While Taylor and I lived in Portland, Oregon we were lucky enough to do a lot of hiking. We arrived in Portland during Labor Day weekend of 2017; the same weekend the massive Eagle Creek Fire broke out and destroyed much of the Columbia River Gorge. We were bummed since we were really looking forward to exploring all of the amazing waterfalls in The Gorge, but we did not let that stop us from exploring what else Oregon has to offer. In fact, it enabled us to see parts of Oregon we otherwise wouldn’t have due to exploring The Gorge. Besides, now we have an excuse to go back!
Below is a list of Oregon’s best waterfalls that are not in the Columbia River Gorge.
Topping our All-Time Favorite Waterfall list is Toketee Falls. Toketee Falls is one of Oregon most famous waterfalls due to its beautiful basalt formation that frames the falls on either side. Many people only see the falls from the viewpoint which looks down on the falls from above; however, you can climb your way down to the base of the falls where you can enjoy the scenery with limited crowds. To get there head east on Route 138 if you’re coming from Portland or Eugene.
Very similar to Toketee Falls, and closer to Portland, Abiqua Falls doesn’t disappoint. Abiqua Falls can be seen after hiking about 2.6 miles on a moderate to difficult trail. Accessing the trailhead via car does require 4-wheel drive! To access the trailhead you must drive on a steep one-way dirt road, we recommend if you do not have 4-wheel drive to park in the dirt path on your right before coming to the one-way dirt road. Unfortunately, parking there does add about 1-2 miles each way to your round-trip hike.
Koosah and Sahalie Falls are powerful waterfalls that flow right off of Highway 126. On your way to Crater Lake National Park from Eugene or Portland, stop at Koosah and Sahalie Falls and check them out! The loop trail is about 2.2 miles round-trip and fully accessible to everyone. This hike has multiple lookouts which are great since it does get very busy on beautiful Spring, Summer, and Fall days. To get this shot you have to make your own little trail and trek down the slope of the hill to the base of the falls. If you are lucky you’ll even be able to see a rainbow here!
South Falls is probably the most well-known waterfall in Silver Falls State Park. It is the first waterfall you will likely see if you start your day at South Falls Lodge. This trail is different from the others since you can hike/walk behind the falls into a large cave-like area that allows you to preview the falls from the inside. Expect to see a lot of people since this is a relatively easy hike and gets really crowded on the weekends.
Along the same highway (Route 138) as Toketee Falls and about 2.8 miles west, lies Watson Falls. Watson Falls is unique in its own way as the 272-foot waterfall falls down a massive basalt lava cliff that is covered with green vegetation and moss. Fun fact, Watson Falls is the third largest waterfall in Oregon. To get to the base of Watson Falls you have to complete a short hike but it’s totally worth it; if you’re lucky you’ll have the place to yourself!
There are so many other amazing waterfalls that could have made this list but the waterfalls on here are easily accessible and close to Portland/Eugene. Add a comment below if you have any questions or would like to make a suggestion!