populated by the large hiking groups that flock to other waterfall caves.

Bridal Veil Falls
A round-trip 1.3-mile hike will take you along the edges of this 120-foot waterfall before it cascades into the river below.


Washington Side

Rock Creek Falls
This is one of the Gorge’s best-kept secrets. Again, if you’re looking for a waterfall with essentially no other hikers, check this one out.

Rodney & Hardy Falls
Flowing from Hamilton Mountain, you’ll also get one of the best views in the entire Gorge.

The Labyrinth
This seven-mile, 2,000-foot elevation gain hike takes you through some rugged, semi-uncharted trails that lead hikers along waterfalls until it opens op to a panoramic view of the Gorge.

Cape Horn Trail
Just outside of Vancouver, the seven-mile Cape Horn hike will test even serious hikers, but it brings you across two waterfalls before opening up to an epic view of the Gorge.

Spirit Falls
This scenic waterfall can rage to the point where adventurous kayakers will take the plunge through its rapids.

Beacon Rock
This iconic symbol of the Columbia Gorge doesn’t have a distinct waterfall, but it provides views of waterfalls throughout the Gorge. It’s a 1.8-mile loop that brings you up 680 feet.

Panther Creek Falls
Just outside the town of Carson, you’ll find the path that leads to Panther Creek Falls. If you continue onward, you’ll come to Falls Creek Falls.

The Columbia River Gorge is full of epic waterfall hikes. If you have a favorite that we didn’t mention on the list, let us know by submitting your synopsis to Submissions@AdventureTribune.com.

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Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune and author of adventure novels, like Across Americana. He is based in Denver, Colorado, where he adventures through the Rocky Mountains while not traveling abroad.
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