Oregon is home to some of the best waterfalls with lush colors and high water flow year round. A trip to the Pacific North West should be on everyone's travel bucket list. If you can make a trip, here is a great list of must see waterfalls to check out:
Willamette National Forest is about 2.5 hours South East of Portland. Like all National Parks, service is limited here so plan accordingly and even print out directions beforehand - is that even a thing anymore?!
Koosah Falls - is a beautiful little waterfall that requires minimal hiking. There is limitted parking spots but if you get here early (Recommended) than you can secure a spot and walk about 2 minutes to get to the top of the waterfall. Venture down the nice walking paths for different views of the falls and even see the amazing clear and bluish water alongside the contrasting green moss plastered over the entire landscape.
Proxy Falls - is a longer 1.5 mile hike. There is very minimal street parking so you will want to get here early as well. The hike actually splits in to two parts. Lower Proxy falls has the better and larger falls which will bring you right to the bottom of the falls. The waterfall doesn’t have as much flowing water but the spray and trickling water down the rocks is like no other. Walk to the upper proxy falls after for a quieter falls with the same vibe.
Terwilger/ Cougar Hot Springs - for $7 you can go to a beautiful set of hot springs next to the cougar dam (which brings its own beautiful views). There are 4 cascading Hot Spring “tubs”. The first one receives the hot spring water making it the hottest of the pools. It isnt much hotter than a typical hot tub so it is very relaxing. The other tubs are a little cooler as the water cascades through. Note: There are a lot of Nudists that enjoy these tubs so be courteous especially when trying to take a photo.
If you aren’t pressed for time, be sure to check out Tamolitch Falls after your stop at Koosah Falls. It is only about 10 mins down the road from Koosah Falls. This is a 3.7 Mile Round Trip Hike which will bring you to a stunning and contrasting bright blue lake in the middle of the woods.
Columbia River Gorge is only about 40 minutes outside of downtown Portland. Along the River are numerous stops that feature waterfalls and great hiking. There are many vista points along the river that provide endless views between the border of Oregon and Washington. Follow the road all the way to Mt Hood for some beautiful mountain scenery and snowy conditions as you start to gain elevation.
Multnomah Falls - is the iconic waterfall for Oregon as it is the tallest and most popular site of them all. There is a beautiful bridge that separates the lower and upper falls which is picturesque. These falls are right off the highway with ample parking. You can hike to the top or just quickly enjoy the beautiful scenery from the bottom or the bridge.
Wahclella Falls - is an amazing hike. Following the cascading stream about a mile or so up a path will bring you to some amazing views with the waterfall as a finale. There are beautiful bridge structures as well that cross the river which make for great photos. The elevation of the rocks adjacent to the falls make you really feel small inside this little valley. One of my favorite hikes in Oregon.
If you are looking more hikes in the Gorge I suggest:
Latourell Falls, Fairy Falls, PonyTail Falls, Ramona Falls and a beautiful vista point at Rowena Crest.
The Japanese Garden is at the end of the City of Portland. It costs about $20 to get in to the gardens which will take about an hour or so to walk around and see all of the beautiful scenery. There is even a great vantage point of Mt. Hood behind Portland on a clear day. There is also a beautiful park just outside of the gardens which are completely free and have great views as well. Parking can be tough so as always recommended, get there early!
There are still so many more waterfalls like those in Silver State Park that I need to check out so I will be sure to add these to the list after my next trip to the PNW.